Alligator


1h 34m 1980

Brief Synopsis

Ramon was flushed down into the sewers of Chicago when he was a baby alligator, and now he is a 32-foot-long monster who eats both animals and people. For the last twelve years Ramon has lived in the sewers, he is angry, and out for revenge. The only person who knows about Ramon is detective David M

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m

Synopsis

Ramon was flushed down into the sewers of Chicago when he was a baby alligator, and now he is a 32-foot-long monster who eats both animals and people. For the last twelve years Ramon has lived in the sewers, he is angry, and out for revenge. The only person who knows about Ramon is detective David Madison who struggles to convince the city of the monster's existence.

Crew

Dale Baer

Production Assistant

Hanania Baer

Camera Operator

Bruce Barbour

Stunts

David Bartholomew

Special Effects

David Beasley

Special Effects

Kevin Blackton

Other

Larry Bock

Editor

Robert S Bremson

Executive Producer

Jim Brockett

Animal Trainer

Richard Casey

Production Assistant

Mike Cassidy

Stunts

Dottie Catching

Stunts

Brandon Chase

Producer

Tom Clardy

Stunts

Laurie Cohn

Script Supervisor

Jack Cooperman

Photography

Roger Creed

Stunts

Anthon Cunha

Photography

Sue Dolph

Makeup

Sue Dolph

Hair

Kenny Endoso

Stunts

Michael Erler

Art Director

Hill Farnsworth

Stunts

Pete Gerard

Special Effects

Tom Goeken

Other

Geno Havens

Casting

Richard O Helmer

Special Effects

Dale House

Stunts

Craig Hundley

Music

John Hungerford

Production Assistant

Tom Jacobson

Production Manager

Tom Jacobson

Associate Producer

Stephen Jerrom

Production Assistant

Bill Kaufmann

Miniatures

Dana Macduff

Production Assistant

Joseph Mangine

Director Of Photography

Maurice Marks

Production Manager

Lisa Marmon

Assistant Director

Randi Maurer

Production Coordinator

Ron Mccausland

Key Grip

Stephen Mcmillan

Production Assistant

Ronald Medico

Editor

Don Morski

Props

Arthur Names

Sound

Conrad Palmisano

Stunt Coordinator

Frank Ray Perilli

From Story

John Ramsey

Special Effects

Pete Robinson

Production Assistant

Bobby Sargent

Stunts

John Sayles

From Story

John Sayles

Screenplay

David Schmier

Camera Operator

Rick Seaman

Stunts

Connie Sech

Wardrobe Supervisor

Robert Short

Special Makeup Effects

William Shourt

Special Effects

Cyd Smillie

Set Decorator

Peter Smokler

Camera Operator

Van Spaulding

Production Assistant

Peter Stader

Stunts

Tom Steele

Stunts

Pat Summers

Assistant Editor

Jerram A. Swartz

Assistant Director

Jack Tyree

Stunts

Cindy L Will

Stunts

Bill Williams

Assistant Editor

Jacqueline Zambrano

Location Manager

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
1980

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m

Articles

Alligator - Robert Forster & Henry Silva in ALLIGATOR on DVD


Giant reptile movies have really gotten big over the last few years, with outsized titles including the freakishly large likes of Viper (1996), Anaconda (1997), Komodo (1999), King Cobra (1999), Lake Placid (1999), Python (2000), Crocodile (2000), Boa vs. Python (2004), Komodo vs. Cobra (2005) and the fact-based Primeval (2007) all competing for shelf space among the other direct-to-video titles at your local Blockbuster. While Lewis Teague's Alligator (1980) cannot be called the first of this scaly and surprisingly long-legged subgenre (an honor perhaps due The Giant Gila Monster), the consensus is that it is among the best, if not the best giant alligator/crocodile flick ever. Scripted by John Sayles (between his celebrated work on Joe Dante's Piranha and The Howling) and directed by former Roger Corman acolyte Lewis Teague, Alligator is another unapologetic Jaws ripoff that, unlike its fellow copycats, deftly reshuffles its purloined plot points into an energetic, witty and exciting pastiche that gives back much more than it borrows.

As if to validate the film industry adage that half of good directing is good casting, Alligator offers up a winning ensemble of veteran performers and fresh-faced newcomers led by Robert Forster. Like Michael Parks, Forster had been groomed during the twilight of the studio system as a successor to Marlon Brando but his career fizzled out with the ascendancy of authentically ethnic performers like Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Forster had acted in Roger Corman's Avalanche (1978), on which Lewis Teague shot second unit. Teague hired Forster for a small role in his directing debut, the Depression era crime story The Lady in Red (1979) and the actor was at the top of his list to headline Alligator. Recovering from a bout of spinal meningitis at the time, an emaciated Forster brings his trademark self deprecating machismo to the role and is the film's true capital asset, never playing above the material but spitting out sidereal wisecracks that elevate rather than undermine the silly goings-on. Supporting Forster is the appealing Robin Riker (a herpetologist love interest in the Faith Domergue mode), Michael V. Gazzo (a playwright who made a late life transition to character parts, mostly as gangsters), comic Jack Carter and Academy Award® winner Dean Jagger. Adding an extra layer of Psychotronica is the casting of cult performers Sue Lyon (Lolita), Angel Tompkins (Prime Cut) and Henry Silva, whose assignments in those days were mostly in other countries (the Canadian Shoot, the Australian Thirst and the Italo-cop films The Boss and Almost Human), who seems to be having a lot of fun poking fun at his tough guy image, especially in a scene in which he stumbles upon a pile of alligator spore.

Shot for around $150,000, Alligator occasionally looks ruinously cheap (the big city SWAT team is clad in mechanic's overalls) but otherwise is a model of economy and misdirection. Teague and Sayles dispatch a couple of characters (Silva's big game hunter and Bart Braverman's tabloid snoop) who seem etched to become major players in the drama, while showing a refreshing disregard for sentimentality by having the title creature chow down on children and French maids as readily as it does politicians and lawbreakers. Small living alligators photographed on miniature sets were alternated with an oversized mechanical gator head with the effects ultimately being respectable if not entirely believable. More important than verisimilitude, however, is the abiding sense of fun, with the comedy invigorating the suspense rather than diluting it. The winning combination of satire and salable exploitation elements struck a nerve with critics (Vincent Canby was a fan) and fans – ABC scored when it broadcast Alligator on network television in the early 80s. In a roundtable interview conducted in support of the release of Grindhouse (2007), Quentin Tarantino admitted to Lewis Teague that he chose Robert Forster to star in his 1997 film Jackie Brown on the strength of his lead performance in Alligator.

Never before available on DVD in America, Alligator has been given a deluxe digital debut by Lionsgate. Although the remastered transfer has not been tagged for progressive scan, the letterboxed image (1.78:1) is anamorphically enhanced. While mild grain is appreciable, the feature looks quite good and appropriate for its vintage. The film's soundtrack has been given a 5.1 Dolby upgrade, although the original monaural mix is also available. English and Spanish subtitles are optional. An audio commentary featuring Lewis Teague and Robert Forster dates back to an earlier Region 2 disc. As on the recent Cujo (1983) DVD, Teague proves himself to be a somewhat dull historian, although Forster's reflections and reactions are appropriately wry and commentary moderator Del Howison (actor and proprietor of Burbank, California's Dark Delicacies bookstore) keeps the conversation flowing.

It's a special treat to hear from John Sayles, now an acclaimed filmmaker of Serious Cinema, who is the subject of the 17-minute featurette Animal Author, in which he recounts how he came to the project and altered the original scenario by Frank Ray Perilli. The film's original theatrical trailer is also included (too bad alternate scenes filmed for Alligator's ABC broadcast are not available as bonuses). Lionsgate's packaging is first rate (if a bit too similar to too many DTV stinkers) and the disc offers previews of the aforementioned Komodo vs. Cobra as well as Man-Thing (2005) and George Miller's Attack of the Sabretooth (2005).

For more information about Alligator, visit Lionsgate. To order Alligator, go to TCM Shopping.

by Richard Harland Smith
Alligator - Robert Forster & Henry Silva In Alligator On Dvd

Alligator - Robert Forster & Henry Silva in ALLIGATOR on DVD

Giant reptile movies have really gotten big over the last few years, with outsized titles including the freakishly large likes of Viper (1996), Anaconda (1997), Komodo (1999), King Cobra (1999), Lake Placid (1999), Python (2000), Crocodile (2000), Boa vs. Python (2004), Komodo vs. Cobra (2005) and the fact-based Primeval (2007) all competing for shelf space among the other direct-to-video titles at your local Blockbuster. While Lewis Teague's Alligator (1980) cannot be called the first of this scaly and surprisingly long-legged subgenre (an honor perhaps due The Giant Gila Monster), the consensus is that it is among the best, if not the best giant alligator/crocodile flick ever. Scripted by John Sayles (between his celebrated work on Joe Dante's Piranha and The Howling) and directed by former Roger Corman acolyte Lewis Teague, Alligator is another unapologetic Jaws ripoff that, unlike its fellow copycats, deftly reshuffles its purloined plot points into an energetic, witty and exciting pastiche that gives back much more than it borrows. As if to validate the film industry adage that half of good directing is good casting, Alligator offers up a winning ensemble of veteran performers and fresh-faced newcomers led by Robert Forster. Like Michael Parks, Forster had been groomed during the twilight of the studio system as a successor to Marlon Brando but his career fizzled out with the ascendancy of authentically ethnic performers like Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Forster had acted in Roger Corman's Avalanche (1978), on which Lewis Teague shot second unit. Teague hired Forster for a small role in his directing debut, the Depression era crime story The Lady in Red (1979) and the actor was at the top of his list to headline Alligator. Recovering from a bout of spinal meningitis at the time, an emaciated Forster brings his trademark self deprecating machismo to the role and is the film's true capital asset, never playing above the material but spitting out sidereal wisecracks that elevate rather than undermine the silly goings-on. Supporting Forster is the appealing Robin Riker (a herpetologist love interest in the Faith Domergue mode), Michael V. Gazzo (a playwright who made a late life transition to character parts, mostly as gangsters), comic Jack Carter and Academy Award® winner Dean Jagger. Adding an extra layer of Psychotronica is the casting of cult performers Sue Lyon (Lolita), Angel Tompkins (Prime Cut) and Henry Silva, whose assignments in those days were mostly in other countries (the Canadian Shoot, the Australian Thirst and the Italo-cop films The Boss and Almost Human), who seems to be having a lot of fun poking fun at his tough guy image, especially in a scene in which he stumbles upon a pile of alligator spore. Shot for around $150,000, Alligator occasionally looks ruinously cheap (the big city SWAT team is clad in mechanic's overalls) but otherwise is a model of economy and misdirection. Teague and Sayles dispatch a couple of characters (Silva's big game hunter and Bart Braverman's tabloid snoop) who seem etched to become major players in the drama, while showing a refreshing disregard for sentimentality by having the title creature chow down on children and French maids as readily as it does politicians and lawbreakers. Small living alligators photographed on miniature sets were alternated with an oversized mechanical gator head with the effects ultimately being respectable if not entirely believable. More important than verisimilitude, however, is the abiding sense of fun, with the comedy invigorating the suspense rather than diluting it. The winning combination of satire and salable exploitation elements struck a nerve with critics (Vincent Canby was a fan) and fans – ABC scored when it broadcast Alligator on network television in the early 80s. In a roundtable interview conducted in support of the release of Grindhouse (2007), Quentin Tarantino admitted to Lewis Teague that he chose Robert Forster to star in his 1997 film Jackie Brown on the strength of his lead performance in Alligator. Never before available on DVD in America, Alligator has been given a deluxe digital debut by Lionsgate. Although the remastered transfer has not been tagged for progressive scan, the letterboxed image (1.78:1) is anamorphically enhanced. While mild grain is appreciable, the feature looks quite good and appropriate for its vintage. The film's soundtrack has been given a 5.1 Dolby upgrade, although the original monaural mix is also available. English and Spanish subtitles are optional. An audio commentary featuring Lewis Teague and Robert Forster dates back to an earlier Region 2 disc. As on the recent Cujo (1983) DVD, Teague proves himself to be a somewhat dull historian, although Forster's reflections and reactions are appropriately wry and commentary moderator Del Howison (actor and proprietor of Burbank, California's Dark Delicacies bookstore) keeps the conversation flowing. It's a special treat to hear from John Sayles, now an acclaimed filmmaker of Serious Cinema, who is the subject of the 17-minute featurette Animal Author, in which he recounts how he came to the project and altered the original scenario by Frank Ray Perilli. The film's original theatrical trailer is also included (too bad alternate scenes filmed for Alligator's ABC broadcast are not available as bonuses). Lionsgate's packaging is first rate (if a bit too similar to too many DTV stinkers) and the disc offers previews of the aforementioned Komodo vs. Cobra as well as Man-Thing (2005) and George Miller's Attack of the Sabretooth (2005). For more information about Alligator, visit Lionsgate. To order Alligator, go to TCM Shopping. by Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1980

Released in United States 1980