Magazine article USA TODAY

Caligula: Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Magazine article USA TODAY

Caligula: Twentieth Anniversary Edition

Article excerpt

CALIGULA: TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

PENTHOUSE VIDEO 155 MINUTES, $29.99 (DVD)

Now that DVD has proven itself to a receptive audience, producers are rushing to fill the stores with the same extensive backlist that made VHS such a success. As with VHS, the output is a kaleidoscope of classics, cult favorites, and junk--whatever will sell. Also showing up on the shelves are films that have been forgotten about for decades for one reason or another--such as "Caligula."

Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione's scenery-chewing, censor-provoking epic melds historical melodrama with widescreen pornography, with the emphasis on the latter. Guccione took novelist Gore Vidal's screenplay and Italian director Tinto Brass' original version and shot additional scenes featuring Penthouse Pets and porn stars doing their things. The result, far ahead of its time as far as industry, audience, and legal acceptance, never made it to wide distribution and soon disappeared from sight, to reemerge two decades later in more permissive times, when viewers can watch it in their own living rooms. …

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