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Caligula (1979)

Country of Origin: Italy/USA
Year of Production: 1976
Running Times: 102 mins (UK - video) 115 mins (USA - R-rated version) 143 mins (Argentina; Australia; USA - erroneously listed on laserdisc sleeve) 146 mins (Norway; Sweden) 148 mins (USA - 1990 re-release; laserdisc - erroneously listed as 143 mins on the sleeve) 150 mins (UK - theatrical) 156 mins (Australia - uncut version; USA - unrated versions) 157 mins (Italy) 210 mins (version shown at Cannes)
Format: Eastmancolor 35mm
Ratio: 1.85:1
Sound: Dolby (1999 re-release)

CREDITS

PRODUCTION
Production Company: Penthouse Films International/Felix Cinematografica
Executive Producer: Jack H. Silverman
Producers: Bob Guccione, Franco Rossellini
Production Manager: Mario Di Biase
Unit Manager: Sergio Galiano

SCRIPT
Script: Gore Vidal, Masolino D'Amico
Additional Dialogue: Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui
Story: Gore Vidal (uncredited)
Treatment: Roberto Rossellini

DIRECTION
Director: Tinto Brass
Additional Scenes Directed By: Giancarlo Lui, Bob Guccione
1st Assistant Director: Piernico Solinas

PHOTOGRAPHY
Principal Photography: Tinto Brass
Director of Photography: Silvano Ippoliti
Additional Directors of Photography: Giancarlo Lui, Bob Guccione
Unit Photographer: Mario Tursi
Special Photographers: Eddie Adams, Jerry Bauer, Stan Malinowski, Claudio Patriarca
Technical Equipment: Cinenoleggio

EDITING AND POST-PRODUCTION
Editor: Nino Baragli
Assistant Editor: Peter Krook
Director of Post Production: Giancarlo Lui

MUSIC
Music: Paul Clemente, Aram Khatchaturian (from Spartacus), Sergei Prokofiev (from Romeo and Juliet)

SOUND
Sound Engineer: Claudio Maielli
Re-Recording: Gerry Humphreys, Robin O'Donoghue
Supervising Sound Editor: Winston Ryder
Sound Editor: Roger Van Engel
Dialogue Editor: Archie Ludski
Dubbing Mixers: Gerry Humphreys, Robin O'Donoghue
Re-Recorded At: Twickenham Studios, London, England

COSTUMES AND MAKE-UP
Make Up: Giuseppe Banchelli
Hair: Jole Cecchini
Wigs: Rocchetti-Carboni
Costumes: Danilo Donati
Wardrobe Mistress: Gloria Picone Mussetta
Wardrobe Master: Gregorio Simili
Costume Rental: Ferani Veste
Shoes: L.C.P. di Pompei

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Special Effects: Franco Celli, Marcello Coccia

DESIGN AND SET CONSTRUCTION
Art Director: Danilo Donati
Architects: Giovanni Natalucci, Franco Velchi
Set Dresser: Luigi Urbani
Master of Properties: Gianpiero Grassi
Props: Rancate of Sormani

OTHER CREW
Script Continuity: Carla Cipriani
Accounting: Soc. S.E.S.C.A. SpA
Dialogue Director: Louise Vincent
Choreography: Tito le Duc, Pino Pennesi
Unit Publicists: Walter Alford, Maria Ruhle
Assistant to the Producers: Leslie Jay

LOCATIONS
Locations: Dear Studios, Rome, Italy

CASTING
Casting Directors: Paolo Heusch, Roberto Tatti

CAST
Malcolm McDowall (Caligula)
John Gielgud (Nerva)
Peter O'Toole (Tiberius)
Helen Mirren (Caesonia)
Teresa Ann Savoy (Drusilla)
Guido Mannari (Macro)
Giancarlo Badessi (Claudius)
Bruno Brive (Gemellus)
Adriana Asti (Ennia)
Leopoldo Trieste (Charicles)
Paolo Bonacelli (Chaera)
John Steiner (Longinus)
Mirella D'Angelo (Livia)
Richard Parets (Mnester)
Paula Mitchell (Subura singer)
Osriride Pevarello (giant)
Donato Placido (Proculus)
Anneka di Lorenzo (Messalina - uncredited)
Lori Wagner (Agrippina - uncredited)
Gerado Amato (uncredited)
Patrick Allen (voice of Macro - uncredited)
Eduardo Bergara Leumann (high priest - uncredited)

PLOT SUMMARY

The young Roman Emperor Caligula uses extreme violence to gain power and subsequently succumbs to an insanity that leads to a reign of terror and debauchery. He promotes his horse to the senate, sleeps with his sister Caesonia, attempts to invade Britain and humiliates, tortures and murders anyone who tries to stop him.

CAPSULE REVIEW

Released amid a storm of controversy, Caligula is an overbearing, over-produced and achingly dull skin flick and not the serious historical epic that many of its creators (most of the cast and Vidal among them) originally intended. Indeed it is the controversy that surrounds Caligula that makes it of interest - far more so than its rather dull and prosaic handling of the story. McDowell is excellent in the title role, and the supporting cast is also very strong, but overall the film is a tedious ordeal. Available in a bewildering array of versions, none of which are particularly any better than another.

AVAILABILITY

Denmark
Video Distributor: KAVAN-Scanbox Entertainment

Netherlands
Video Distributor: Video Screen; Movies Select Video

Sweden
Video Distributor: Filmco Sweden

UK
Theatrical Distributor: GTO
Video Distributor: Electric Video; Screen Multimedia-Metrodome Distribution

USA
Theatrical Distributor: Analysis Releasing; Independent Artists (1999 re-release)
Video Distributor: Penthouse Products; Vestron Video
DVD Distributor: Image Entertainment Inc

CENSORSHIP HISTORY

Argentina
Rating: 18

Australia
Rating: X

Chile
Rating: 18

Denmark
Rating: 16

Finland
Rating: K-18

France
Rating: -16

Hong Kong
Rating: III

Norway
Rating: 18

Sweden
Rating: 15

UK
Rating: 18 (with significant cuts)

USA
Rating: R; unrated

West Germany
Rating: 18

TIMELINE

1976
July

6: Italy - shooting begins

December
31: Italy - shooting ends

1979
August

14: Italy - theatrical release

1980
February

1: USA - theatrical release

April
25: West Germany - theatrical release

July
2: France - theatrical release

1981
April

3: Sweden - theatrical release

September
18: Finland - theatrical release

1993
April

20: Russia - theatrical release

1998
Germany

15: Germany - theatrical re-release

1999
September

24: USA - theatrical re-release

1999
October
31: UK - television broadcast (on FilmFour)

November
1: UK - television broadcast

2001
September

6: USA - television broadcast (on OMAX)
8: UK - television broadcast (on Film Four)

POSTER TAGS

What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everyone else in the whole wide world?

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Caligula, My Son - UK advertising title
Io, Caligola - Italian title
Caligola - Italian title

LINKS

SEE ALSO
Caligola e Messalina (1982)
Caligola... La storia mai raccontata (1982)
History of the World: Part 1 (1981)

REFERENCES

MAGAZINES

Cahiers du Cinema no.315 (September 1980) p.54
review

Cinema (Germany) no.5 (May 1980) pp.72-77
illustrated article

Continental Film Review vol.24 no.4 (February 1977)
review

Delirium no.2
credits, review

Empire no.127 (January 2000) pp.70-76
illustrated article

Hollywood Reporter vol.242 no.38 (13 August 1976) p.19
credits

Hollywood Reporter vol.261 no.23 (23 April 1980) p.2
review

The Listener vol.99 no.2558 (4 May 1978) p.576
review

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.47 no.563 (December 1980) pp.232-233
credits, synopsis, review

Movie Star February 1981 pp.5-8
article

Photoplay vol.28 no.3 (March 1977) pp.24-25, 27
interview

Photoplay vol.31 (June 1980) pp.56-57
review

Premiere (France) no.38 (March 1980) pp.28-31
illustrated article

Premiere (France) no.42 (September 1980) p.10
interview

Screen International no.66 (11 December 1976) p.7
note

Screen International no.99 (6 August 1977) pp.1, 19
note

Screen International no.237 (19 April 1980) p.76
note

Screen International no.270 (6 December 1980) p.20
review

Segnocinema vol.4 no.13 (May 1984) p.75
review

Sex, Shocks and Sadism p.19
credits, review

Sight and Sound vol.46 no.1 (Winter 1976 - 1977) pp.27-28
review

Variety 21 November 1979 p.24
credits, review

BOOKS

The Complete Video Movie Guide p.9
credits, UK video data

Elliot's Guide to Films on Video p.118
credits, review

Film Review 1981-1982 p.146
credits, review, synopsis

Invasion Book pp.82-83
review

X-Rated Videotape Guide I pp.340-341
credits, review

OTHER SOURCES

screen
credits

KEYWORDS

assassinations, castrations, decapitations, emperors, freaks, gore, horses, incest, insanity, lesbianism, orgies, rome, sex, sodomy, suicide

 


Last Updated: 1 January, 2009

 


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