Caligula–The Ultimate Cut: Director Tinto Brass Taking Legal Action Against Penthouse Films

More than 40 years after his battle with Bob Guccione over the cult classic Caligula, Italian director Tinto Brass is still fighting.

Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

Penthouse Films has unveiled a new cut of the raunchy 1980 epic about the fall of the Roman ruler titled “Caligula: The Ultimate Cut,” which screened on Wednesday in the Cannes Classics section, with star Helen Mirren in attendance.

Director Brass, who’s 90, has issued a statement distancing himself from this new version of the film and announced that he is taking unspecified legal action.

“After numerous and fruitless negotiations that have followed over the years, first with the Penthouse and then with other individuals, to edit the material that I shot and which had been found in the Penthouse archives, a version has been created on which I did not take part and which I am convinced will not reflect my artistic vision,” Brass said in the statement.

”For now, I won’t add anything else. My lawyers are dealing with the matter.”

The big-budget “Caligula” was self-financed in 1980 by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione who after fighting with Brass and screenwriter Gore Vidal wrested control of the project ad tossed out the script.

He then added adult content that he shot after the actors – who besides Mirren included Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, and Peter O’Toole – had finished their shoots.

As a result of the extra porn material prompted Brass and Vidal to sue to have their names removed from the picture.

“Caligula: The Ultimate Cut,” which runs 157 minutes and was made using 96 hours of Brass’ original footage, is very different from Guccione’s cut. The revived film’s producer Thomas Negovan “Approached this new version from a neutral perspective,” say the production notes.

“His desire to elevate the actors gives greater strength to the narrative and provides a new approach to the Emperor Caligula’s madness,” they add and go on to point out: “Another feat is that not a single shot from the original film was used, which makes “Caligula – The Ultimate Cut” a completely new feature film.”