Joe Dante

Sog.: dai personaggi creati da Chris Columbus. Scen.: Charles S. Haas. F.: John Hora. M.: Kent Beyda. Scgf.: James H. Spencer. Mus.: Jerry Goldsmith. Int.: Zach Galligan (Billy Peltzer), Phoebe Cates (Kate Beringer), John Glover (Daniel Clamp), Robert Prosky (nonno Fred), Robert Picardo (Forster), Christopher Lee (Cushing Catetere), Haviland Morris (Marla Bloodstone), Dick Miller (Murray Futterman), Jackie Joseph (Sheila Futterman), Gedde Watanabe (signor Katsuji), Keye Luke (signor Wing). Prod.: Michael Finnell per Amblin Entertainment, Michael Finnell Production, Warner Bros. DCP. D.: 106’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The studio came to me a couple of years later and asked: “Do you want to make another Gremlins movie?” I said, I don’t think so. They went off and tried to make their own Gremlins movie. They spent a quite a bit of money on a lot of different approaches, but they could never figure out what was working about the first picture. Eventually they came back to me and Mike Finnell, the producer, and said: “We want to put out another Gremlins movie next summer, and if you do it, we’ll let you do whatever you want.” That promise lured me back into the fold. To do anything you want on a studio movie, with approximately three times the money of the first movie, was pretty appealing… They let me make the movie I wanted to make, though they really didn’t get it. For example, they just didn’t understand why I wanted to have the gremlins “break” the film. They said: “Everyone will leave.” I said: “No, they’re not going to leave. It’s a joke!” I have found over the years that the process of breaking the fourth wall is more and more difficult. It’s become very difficult to be Brechtian in any obvious way… Nonetheless, they let me get away with the movie, and for me it was a more personal movie.

Joe Dante, in Michael Sragow, Interview: Joe Dante, “Film Comment”, 18 February 2015


George Bush was 18 months into his presidency when Gremlins 2: The New Batch was released in June 1990… The times had changed and the wheel was in spin… The headline over Janet Maslin’s “New York Times” review read, They’re Back. (But Much Nicer.) Gremlins 2 was “only rarely scary or disgusting,” she announced. Additionally, it had “much more verve, cleverness and good humor than the film on which it is based.” … What had changed? Compared to its progenitor, Gremlins 2 was just as yucky, equally violent, and even more cynical. (L’il Gizmo is revealed to be a Rambo fan.) The idmonsters had scarcely reformed – except rather than attack “innocent” Main Street they at tacked perfidious Wall Street. Indeed, idmonsters aside, Grem lins had no villain (the villain was us); Gremlins 2 posited the avaricious Clamp, part Donald Trump developer, part Ted Turner media baron, as its designated (and redeemable) Reaganera bad guy… Who could resist what might be the most elaborate set piece in the Dante oeuvre – a screen full of gremlins singing New York, New York, appearing in Busby Berkeley formations, or dancing the conga? Rather than disrupt anyone’s pleasure, Dante’s self-reflexive strategies only added to the fun.

J. Hoberman, The Gremlins Franchise: Standing Spielberg on His Head, in Joe Dante, edited by Nil Baskar and Gabe Klinger, Österreichisches Filmmuseum/Synema, Wien 2014


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