• Ken Silvers

"Jaws" Revisited


The classic film "Jaws" is considered by film historians to be the first summer blockbuster in the history of cinema. Translation: sold out showings, massive merchandising, uber fans and sequels. The film was based on the 1974 Peter Benchely novel of the same name, and hit theatres in the summer of 1975. I was one of the many curious and excited fans who saw the movie that summer, which is quite amazing since I am only 30 (LOL!). The impact of this film on Hollywood was amazing, and summer became the time when "event" movies became as much a part of summer as did vacations, as "Star Wars" was soon to follow. So it was with much excitement that I learned the film was being re-released to theaters in the 3D format. I was able to attend the film with some friends one of whom had never seen the film on the big screen, and one who had never SEEN it before. Needless to say, one friend loved the big screen experience and the other really enjoyed the film in general. Of course most of us know the movie follows Amity Island police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) as he attempts to prepare the island for the invading tourists coming to celebrate the 4th of July. Of course something else is invading the island after a girl is attacked while swimming one night while attending a beach party. When Brody discovers the remains of the unfortunate swimmer, he realizes the beach must be closed, but is met with strong resistance by local business owners and the town's unscruplious mayor. In a moment of utter stupidity the mayor attempts to convince Brody and the coroner the girl was killed in a boating accident. Brody is still extremely worried and frightened for the vacationers, and his concerns come to fruition when a boy is attacked and killed in the view of a crowded beach. This leads to a bounty being placed on the shark, and the first appearance of professional shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw). Also showing up to investigate is marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), who often clashes with Quint. The local fishermen and other reckless men set out to sea in an attempt to catch the shark for the huge bounty. When one fisherman catches a tiger shark, the locals feel the killer shark is now dead. Not so fast. After Brody and Hooper find another corpse that has been attacked by a shark, their attempts to close the beaches fail again thanks to the stubborn mayor. After another shark attack, this time in a lagoon, the mayor finally agreed to hire Quint to track down the shark, and he is joined by Hooper and Brody. Their adventures aboard a small boat are exciting and feature the classic line "we're going to need a bigger boat" after seeing the great white shark for the first time. This was director Steven Spielberg's second feature film, and he nearly backed out of the project, and movie fans everywhere should be grateful he did not, as we probably wouldn't have the classic film loved by so many. One of the best aspects of the film, is how Speilberg decided to film from the sharks pov, due to issues with the mechanical shark used in the film. This technique actually made the shark seem even more terrifying, an unseen danger. The film has the ever familiar soundtrack composed by John Williams, who would create so many famous film soundtracks in the coming years, and who early in his career is credited as Johnny Willimas for composing the themes for the 1960's television show "Lost in Space". Many fans may not realize actor Richard Dreyfuss stated the following: "We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark". The aforementioned is quite shocking considering how this film became a classic of American cinema. If there is ever another opportunity to see "Jaws" on the big screen and in 3D, run to the theater, and you will feel like you are in the water and in the middle of cinema history. (Rated PG)