Tuesday, May 24, 2011


This is a jumbled, disjointed mess of a movie. It's a random collection of scenes interrupted by random sections of pornography. How Peter O’Toole and John Gielgud ended up in this I don’t know. At least Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell can blame it on youthful naïveté, but the elder thespians should have known better.

When Bob Guccione calls you up, says he's making a movie and asks you to be in it, your instincts better be warning you. And if they're not, then your manager or agent should be.

Here is the story: Caligula becomes emperor, humps his sister, and then is murdered by his own soldiers. In between all this there is rape, sodomy, fisting, torture, murder, necrophilia, and tons of shitty dialogue. The sex is graphic, the sets elaborate, but the film is, ultimately, rather dull and completely incoherent.

It's one thing to be in a crappy porno flick, it's another thing altogether to be in a crappy porno flick with pretensions it's a grand piece of art.

The orgies, the fisting, the intrigue, it becomes all rather pointless without any proper context in which to frame it. Unfortunately the film is slapped together in such a way that it is difficult to know what is going on or why, though I suspect that all may be beside the point.

As a historical drama Caligula is a failure. One cannot watch this and expect to learn anything, let alone be entertained. As porn it fares even worse, lacking eroticism, instead wallowing in its depravity. What titillation there may have been suffers from being surrounded by all the violence and degeneracy.

Avoid this one like a go-go boy with crabs.

Directed by Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione • Unrated • 1979 • 156 minutes

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