|The 13 Main Versions of Caligula-Film, Video, DVD|
|1. May 1979- The Cannes Version- 210 Minutes- Mystery surrounds this
cut of the film. Since Penthouse had not yet settled with either Gore
Vidal or Tinto Brass at the time, we assume it carried the title of
"Gore Vidal's Caligula". Lucky Fellows claims to have been at the
screening. According to Noel Bailey, this cut also received some
underground screenings in London. It has never been officially
released, and no bootlegs are said to exist.
2. Dec 1979- The Italian Version, "Caligola", basically the same as the
forthcoming American edit of 156 minutes, but minus 6 minutes to
please the censors, which it didn't. Showed up on Video in 1985 and
quickly with-drawn due to a law suit with Penthouse Vs. Rossellini.
This video version is the elusive one! (Check E-Bay!)
3. Feb 1980- The American Edit, "Caligula", the same as the Italian edit,
but runs a full 156 minutes. Released on Video in the USA in January
1984, with a compressed running time of 148 minutes, even though the
box says it runs 143 minutes. This version was billed as "unrated". As
well, this is the version that was re-issued in 1991 on VHS as the
"Special 10th Anniversary Edition", with the correct running time of
148 min. These liner notes on the 1991 VHS ended up on the 1999
4. Oct 1980-The full uncut version was brought to the UK in the fall,
only to be seized by British Customs who declared it obscene.
However, Guccione's lawyers asked for the film to be certificated so
the British Board of Film Classification set about to cut the film to
make it "releasable". Originally 10:28 minutes was cut, but then a
further 4 minutes had to also be cut. The editors added 4 minutes
of "softer" footage to bring the time back to 149.34 minutes. The film
was granted a theatrical X certificate, and had a lengthy run at the
Prince Charles Cinema in London. It was issued by Electric Video
about 1982 as the 2 1/2 Hour version, but was deleted in 1984 by
the Video Recordings Act which got rid of video "nasties". It wasn't
until 2002 that this version of the film was shown on TV by Channel
5 Nov 1981- The American R-Rated Edit- This version was edited back
to 103 minutes, but featured different camera angles some some
different footage at the end of the Imperial Bordello Scene. The 1984
Vestron Video release was time compressed to 101 minutes. At the
end of this version, Bob Guccione in an afterword urged viewers to
purchase the un-rated version. This version was issued on Laserdisc
in 1988. Version #5 was the video version I first saw in 1990,
and the theatrical release was the one I was supposed to see on
my 1982 History class, but never got to. I also think that
the Soundtrack, which was issued in June 1981 by mail order,
and then in stores by Christmas 1981, was to tie in with this
version and the one below. Read my notes on the 1984 Vestron
6. 1981-UK-98 minutes. Just as Penthouse created a short version of
Caligula for the American market, so they did for the UK market.
While version #4 played in London, a massively trunicated (but
still rated X) print did the rounds in the Provinces. It turned up on
video in 1990, carrying an "18" certificate and billed as the "1 1/2
Hour version. It was issued on DVD in the UK, and is available from
Amazon.co.uk, but no one in thier right minds would want to own it.
The film is butchered, and the sound and picture quality are apalling.
This is the only version commercially available in the UK. It is thought
that #5 and #6 are identical, but I will keep them separate for the fact
that #6 will be a PAL format on video, and UK packaging.
7. May 1984-The Italian Rossellini Edit, "Io Caligola", which ran about 84
minutes. This may have featured new music and was dubbed from
the English to Italian.
8. 1985-The re-release of the Rossellini Edit, which boasted "Scenes never
before scene", and ran 129 minutes. This re-cut version
was edited by Enzo Micarelli. The film's opening is restructered
and the Killing Machine sequence is restored in full.
Micarelli deleted the Lesbian tryst between Anneka and
Lori, but retained almost all the hardcore Ship Orgy footage.
This was issued on VHS in 2001, and the widescreen DVD
(marred by poor sound and picture quality) in 2003. The
PAL-video version ran 124 min. This was also dubbed in
Italian, and featured new music by Enzio Rossellini.
9. 1988-USA-148 Minutes. Like the 1984 VHS release (Version #3) this
unrated Laserdisc is 148 minutes in length, but credited to 143 min.
Nevertheless it's a slightly different cut of the film featuring
extended explict footage in the Harem Monsters Orgy in Tiberius'
grotto which has been described as "disgusting" by some viewers. This
cut was also released in Russia on VHS in 1990.
10. Sept 1999- The 162 Minute American DVD release which ran at 156
minutes at the PAL speed. It's a little different than version #3, being
a pre-release print. The DVD also included the "Making of Caligula",
a little piece of Penthouse Propaganda. This version sells at Amazon
for a very reasonable price. Unrated DVD, released by Image
Entertainment in widescreen and full surround sound. Also released
on Region 2 format in 2001 by Dutch Filmworks in a cleaner print.
11. Sept 1999-Image Entertainment produced an R-Rated version (The
Red DVD) as a companion to the Unrated version above. This is
different to and less interesting than the orginal R-rated version (#5)
but at least it's in widescreen. Metropolitan Films in France have
recently produced an edited version of the film (The White DVD)
described as the "Edition Prestige" which is of similiar length.
12. Nov 1999-UK-137 Minutes. Frusterated by the lack of a decent version
of Caligula available in the UK (See version #6 above) and convinced
that Guccione's interference had ruined the film anyway, a team from
Film 4 set about creating a new cut of the film. Working from the
banned uncut print, the Film 4 tea, deleted all footage shot by Bob
Guccione (except for a few brief Ship Orgy shots) and restored
sequences shot by Tinto Brass which had previously been deleted by
the British Censors. However, unlike Version #8, they made no
attempt to re-arrange the displaced scenes. This version was called
"The Directors Cut" even thought Tinto Brass had nothing to do with
it! However, both Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell both
expressed thier support for Film 4's work. However Bob Guccione
was not pleased, and made some angry phone calls! This version
had it's debut on UK TV in November 1999.
13. April 2003-Metropolitan Films of France have released this
deluxe issued a PAL DVD edition of the film, described as
the "Version Integrale". This version is superior to the 1999
and 2001 DVD's. The title graphics are improved
and the image quality is richer and brighter than any
other previous DVD release. This version is time
compressed, and the Celebration Feast scene is slightly cut.
This double DVD features lots of cool extras, and runs
148 minutes. It is available from Amazon.fr
Ciao! (And a huge thanks J.E. Chaffin & Ranjit for thier help on this!)
added May 9th 2003
edited Nov 11th 2003 Back to Main Page
|No complete or satisfying version of the film has yet been seen. What we've listed below are the 13 most significant versions (Primarily Italian, US, and British) in chronological order. If you want to know which versions of Caligula to get, which ones are worth a look, and which ones should be avoided at all costs, then this list is for you. J.E. Chaffin 2003|