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DVD Talk review of 'Caligula: 3 Disc Imperial Edition'

Old 10-02-07, 05:49 AM
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DVD Talk review of 'Caligula: 3 Disc Imperial Edition'

I read Bill Gibron's DVD review of Caligula: 3 Disc Imperial Edition at http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=30773 and...

"Even the tender moments between the title character and his willingly incestual sister play out among backdrops so large it's like watching a couple copulate inside the Lincoln Memorial."

Dang, that's good stuff. Thanks for the powerfully thorough and informative review.

I, however, will never sit through this movie again. The extras ... maybe.
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Old 10-02-07, 10:38 AM
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I bought the set based on Bil's review.
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Old 10-02-07, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for the comments...

The movie hasn't aged well, and when you consider it was pretty crappy when it came out originally (and yes, I paid to see it *hangs head in shame*), it does make a purchase questionable. But the extras are indeed GREAT, especially the commentaries and the Brass interview. Talk about your dilemmas.

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Old 10-03-07, 03:50 AM
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I've always thought the film was better than most people made it out to be. Not that it's great or anything. I guess I just have a fascination with monumental failures. Perhaps that's why I'm such a big fan of David Lynch's Dune.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I guess I just have a fascination with monumental failures. Perhaps that's why I'm such a big fan of David Lynch's Dune.
I'm right with you there. Anything big and bad is my thing.

But I saw Caligula in the theatres when it premiered, and except for one or two impressive big-scale scenes (The Wall of Death rocks), it left me pretty cold.

But Bill's review made me want to check it out again for the extras.
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Old 10-03-07, 07:11 AM
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The commentaries alone had me sold.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:54 PM
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I screened this movie to a bunch of friends once. I had to leave midway through the film, but apparently they liked it...except for one, who threw up during the wedding scene of all things.

In my books though, Caligula will never be quite the failure the strange fad of pornographic spectacles it spawned in Italy was. Caligola: La Storia Mai Raccontata makes this movie look like a masterpiece.
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Old 10-04-07, 12:50 PM
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Did you notice the obsession with symmetry?

I have the laserdisc of Caligula, and am not going to pour any more money into that hole. But there's one thing running through the entire film that convinced me it was done by an absolute amateur. At any particular point in the film (not just at the opening of a new scene, where it would have at least made sense), the camera starts on a close-up and then tracks back and back and back, until a rigorously symmetrical framing appears (which is then held for several seconds for our approving stares).

As I didn't get off on the pretty clumsy attempts at pornography, these symmetrical trucking shots remain pretty much all I recall of this truly horrid film. Okay, I sat through to the (very disappointing) end. But never again. I was hoping to sell my LD at a fabulous markup and retire, but the march of DVDs continues to lower the value of my 12-inch babies. As my collecting habits began with 8mm film, the breaks and disc changes of laserdiscs brings back some pleasant memories.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:44 PM
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Great review of this awesome DVD release. I have to admit that I'm biased as I wrote a page or two in the booklet that comes with the Imperial Edition. One mistake Bill Gribon makes, and I know it's not huge, but Gemellus was actually the biological grandson (and not a son) of Tiberius, through Tiberius' son Castor (14 BC - 23 AD). Gemellus was born in 19 AD, the son of Castor and Livilla. Livilla was a sister to Claudius, and an aunt to Caligula. So they were all related in twisted ways. Caligula was an adopted Grandson of Tiberius. All this info can be found at http://www.caligulathemovie.com/family1.html
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Old 10-05-07, 12:42 AM
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Thanks for the info Tom. I must have been suffering from post-Caligula stress disorder.

It's fixed.



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Old 11-11-08, 09:07 PM
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Waaaaay too late to the party here, but I've just finished listening to all three commentaries for this release and would rank all three of them to be among the most enlightening tracks I've ever heard, but I think this review gives short shrift to the commentary/phone interview provided by Ernest Volkman. Contrary to the review, Volkman isn't really "more or less espousing the party line" in his interview, but is hilariously candid in his opinions of the film, producer Bob Guccione, director Tinto Brass, production designer Danilo Donati, and many other aspects of the CALIGULA's production and release, including various (and infamous) interactions the filmmakers had with the press (usually slagging one another), the lawsuits that ensued in the wake of the production, and various tangential tales that help paint a far more interesting portrait of Guccione, his empire and this film than either of the participants on the other two tracks, though Mirren and McDowell are no slouches for colourful tales. Volkman only "defends" Guccione in the sense that he was comfortable with what a swaggering, outsized asshole (and ultimate failure) he was, but he's more than happy to criticize many of the dumb decisions he made throughout his career (the cold fusion tale is a pip!), in particular many related to this film. The fact that it's a phone interview and not screen-specific should hardly be considered a reason to avoid it. I could live without seeing the film again, but these commentaries are essential, and arguably make the DVD set worth keeping.

Last edited by Brian T; 11-11-08 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:17 AM
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Re: Did you notice the obsession with symmetry?

Originally Posted by patherto View Post
I have the laserdisc of Caligula, and am not going to pour any more money into that hole. But there's one thing running through the entire film that convinced me it was done by an absolute amateur. At any particular point in the film (not just at the opening of a new scene, where it would have at least made sense), the camera starts on a close-up and then tracks back and back and back, until a rigorously symmetrical framing appears (which is then held for several seconds for our approving stares).

As I didn't get off on the pretty clumsy attempts at pornography, these symmetrical trucking shots remain pretty much all I recall of this truly horrid film. Okay, I sat through to the (very disappointing) end. But never again. I was hoping to sell my LD at a fabulous markup and retire, but the march of DVDs continues to lower the value of my 12-inch babies. As my collecting habits began with 8mm film, the breaks and disc changes of laserdiscs brings back some pleasant memories.

but if you read the booklet, it's mentioned numerous times that tha Guccione and his editors basically did the editing inhouse without Brass' involvement - hence why the film looks like a basic mess.

I just noted this the latest Filmfax magazine but there's a new book out on the making of the film:

"Caligula and the Fight for Artistic Freedom: The Making, Marketing and Impact of the Bob Guccione Film" - William Hawes
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