Cleaning Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters (USA, 2021)

With the release of the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife, this documentary explores into the evolution of the original 1984 film from how it began to production on the film with exclusive interviews with cast and crew, including in one of his final appearances, the late Harold Ramis.

It all started with Dan Aykroyd’s grandfather Samuel, who had been extremely fascinated with the supernatural. His family history all involved ghosts and after reading an article in 1981, he decided to create a film about meshing his love of comedy and his family history of their love of ghosts. Together with Harold Ramis, the duo would soon write a script that would evolve into Ghostbusters. While the cast was set in the form of Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis, the film is not without its problems on the set.

First, they had an issue when Filmation, an animation house, sued Columbia Pictures for the title as Filmation had a show in the 1970s called Ghostbusters, which spawned a cartoon version later on. Thankfully, a settlement was imminent and Columbia got to keep the name. In addition, there was issues involving certain scenes of the film having to be reshot or cut out due to various issues. There was also the addition of certain new characters such as Dana Barrett, who ultimately went to Sigourney Weaver and that fact she surprisingly uses comedy that landed her the role. There’s also the role of the “fourth” Ghostbuster, Winston, which was originally not in the earlier drafts but was added to bring a bit of a tough guy in the film and yet, Ernie Hudson fit right in with the team.

There are also shades of some issues cast members had with Bill Murray’s use of improvisation as they felt at first, it hindered their performances but looking back, it just made the film even better. There is even a first-hand look at some of the legendary creatures of the film as we see early drafts of hos Zuul and the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man are created from pencil and ink to special effects wizardry. There are even interviews with supporting characters such as Steven Tash and Jennifer Runyon’s students and Timothy Carhart’s violinist. This just shows the level of dedication that the actors love about making the film.

Fans who like a documentary about the making of a classic film without having to resort to sugarcoating things will definitely enjoy this one. This could be said to be the definitive documentary companion piece to the classic film. And what better way for it to revisit the film itself after seeing this as the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife becomes a welcome return to the franchise.

Cleaning Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is a very well-made detailed documentary about the 1984 classic, from its evolution of an idea to the premiere. Some great interviews including one of the final appearances of Harold Ramis, will attract fans of the classic film and get them pumped up for Aftermath as well.

WFG RATING: A+

Screen Media Films presents a Bueno Films production. Director:   Producers: Claire Bueno, Anthony Bueno, Dorothy Bueno, and Lily Virginia Goudie. Writers: Anthony Bueno and Claire Bueno. Cinematography: Anthony Bueno.  Editing: Anthony Bueno and Derek Osborn.

Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Ivan Reitman, Joe Medjuck, Richard Edlund, Steven Tash, Jennifer Runyon.

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