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Uncut version of controversial Helen Mirren film Caligula to be released

I didn't see this first time around (too young!). Does anyone remember this film? Was it as controversial as is being suggested? Given the films that have come out since its release, I can't say

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Old 08-27-2008   #1 (permalink)
Runco is offline

Uncut version of controversial Helen Mirren film Caligula to be released

I didn't see this first time around (too young!). Does anyone remember this film? Was it as controversial as is being suggested? Given the films that have come out since its release, I can't say I am surprised that censorship has been lifted...

Article

By Liz Thomas
Last updated at 9:21 AM on 27th August 2008

It was banned nearly 30 years ago for its graphic scenes of incest and real sex.

But the controversial Roman epic Caligula is set to be sold on the High Street after the British Board of Film Classification finally gave it the green light.

The original 1979 movie was scripted by the writer and historian Gore Vidal and featured a host of stars including Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole and Sir John Gielgud.

Helen Mirren in a scene from Caligula. An uncut version of the 1970s film is set to make its way on to the High Street after censorship was lifted

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It was meant to be an historical drama, detailing the excesses of the third Roman emperor Caligula, whose rule from 37-41AD was dominated by violence and debauchery.

But Bob Guccione, founder of pornographic magazine Penthouse, who produced and financed the film, felt it did not contain enough sex.

He secretly filmed graphic real sex scenes performed by porn stars and inserted them into the final edit.

Malcolm McDowell played Caligula in the film about the third Roman emperor

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Although it was subsequently released in the U.S., officials here banned the film because of its gratuitous content. Vidal later asked for his name to be removed from the movie's credits, while actor Malcolm McDowell, who played Caligula, said: 'I'm proud of the work I did, there's no question about that.

'But there's all the raunchy stuff, the blatant, modern-day porn Bob introduced into the film. That to me was an absolutely outrageous betrayal and quite unprecedented.'

Although the film is available in this country on DVD, it is a heavily sanitised version and almost an hour shorter than the uncut Imperia edition.

Scenes taken from the British version of the 1979 film.

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But director Bob Guccione, who produced the film, filmed and added graphic sex scenes with porn actors which was subsequently released in the US, but banned in the UK

Sue Clark, spokesman for the BBFC, defended its decision to allow the uncut edition in the UK, saying that certificate 18 guidelines state 'adults should be free to choose their own entertainment within the law'.

She added that, despite the pornographic sequences, the film did not fall into the category of sex work, because its aim was not to arouse viewers. It is not the first time the BBFC has allowed movies featuring real-life sex to be released.

In 2004, Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs stunned critics with its graphic scenes.
The BBFC has also come under fire in recent months by giving certificates to films featuring graphic scenes of sex and violence.

Last month, it was heavily criticised for awarding Batman: The Dark Knight a 12A rating, despite concerns about the level of violence.
Last year, Tory MP Julian Brazier attacked its decision to pass for general release the film SS Experiment Camp, which was banned 20 years ago by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In one scene, prisoners are shown being boiled alive after failing to co-operate with Nazi troops.

Years on, Caligula's producer Bob Guccione and stars McDowell and Mirren

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Although the BBFC insisted there was no evidence that the film caused harm to viewers, its decision prompted calls to make the body directly answerable to Parliament.
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Old 08-27-2008   #2 (permalink)
B_dxjnorto is offline
Banned


I remember something about it being controversial. Malcolm McDowell was the protagonist in A Clockwork Orange too which is no High School Musical.
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Old 08-27-2008   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, it was even past soft porn. There was a scene out of it in the Adult Website section not long ago which was a full on blow job that went for a few minutes.

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Old 08-27-2008   #4 (permalink)
b.c. is offline


It's always amazing what turns out to generate controversy. Surely porn movies abound with a whole lot more sex in it without all the hoopla. Some of the best ones were the uncut versions of these classics:

The Analyst
Fullfillment
The Devil Inside of Her
Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle
Kate and the Indians

So by the time I saw Caligula, which included the orgy scenes of two women giving a fairly sized guy head, I though...okayyy...a little porno in the movie.

Actually the best parts for me were the softer scenes of nudity (like the baths scenes near the beginning).

An okay movie. But Guccione was right...not enough sex.



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Old 08-27-2008   #5 (permalink)
transformer_99 is offline


I enjoyed watching it from the historical perspective of it. And there were orgies portrayed in it. I recommend seeing it as it probably is a more accurate depiction of the era in history than the softer rated movies of similar subject matter.
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Old 08-27-2008   #6 (permalink)
canuck_pa is online now


It was an interesting movie. I have no idea how accurate it was but it confirmed all the stereotypes we've come to believe about life in early Rome. A lot more sex than usual including gay and hetero with more than one ejaculation. Fair amount of eye candy for everyone. I agree the non-porn nudity was better than the porn scenes.
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Old 08-28-2008   #7 (permalink)
erratic is offline


Yeah, that movie is crazy. When I think of it now it's just a big blur of head lawnmowers, fisting, jizz facials and sweaty actors.

And I agree that the non-porn nudity was hotter.
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Old 05-22-2009   #8 (permalink)
jack4fun is offline


anyone have a link to the video?
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Old 05-22-2009   #9 (permalink)
D_CountdeGrandePinja is offline
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Saw the original - looking forward to the new one - thanks for heads up on it!
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Old 05-22-2009   #10 (permalink)
Deno is offline


I know it just don't make sense to me. I recently watched a movie called Ken Park and in the movie it showed this young man (James Ransone) using the belt of his robe to strangle himself while masturbating to full ejaculation it even showed the cum shot. However hot the scene was it seemed strange in the movie. He later entered his grandparents bedroom naked and stabbed them both to death. Apparently he didn't like his grandfather cheating at scrabble, LOL. Surely this film had to be rated x to have such content and it was not marked controversial or with any rating that I could see.
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Old 05-22-2009   #11 (permalink)
Bbucko is offline


The thing that made Caligula so controversial wasn't really the sex: by then mainstream porn had been around for almost ten years. It was controversial because of how it was distributed.

When Caligula was released, porn was only shown in porn theaters (Deep Throat was a big exception, and even that didn't play everywhere), but Caligula had full multiplex release: in Boston it was screened at a cinema attached to the Prudential Center.

I saw the full uncut version there. It was a weird hybrid of softish-core (the fisting was male/male, but the angle hid the penetration and it's safe to say that the action was simulated) and big-budget spectacle. The cut version highlighted all the weaknesses of the film: it was kind of a snoozer.

As far as history goes, it was pure sensationalist Hollywood. The sets were vague and sketchy and not Roman at all except in the small details. The costumes and make-up were lurid, but probably historically accurate. The acting was a competetion in scenery-chewing with no winners.

There's good reason why Gore Vidal had his name removed, and it wasn't the sex (he'd written Myra Breckinridge, after all). It's the fact that the movie sucked. If the movie had been properly directed (and art-directed) it might have been amazing. But the final product was fetid trash with hardcore gore and much nudity with tepid sex thrown in.

The only thing I remember liking was the scene of a woman in a bathtub with several gladiator/centurian types jerking off on her. It was part of the orgy scene if I remember correctly.

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Old 05-23-2009   #12 (permalink)
D_Kay_Sarah_Sarah is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deno View Post
I know it just don't make sense to me. I recently watched a movie called Ken Park and in the movie it showed this young man (James Ransone) using the belt of his robe to strangle himself while masturbating to full ejaculation it even showed the cum shot. However hot the scene was it seemed strange in the movie. He later entered his grandparents bedroom naked and stabbed them both to death. Apparently he didn't like his grandfather cheating at scrabble, LOL. Surely this film had to be rated x to have such content and it was not marked controversial or with any rating that I could see.

Actually Ken Park was banned in most parts of the world. Including here in Australia which is a shame because it was a fantastic movie. Even if it was slightly disturbing at the age of the actors and the sex scene's.

Caligula i wasn't impressed with at all. Sure it would have been controversial when it was released, and even will be now. But i found it to be more of an attempt to shock rather then make a good movie.
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