Caligula et Messaline movie

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Salvatore Baccaro, Eolo Capritti, Vladimir Brajovic, Betty Roland, Françoise Blanchard, Raul Cabrera, Gino Turini, Angelo Arquilla, Piotr Stanislas, Vincent Lo Monaco, Fanny Magier, Laurence Lovall, Antonio Passalia, Dominique Irissou, Marie-Noëlle Arnoult, Silvie Dezabauneix, Kathy Sadik, Jean-Pierre Lemaire, Florence Guérin, Nathalie Berreby, Jimmy il Fenomeno, Sylvi Sorent,


Bruno Mattei


  1. PeterRoeder from Lyngby, Denmark
    Oct 21, 2009

    This movie is bad even for an exploitation film

    I just saw this movie, and I cannot believe how poor it was even for an
    exploitation film. I am not familiar with the accurate history of the
    real Caligula but it could not have been anything like in this movie.
    Of course, that's not necessary in an exploitation film but in this
    case it is just too stupid. Their seems to have been absolutely no
    research into the actual life in Rome at that time. Moreover, the sex
    scenes are really poor. Maybe with one or two erotic moments, and with
    one or two attractive females. The torture scenes are just terrible and
    depressing. At least a movie like "Hostel" portrays torture in a more
    interesting fashion – there is something about the early exploitation
    films that make you want to scream out in boredom at the stupid torture
    scenes. All things considered, this is a horrible movie which should
    never have been made. I feel the same about movies about torture in the
    Holocaust. Movies like that are simply dangerous to the mind, and a
    complete waste of time and life. It is difficult to prove that movies
    like that are actually damaging to the mind, and I don't mean it in any
    moral sense, but we all know that movies like that are absolute trash,
    and that we would be better off watching something interesting. I
    bought Caligula because I thought it might be good but it wasn't. I
    think, the Druuna comic book series is excellent. But this Caligula
    film doesn't deliver anything other than negative and stupid stuff.

  2. jaibo from England
    Mar 12, 2009

    Horse play in Ancient Rome

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

    One of the small slew of Roman histories which followed in the wake of
    Tinto Brass' critically reviled but commercially successful Caligula,
    Bruno Mattei's Caligula and Messalina doesn't have a great deal to add
    but what it does have is pretty eye-popping. Unlike Brass' monumental
    work, Mattei's atrocity has Caligula die about halfway through,
    continuing the story into the reign of Claudius until he tires of his
    disgraceful wife Messalina and has her put to the sword. The film is,
    then, more the story of Messalina than of Caligula, although you
    wouldn't know it from the set-up, which simply retreads the familiar
    Caligula story, beginning with some appallingly clunking exposition
    speeches, the best that can be said about which is that what they
    expose is then shown on screen, making them not only poor scriptwriting
    but staggeringly redundant.

    The story is enlivened by Mattei's trademark use of stock footage,
    which means that intermixed with the cheap and cheerless original film
    are crowd scenes, senate scenes and gladiatorial scenes from early
    1960s peplum, including Pontius Pilate and Leone's The Colossus of
    Rhodes. As usual with Mattei, the stock footage stands out like a sore
    thumb, or in this case is like a perfect hand on which his own sore
    thumb has been stuck. Not content with chivvying things up in this
    fashion, Mattei provides us with not one but two scenes of equine
    congress in quick succession – the ass's milk for Messalina's bath is
    helped along by bringing in a long-donged mule to tup the ass, and
    Caligula's famous senator horse is shown in congress with a mare at the
    stables,; both scenes include explicit footages of the animal's sexual
    organs, the latter sequence intercutting footage from Borowczyk's The
    Beast. Both sequences are about as unnecessary as can be imagined, but
    they do perk the jaded interest after what has been a fairly dull first
    45 minutes.

    After this, things get better as Caligula is killed and the story is a
    little bit less familiar. Messalina, now Claudius' Empress, craves
    nothing more than huge dick, and is serviced by her well-hung eunuch
    before skipping down the brothel to try the legendarily huge member of
    an out-of-towner client (played by the ugliest man to ever hit the
    screen, Salvatore Baccaro from The Beast in Heat). There's an amusing
    episode where the Empress feeds a lover to the lions, but the film is
    for the most part pretty flat, poorly acted and unimaginatively
    directed, so apart from the outré elements, there's little to engage,
    and most viewers I should think will be pretty relieved when Messalina
    meets her end, allowing the film to.

  3. BA_Harrison from Hampshire, England
    Jul 18, 2006

    Softcore sex aplenty in this low budget Caligula rip-off.

    Made to cash in on the notoriety of Tinto Brass's 1979 movie
    'Caligula', Italian sleaze-merchant Bruno Mattei's 'Caligula and
    Messalina' is packed to the gills with soft-core scenes of sex and
    violence. Despite lacking the hardcore porn and graphic gore to be
    found in Brass's movie, Mattei's production (available on German DVD in
    an uncut 108 minute version) is still fairly entertaining stuff.

    John Turner stars as nutty Roman Emperor Caligula, who commits incest
    with his sisters, makes his horse a member of the Senate, and executes
    the innocent on a whim.

    Messalina (played by gorgeous Betty Roland) is a power-hungry
    nymphomaniac who will stop at nothing to become Empress of Rome. She
    brings herself to the attention of Caligula by battling in the
    gladiator arena and it is not long before she achieves her goal,
    upsetting the Emperor's youngest sister Agrippina, who hopes that her
    son Nero will eventually become ruler of Rome.

    Agrippina successfully plots Caligula's downfall, but Messalina rains
    on her parade by immediately jumping into the sack with his successor,
    Claudius. But naughty old Messalina can't commit herself to one man,
    and shags everyone in sight, including a grotesque, but well-endowed,
    frequenter of brothels, a randy midget, her eunuch(!?!?) and an
    ex-lover. When she ends up pregnant, and it is obvious that the father
    is not Claudius (since he has been away fighting in foreign lands),
    Agrippina finally sees her opportunity to be rid of her nemesis once
    and for all.

    Chock full of full frontal female nudity, some male nudity, simulated
    sex, incest, lesbianism, Bacchanalian orgies, rape and buggery, this
    movie is definitely not one for the easily offended. And if none of
    that bothers you, then the graphic scenes of horses and donkeys getting
    jiggy will probably do the trick (the close-up shots were too much for
    me!). Surprisingly, in contrast, the violence is pretty low-key, with
    most of it happening off screen.

    Mattei, obviously working with a low budget, resorts to padding his
    movie with footage from other films, particularly for crowd scenes
    requiring many extras, but to be fair it all works pretty well.
    'Caligula and Messalina' is fun slice of schlock entertainment and is
    worth a viewing for fans of historical exploitation, but those hoping
    for the polished look and excesses of its more famous predecessor may
    be disappointed.

  4. L. Denis Brown ([email protected]) from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Mar 12, 2006

    Power can corrupt – but not all rulers are corruptible.

    Released in 1982, this is an Italian film which was probably intended
    to exploit the publicity associated with Tinto Brasso’s notorious 1979
    release "Caligola". It is clearly a low budget production, shot mainly
    in the studio, with a number of larger scale dramatic sequences
    borrowed from other films incorporated at points where these fit
    reasonably well. Several versions have been released, and run for
    significantly different times (for example, IMDb lists its running time
    at 111m, but my VHS copy runs only 92m 41s), so be aware that certain
    of my comments may not be applicable to all versions. The film provides
    an interesting study of the life of Messalina, the Roman Empress first
    married to the mad emperor Caligula and then after his assassination
    (which takes place at about the mid-point of the film) to his successor
    Claudius; and it would have been better titled Caligula and Claudius,
    or just Messalina. Historically it is not strictly accurate but
    probably provides a fairly realistic interpretation of life in Rome
    during the periods of the two Emperors concerned. The first half
    provides a beautifully crafted confirmation of the dictum that power
    corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but the second shows a
    very different scene when Claudius takes the throne, introduces careful
    and incorruptible administrators and rapidly repairs the damage to the
    fabric of Roman society caused by his predecessor. Presumably the
    intention is to show that absolute power does no more than give any
    ruler the freedom to behave in accordance with his natural character,
    and in this sense it can be regarded as a film with an important
    message to convey.

    Historically the reign of Caligula is regarded as exceptionally violent
    and cruel, and the film has to make this clear to viewers who are not
    familiar with the history of this period. Whereas other filmmakers have
    succumbed to the temptation to exploit the violence in a pornographic
    way, it is greatly to the credit of this film that unnecessary violence
    has been largely avoided and much of that which is shown remains
    implicit rather than explicit. Caligula maintained a vast network of
    spies, and individuals who spoke against him would often disappear -
    probably to meet an unspeakable end. This is brought out early in this
    film, not by showing such a sudden disappearance and what followed, but
    by a restrained warning from one army officer to another who had been a
    little too loose in his conversation. There is a brief scene in a Roman
    torture chamber when plotters against the Emperor are being
    interrogated, but (in my copy at least) this is less explicit than
    similar scenes in many films depicting events in mediaeval Europe. A
    legend that Messalina, a very junior lady in Caligula’s court, was
    trained by her mother to come to his attention by mastering such
    masculine skills as swordplay, and then demanding to demonstrate these,
    has been incorporated into the film; and the nearest it comes to
    becoming pornographic is during a fairly graphic swordplay sequence in
    the Coliseum which unexpectedly ends in not Messalina but the gladiator
    having to appeal to the Emperor to spare his life. This sequence
    clearly shows the violence and cruelty which was associated with the
    Roman Circus. However it forms an important part of the story, and in
    my opinion it is treated with enough restraint to be more acceptable
    than many of the violent scenes incorporated (with less reason) in
    certain films intended exclusively for children today. Later, even the
    assassination of Caligula is shown without a rather meaningless
    bloodbath involving all and sundry; and in the second half of the film
    after Claudius has taken the throne, the trust shown by the Emperor in
    his chosen advisers (both military and civil) is clearly brought out.
    Nudity?, yes there is nudity in many of the scenes showing the
    decadence of Caligula’s Imperial Court, but it is never obtrusive – it
    always seems a natural part of any scene where it occurs. Afterwards,
    when looking back on the film, it is very hard to remember which scenes
    these were. There are none of the visual excesses to be found in films
    such as Tinto Brasso’s "Caligola". Another sequence displays the
    continuing decadent life at Court after Caligula’s death during a
    period when Claudius and his legions were campaigning in Britain, this
    very effectively shows decadence as an ongoing characteristic of life
    among the Roman ruling class of the period, not something which was
    introduced at the whim of a mad Emperor. This film is definitely not
    just softcore pornography, and it provides two very important lessons
    for us today. The first is that absolute power will only corrupt those
    rulers who are corruptible, whilst the second, even more important but
    maybe a little less obvious, is that mankind has changed very little
    during the past two millennia; and that many rulers, such as Hitler,
    Idi Amin, Pinochet or Sadaam Hussein who have been given absolute power
    during the past century, have shown a behaviour pattern very little
    different from that of Caligula.

    Overall this film, together with Fellini’s Satyricon, have both
    significantly contributed to my limited understanding of what life may
    have been like in classical Rome. No one today can really appreciate
    how it would have felt if they had been a part of Roman society, but we
    must recognise that, for most Roman citizens, family life continued
    under Roman law in what was probably a remarkably stable pattern for
    the period. This film is enjoyable to watch and, despite having been
    rated by many jurisdictions for 18+ viewing only, I believe that
    watching it would make a positive contribution to the history education
    of most high school children.

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