Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is
Caligula, the Untold Story
Tuna reviewed this film in the edited version on a 4:3 DVD mastered from a video
tape and awarded it an F. The uncut German DVD is a significantly different
product, which alleviates or eliminates the problems Tuna identified:
1. Tuna noted that the DVD was possibly the worst of all time. The German
version almost completely eliminates the problem. I say "almost" because the
uncut version was cobbled together from at least two different sources, perhaps
three. Some scenes are ugly, but 80% of the scenes, perhaps more, are fine. The
good scenes have not been brilliantly
cleaned up like some of the old films we've reviewed, but they are presented in
legitimate DVD quality, and the entire film is presented in a theatrical
widescreen ratio. There is one problem with the DVD in that
the fill-in portions are only available in Italian while the vast majority of
the dialogue is in English, assuming you choose the English audio. (Two other
choices are available.)
It is distracting when the film switches from English to Italian with English
subtitles, but one must understand the desire of the DVD producers to present
the most complete version possible. By the way, it's kind of odd to see Caligula
speak Italian in those scenes, because the actor who portrayed the mad emperor
was English and obviously performed in English. Remember that Italian movies of
that era were normally recorded without live sound and post-dubbed, so the
actors just spoke whichever language they preferred, since all sound was added
2. Tuna noted that the film had very little sex, gore, or nudity, and no
debauchery at all. That is certainly not the case in the expanded version. The
running time on the German DVD is 125 minutes in PAL format, which translates to
130 minutes in real time. That's about 25 minutes longer than the version Tuna
reviewed, and all the additional material is sex and gore. Most of it consists
of four long scenes before and during Caligula's big orgy. In the preliminary
scenes, first the soldiers review the women who apply to be in the orgy, a
process which mainly consists of lifting their skirts, then the candidates are
forced to bathe naked, then one of Caligula's minions conducts a pleasure-giving
class for the females who have been selected for orgy duty. The lesson
includes a BJ on screen and many naked, masturbating women. In the actual orgy,
just about every type of sexual act is shown on camera, including about a dozen
BJs, cunnilingus, and penetration from many angles. It also has a dwarf with a
hard-on, as was required in all sleazy European movies of that era. The
highlight, if you want to call it that, is a plump woman masturbating a stallion
on camera. The explicit acts are all performed by unnamed extras.
There is also some explicit gore. For example, we see a beheading and a guy
getting a giant pike rammed up his bottom and out his chest. (The anal
penetration is not shown, but the camera does not pull away until the last
possible second, as the pike is just about to disappear into his anus.)
The bad news is that there isn't much additional nudity from Laura Gemser and
the two other principals. Laura does have one additional sex scene with
Caligula, but it is relatively inexplicit. In both of the sex scenes between
Gemser and the emperor, the lion's share of the nudity consists of Caligula's
butt. For such a depraved guy, he sure liked the missionary position! The good
news is that the footage we do have of those women is in pretty good condition,
a massive improvement from the version Tuna screened.
3. Laura Gemser's character arc probably makes a little more sense in the
longer version, given that her change of heart occurs immediately after the
tender sex scene between Laura and Caligula, which seems to have been cut from the shorter
version, judging from Tuna's caps. But her behavior still defies all logic.
Laura co-operates with the assassin, leads him to Caligula's bedside, allows him
to raise his knife - then kills the assassin herself. Why did she change her
mind? Just because Caligula threw her a good fuck? If so, why did she allow the
assassin to close enough that she might not have been able to stop him? Why not
just call Caligula's bodyguard when the assassin first appeared in the palace?
The only explanation which will allow the viewer some peace of mind is that she
was apparently intending to go through with
the assassination of Caligula until the very last second, then changed her mind.
Frankly, I didn't buy it. I think the writer was just inserting a cheap plot
twist and creating some artificial suspense when the audience thinks Caligula is
about to get offed. The screen shows a flashing blade, and blood ... and the
body falling to the ground ... but it is revealed to be the wrong guy, followed by a cut to Gemser with the bloody blade. It's not a bad
scene at all, but completely inconsistent with behavior we might reasonably
expect from Gemser's character.
One other item requires a passing notation. Caligula tries to pass some of his
murders off on the "Christians." First of all, it is unlikely that the
historical Caligula would have been aware of the sect at all. The emperor died
only a few years after Christ himself, and the religion had by then gained no
traction. Second, the Christian pictured in this movie was not Jewish. At the
time of Caligula's reign, Paul had not yet begun preaching to the gentiles, and
Christianity was still exclusively a sect of Judaism. Third, even if Caligula
had become aware of the presence of the new religion, he would not have known
them as Christians. That term was first used in Antioch during the great famine,
which took place circa 45-48 A.D., some time after Caligula's death. (See Acts
11:26.) Our primary source of information about the lives of Caligula, Claudius
and Nero comes from The Twelve Caesars, written by Suetonius. It appears that
neither Caligula nor Claudius took any note of the Christians because there is
no mention of them in the Suetonius work, by any name, until the reign of Nero.
I would call this version a C on our scale, assuming that the genre is Eurotrash
sex movies. If you like vintage Italian sleaze, this film has lots of sex and
flesh and sadism - and doesn't look bad at all! Throw in Laura Gemser, and it's
not a bad overall package.
You have to view it as a sex film.
It would be an E as a costume drama. There's nothing to recommend it except the
sleaze, which is why Tuna rated the other (sleaze-free) version an F, after
adjusting the score further downward for the inept mastering of that particular
* Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).
* White asterisk:
Blue asterisk: not mine.
No asterisk: it probably
Catch the deluxe
version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles,
Sessomatto (1973), or Crazy Love, is a series of nine short
sketches, all of them starring Giancarlo Giannini, and eight of the
nine starring Laura Antonelli. They are:
Signora Sono Le Otto
A woman's butler is in love with her.
Due Cuori E Una Baracca
Two Hearts and a Shack
A couple with a bunch of kids live in a shack and fight a lot.
Non E' Mai Troppo Tardi
Never Too Late
A man with a beautiful wife prefers old women.
Viaggio di Nazzi
A man gets aroused on public transportation, but not in bed. His
wife finally suggests the hotel elevator.
Torna Piccina Mia
My Piccina Returns
A man hires a hooker and dresses and coaches her to be like his
Lavoratore Italiano All' Estero
Italian Worker in a Foreign Country
A man visits a fertility clinic to leave a sperm donation. He
fantisizes about a nun/nurse to get excited.
A woman avenges her husband's death by fucking his enemy to
Un Amore Difficile
A Difficult Love
A man travels to see his long lost brother, and falls for a
A Wife flirts with her husbands dinner guest.
None of the segments were long
enough to build any special interest or rapport with the characters,
and I didn't find anything especially funny either. This was
designed as a showcase for the stars, giving them each a chance to
play many different characters. In that, it was successful, earning
a low C-.
IMDb readers say 5.7.
Laura Antonelli briefly shows breasts in several of the segments.
A few years later, this same film would have been PG-13 at worst,
but would now be R again, of course.
Notes and collages
Monster in the Closet
Part 2 of 2
This 2006 effort may be one of the strangest serial-killer movies I've
ever seen. It's based on a best-selling novel by Patrick Suskind. Besides
being different, it's also quite good.
Set in 18th century France, Jean Baptiste is born in the slums of a
Paris fish market. He is literally thrown away by his mother right after
birth, but is rescued and placed in an orphanage where he endures a
Strangely, Jean is blessed with an extraordinary sense of smell, and
able to discern individual smells of almost anything. Becoming fascinated
with the smells of women, he is drawn to the art of perfume making.
His perfumes are a big success, so he goes on a quest to create the
perfect scent. Unfortunately, doing so involves a unique study of many
females that leaves the subject quite dead.
This is a strange one, but it's an intriguing story with great
performances, and I highly recommend it.
Scoop's note: I agree with Dann. I watched
it but never wrote a review or did caps. It is a brilliant
movie. Eccentric, too, but that doesn't really bother me. I never thought
I could enjoy a movie about a serial murderer, but this movie is sheer
genius, with more than a touch of poetry. And it's just a bonus that Alan
Rickman and Dustin Hoffman are around to work some of their own magic.
Director Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run) is the German equivalent of
Jean-Pierre Jeunet. He's a visionary and an artist, and every movie he
makes is great in some way, perhaps many ways. I don't know how he could
have brought a book like this to the screen, but he did a helluva job.
The Comedy Wire
Comments in yellow...
Stephen Bruce, owner of the New York restaurant Serendipity 3, hopes to make the
Guinness World Records book with the world's most expensive dessert. His "Frrrozen
Haute Chocolate" is a chocolate sundae made with 28 cocoas, including 14 of the
world's rarest and most expensive, whipped cream, a La Madeline au Truffle
($2600 a pound), and a sprinkling of 23 karat gold dust. It's served in a dish
lined with edible gold, with a gold and diamond bracelet in the bottom, and a
gold spoon you get to keep. The price: $25,000. Bruce said he's hoping it will
attract a Middle Eastern prince wanting something sweet for his many wives.
* That'll teach him to charge us $3 a gallon for
* Or maybe 300 supermodels will split one.
* Or his dream of dreams: Rosie O'Donnell drops in!
A judge ordered Britney Spears to pay Kevin Federline's legal bills in their
divorce due to their "disparity in income," which is $737,000 a month for her
and zero for him.
* And coincidentally, $737,000 a month for his lawyers.
"Mr. Bean" star Rowan Atkinson is leading a fight against a new anti-homophobic
hate crimes bill making its way through Parliament, saying it would restrict
speech so much that it could threaten comedians with up to seven years in prison
for telling a gay joke.
* If you ban English comedians from acting gay, you'd
put 90 percent of them in prison.
* He's lucky they don't send him to prison just for
Violinist Patricia Arguelles is spending a week in a glass cube in
central Madrid, Spain, to see if an artist can compose a good piece of music
while living in a glass box and being watched constantly by the public.
* I've heard Britney's new album: the answer is no.