How A Gremlins 2 Deleted Scenes Directly Addressed One of Cinema’s Great Controversy
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How A Gremlins 2 Deleted Scenes Directly Addressed One of Cinema’s Great Controversy

Some young people (even some parents) see tweets, articles, and posts from cinema and film historians like me advocating preservation and proper mockery of film, thinking that, in this bold new world of instant access and online streaming services download , the entire history of cinema is at our fingertips, so we must not complain.

Of course, this attitude is not only grossly misinformed given the unsustainable status quo of modern cinema, but it is also potentially dangerous, at least in terms of preserving the history of what is still the preeminent artistic medium of our lives. If historians are particularly interested in this issue, it is partly because we are aware of similar threats that threatened the preservation of film in the past.

One of those threats emerged in the mid-’80s, when media mogul Ted Turner made the rather eloquent decision to “color” classic black-and-white films for television (and, later, home media). Pushback from filmmakers, critics, and like-minded people on this decision made it all the way to Congress and led to the passage of the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, which in turn established the National Film Registry.

One of the major opponents of Turner’s coloring ideas was director Joe Dante, who is prominently mentioned in this work from 1986 as an opponent of film’s “color spoiling”. Dante used the controversy to make a very clever joke in his arguably most subversive film, 1990s “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.” Since the joke was eventually deleted, this is why it deserves to be rediscovered.

Ted Turner’s ‘Crayon’ Threat

The 1980s saw major changes in cinema from all kinds of angles. In particular, the rise of the home video market has coincided with the prevalence of cable television, meaning that both classic and recent films can be watched completely uninterrupted from the comfort of one’s own home for the first time.

Because of this new situation, audiences have become subservient to corporations and rights holders who play fast and loose with the way these films are presented. Films viewed on physical media and broadcast TV were subject to the monstrous “pan-and-scan” method of attaching feature films to the standard square television set of the day, and in the case of television, versions could be further edited in a variety of different ways. strange.

This trend seemed to culminate with Turner’s announcement that, as owner of the rights to the films he and his network broadcast, he would ensure all classic black-and-white films in color. “I could do whatever I wanted with them,” he said in 1986, “and if they were to be shown on television, they would be in color.”

Turner’s disdain for the film and their exhibitions no doubt helped to change public opinion, and eventually the government opposed it, especially after making childish comments like “I colored ‘Casablanca’ just for the sake of controversy.” That’s not the only immature thing about his campaign—the actual coloring process Turner uses makes the films look weird and gross, an aesthetic no different from a children’s coloring book. As Orson Welles allegedly told his friend Henry Jaglom about the prospect of Turner coloring “Citizen Kane”, the filmmaker asked not to “let Ted Turner ruin my film with his crayons.”

Daniel Clamp Has An Incredible Life

While the Ted Turner coloring controversy was largely resolved by the time “Gremlins 2” went into production, Joe Dante couldn’t resist including a bit of applause reference to the matter. Especially since Daniel Clamp’s (John Glover) character is a sharp amalgamation of Turner, Donald Trump, and other frivolous and irresponsible millionaire moguls.

In the scene, Clamp is distracted from his busy day frolicking in his cold, impersonal office by watching one of the many TV monitors display Frank Capra’s 1946 classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The film plays in precise black-and-white transfer, which irritates Clamp until he presses a button next to the monitor, and presto, the film is now rendered in Ted Turner-style murky colors, making Clamp smile brightly.

Had Dante left the scene in the film, it would have been a clever public mockery of Turner’s ill-fated campaign. Like most of Dante’s jokes, it’s multi-functional and multi-layered: beyond the scene references to real-life Turner, the use of “It’s A Wonderful Life” calls back to the first “Gremlins” in the scene where Mrs. Peltzer (Frances Lee McCain) is watching a movie while chopping onions. The devious relationship between the villain of the 1946 film, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), and the human villain “Gremlins”, Mrs. Deagle (Polly Holliday) who is also stingy. Ironically, Mrs Deagle’s plot to blackmail the small town of Kingston Falls (a name that refers directly to Bedford Falls from “It’s A Wonderful Life”) was largely removed from “Gremlins,” just as Clamp’s clip was removed from “Gremlins 2.”

The scene would also further support a theme that is still very much present in the final cut of “Gremlins 2,” namely Clamp’s company’s callous manufacturing practices. At the film’s climax, Clamp states that the image of Billy (Zach Galligan) created from Kingston Falls will now be a development entitled “Clamp Corners.”

Dante Sees the Big Picture

There are several reasons Dante removed the coloring joke from “Gremlins 2.” First, the controversy reached a rather happy ending by the time “Gremlins 2” was made in 1989, when the public realized that color classics were ugly and the National Film Registry had begun work on preserving selected films.

For another reason, even though the character was meant to be a disgusting celebrity CEO dispatch, Glover’s performance gave Clamp enough likability that he’s become a fairly likable figure in the film, which means the coloring joke satire will lose some of its bite.

However, officially, Dante explained in his comments to the scene that he saw Christopher Guest’s 1989 film “The Big Picture” while editing “Gremlins 2,” which contained a joke about coloring that he felt was so similar that it would make the scene redundant.

However, the scene has value in its call back to the first “Gremlins” as well as Dante’s observation that “It’s A Wonderful Life” was one of the first films to be colored “very badly.” Not to mention the fact that the color version of “It’s A Wonderful Life” is still very much in circulation.

While efforts like the National Film Registry, filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, and other organizations continue to beat the drums for film preservation, it’s worth remembering to poke fun at the world’s Ted Turners and Daniel Clamps, showing how their bad taste is dangerous. Oh yes, and terrible.

Read this next: Every Martin Scorsese Feature Ranked From Worst To Best

The post How A Gremlins 2 Removed Scenes Directly Handled One of Cinema’s Great Controversy first appeared in /Movie.