Monday, June 14, 2010
Unrepentant. Dame Helen Mirren on the irresistible charms of the movie Caligula.
Helen Mirren: It was an irresistible mix of art and genitals.
I watched the uncut version of Gore Vidal's Caligula recently and was surprised by how explicit the movie was. It's somehow startling to see cumshots in a movie with so many Oscar winners. The depravity will probably turn most viewers away, but there are some stellar performances. In addition to Helen Mirren as Drusilla, Caligula's sister/wife, who presides over an epic Roman orgy, the film is chock full of fine actors. Peter O'Toole is wickedly insane as Tiberius and Sir John Gielgud gives a surprisingly sympathetic performance as Nerva, a conservative retainer in the royal household. Malcolm McDowell as the unsympathetic Caligula slashes through the film like a sword-wielding psychopath. The creepy Giancarlo Badessi, as Claudius, had me reaching for the remote. As a fan of Robert Graves' I Claudius and Claudius the God, I couldn't stand to watch Badessi's vacant buffoonery.
In 2005, this fake trailer for a reimagined Caligula film made the rounds at film festivals. Helen Mirren is joined by Gore Vidal, Benecio Del Toro, Milla Jovovitch, Karen Black, and Courtney Love in this amusing soft core parody.