|Rome, capitol of the greatest empire the world has ever seen, became, during Emperor Caligula's era, a city of unrivaled lust and erotic indulgence-a place where nothing was taboo. And Messalina just might have been the most insatiable Empress of all. Wild sexual indulgence and comedic flourishes: Empress Messalina throws a toga party like none other! The unrated version of an erotic classic!
(Liner notes of the DVD "Caligula II-Messalina, Messalina")
|Like me, you are probably wondering what the hell "Messalina! Messalina!" is all about, and how it comes off calling itself Caligula II?
Franco Rossellini, who was the co-producer of Caligula with Bob Guccione, figured he'd better cover his bets in case the former movie didn't get completed. Why have all those sets, props and costumes go to waste! Bob and his crew wern't long from Dear Studios when Franco decided to shoot a quickie film using everything left over from Caligula. And I mean everything! Towards the end of the movie, they even work in a model of Tiberius' Grotto in a scene! As well, like some other folks, Franco may have felt ripped off by Tinto Brass, and wanted to feature the excellent sets and costumes constructed and designed by Danilo Donati.
So Franco got the idea of shooting a second film. He found some talent, some cash (Excutive Producer-Renato Jaboni), and director Bruno Corbucci.
Bruno had been a screenwriter since the early 60's, writing a "sequel" to Spartacus in 1963. To write the script for Messalina! Messalina! he teamed up with Mario Amendola (who had a screenplay produced in 1945!).
They cast Anneka di Lorenzo as the star of the film, and her sexy partner from Caligula, Lori Wagner, returned as Agrippina. The rest of the team were pretty well all new blood, made up of local Italian actors.
Filming went quickly, as did editing and post production. The film was distributed by Medusa Distribuzione, and was shot in Italian.
None of the sets from Tiberius' palace on Capri were used in this movie, so it's possible they were already pulled down. As well, there were additional sets used for this film, either at Dear Studios or nearby.
The film premered in Rome on August 11th 1977, while Caligula was still in editing stages!
Neither Rossellini or Corbucci tried to tie the movie to the Caligula production, probably because it wasn't even released yet. It would be the last starring roles for either Anneka or Lori.
The movie itself it pretty bad, but everyone involved knew that! It's a sexplotation film, but it no where as graphic as Caligula. The one lesbian scene comes close, but just barely.
Once Caligula was released in 1980, many films were quickly shot by professionals and amateurs alike, and capitolized on the name of Caligula. It was probably at this time it was decided to slap "Caligula II" with the title of "Messalina! Messalina!" because it was the closest thing to a sequel compared to all the other films being mass produced. It is very interesting to see the sets and props used in a comedy, that's the best part of the film!
In 1991, Magnum Video released this movie on VHS as "Caligula, Sins of Rome", and in 1994 Artemis Entertianment released it as "Messalina, Empress of Rome".
Over the year 2000, Soft Touch Films issued the film on DVD as a direct answer to Caligula being issued on DVD the year before. There is no comparism between movies. The DVD quality of "Messalina! Messalina!" is poor, as is the dubbing from Italian to English. Did Anneka di Lorenzo really sound like Mae West in the original version? That's probably why this DVD was only $9.99 at Amazon.com! (Caligula is $23.97 by comparism!)
I would still say buy the DVD though, for Ten Bucks it's still worth the laugh, and there is nothing wrong with Anneka nude!
There, as Paul Harvey would say, "Is the rest of the story!"
This slapstick Italian sex comedy actually looks far more expensive than it really is as it used the sets left over from the 1980 spectacular "Caligula". It can't quite make up it's mind, though, if it's a comedy (The Emperor Claudius is a doddering, stuttering, impotent old fool!), a sex film (with much nudity and several orgy scenes), or a slasher/gore picture (in a scene where soldiers invade an orgy and starting dismembering and decapitating everyone in sight-which, incredibly, is treated in a slapstick scene!), and winds up being not much of anything.
|review by Brian Gusse, for the All Movie Guide|
| The Credits
Excutive Producer-Renato Jaboni
Producer-Franco Rossellini (Co-Produced Caligula)
Written by-Bruno Corbucci & Mario Amendola
Featuring Sets designed by-Danilo Donati (For the movie Caligula)
Music Composed by-Guido & Maurizio de Angelis
Costumes Designed by-Alberto Verso
Anneka di Lorenzo-Messalina
Giancarlo Prete-Caisus Silius
Lino Toffalo-Julius Nelius
Lory Ann Wagner-Agrippinilla
Shot in the spring of 1977, Dear Studios Rome
Released August 11th 1977
DVD issued in 2000
|The DVD cover, issued in 2000|
|Caligula II-Messalina! Messalina!|
| Just for Fun!
I noticed a huge casting flaw on the part of Messalina, while reading Robert Graves, "I Claudius", it turns out that Messalina was born in 25 AD, which means in the time of Caligula, she was only about 15, which was normal then, but certainly not these days! I know that Anneka Di Lorenzo was not playing no 15 year old in either movie! (Caligula or Messalina! Messalina!) For the record, Messalina was a cousin of Caligula's, and married to Caligula's uncle Claudius in 40 AD. Agrippina was Caligula's younger sister, and was about 10 years older than Messalina, and was the mother of the Emperor Nero. When Caligula died in 41 AD, Agrippina was 26, and Messalina was 16.
| The Soundtrack
I just learned today (May 22nd 2001), that there was a soundtrack to the movie of Messalina! Messalina!
It was actually just one side of a record, and was the B-Side. The A-side was the soundtrack to the 1978 Italian movie, "La Montagna Del Dio Cannibale". It was issued on Cometa Records, of a limited edition of 1,000 copies. The record number was CMT-1007-19.
The music was conducted by Mario Nascimbene, and Severino Gazzelloni played the flute. The music for the other movie was composed by Guido and Maurizio De Angelis, I've been told that they also composed the score for Messalina! Messalina!, but this LP would say otherwise!
The track listing of the Messalina! Messalina! soundtrack was:
1. Smagliante Ammaliatrice
2. Notti Romane
4. Ballata Burlona
5. Incontro D'Amore
7. Un Piacevole Addio
No cover art is available right now.
|Silly me! I had originally identified the picture at the left wrongly! It's from Anneka's 5th film, "Messalina! Messalina!". I guess I recognized the sets, but not the costume! A special thanks goes to site visitor Grigori Rasputin for spotting this goof! It's the fans that really make a site what it is! Great work Rasputin!
In this scene, Messalina is getting into a bath of warm goat's milk with the Foreigner from Venice. This is one of the few full frontal nude shots in the film.
As an aside, there is a great scene near the end of this movie, where they actually use the model of Tiberius' Grotto as a prop! Talk about using everything that is around you!