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JAWS | JAWSmovie.com - Part 2

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Amity or Bust (video)

This video about JAWSFest was created by Joe Fordham of Cinefex Magazine. We interviewed him for The Shark is Still Working.

Amity or Bust from Flashfilms on Vimeo.

Star in your own JAWS Spoof! – JOWLS by JibJab

Funny video makers JibJab have created a very funny short parody of JAWS called JOWLS. You can substitute the heads of Brody, Quint, and Hooper with your own photos. Try it out and post yours in the comments below!

JAWS Event/Screening April 30th with Carl Gottlieb

On Thursday, April 30th, Jaws Screenwriter Carl Gottlieb will add his hand prints to the cement of the
historic Vista Theater in Los Angeles prior to a 9:30 special screening of Jaws.

 

See Steven Spielberg’s classic “Jaws” on the big screen at the Los Angeles
United Film Festival
and witness how movie making was forever changed. It’ll prepare you for The Shark is Still Working uncovering the
impact and legacy of Jaws. Movie introduction by special guests. Tickets
for Thursday, April 30th’s showing are on sale for $5. (35mm print)

 

The Los Angeles United Film Festival is excited to announce that both the 9:45pm World Premiere and Midnight Encore screenings
of “The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws” are SOLD OUT.
Purchase tickets for the newly added Sunday morning, 10:00am Encore screening.
In attendance for the Saturday screenings will be the Jaws Screenwriter, Carl Gottlieb and Production Designer, Joe Alves.
Plus Legendary Makeup Effects Artist, Gregory Nicotero will be bringing a Jaws shark head like the one shown at JAWSFest.

Movie Minutiae: Jaws (1975)

Daa na. Daa na. Daa na…

Jaws was perhaps best known for its successful attempt to scare the living wits out of all cinema goers at the time, as well as its suspenseful, terror-inspiring theme song. We should thank tuba player Tommy Johnson for that one.

The 1975 film directed by a then-fresh-faced 28-year-old, Steven Spielberg, is nothing short of a classic.

The massive creature headlining the film had two other names by Spielberg – Bruce (after his lawyer) and “the great white turd” (when frustration mounted during production). Not quite as terrifying.

Apparently, the mechanical sharks, at $US250,000 a piece, had a penchant for breaking down. Because they were out of operation for some of the shots (there were three sharks), Spielberg improvised by using the camera as the shark’s point of view. In fact, that may have saved the film from the cheesy fake shark for more of the film.

Well, something must have worked. Jaws, a summer blockbuster that year, became the highest grossing film of all time in the States. Star Wars topped it in 1977.

Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where the movie was filmed, did experience an increase in tourists following the film’s release. However, other seaside resorts did not fare so well that year. Overall, the holiday industry suffered as a result.

The movie undoubtedly rattled a few people. So how scary did Spielberg think Jaws was? Too much for a 13-year-old?

In an interview with Vanity Fair in 2008, Spielberg explains the dilemma of deciding when the time’s right for his own kids to enjoy some of his scarier work.

“I haven’t shown Jaws to my 10 or 11-year-old, and I won’t. I showed Jaws to Sawyer when he was, I think, 13. Because then they use the argument, ‘Dad, I was bar mitzvahed last week. Everybody said today I’m a man, and you still won’t let me see Jaws?’ Sometimes the kids outsmart me.”

Source: Articulate.

JAWS – Spielberg’s First Masterpiece

I found this interesting take on JAWS over at TrashCinemaClub.com. More praise for our favorite film — aside from the badmouthing of Quint, that is …

TRASH CINEMA ESSENTIAL MOVIE

Only his second feature film, Jaws cemented Steven Spielberg’s status as a great director in my mind. Jaws was also the first modern blockbuster, which helped to usher in the dreadful three-month wasteland of mindless action pictures and comedies known as the summer season, but I won’t hold that against it.

Jaws is thought of as a simple popcorn flick, but it’s much more than that. It has elements of horror, action/adventure, character-based drama, and political commentary. Jaws is a very rich film with a very simple premise.

A Great White shark has a midnight snack off the shores of Amity Island right before the summer tourist season. Police Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) concludes that a shark is loose and wants to close the beaches. He gets some opposition from Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), who’s primary concern is the local tourist economy. Eventually, the town hires local fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) to hunt down the shark. Brody and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) tag along.

Spielberg demonstrates his filmmaking mastery right off the bat with a late night party on the beach. He captures the spirit of the teen gathering in a way that doesn’t talk down to young people. This is important because we need to see the first victim as a flesh and blood human being, not merely a shark snack. The way the attack is filmed is bloodcurdling. Spielberg taps into the atavistic fear of what is unseen under the water by filming at water level. The performance of the young actress Susan Backlinie as the victim is fantastic and heartbreaking.

Back then, Spielberg’s mastery extended to character scenes as well. He economically sketches Chief Brody’s relationship with his wife and sons. Roy Scheider’s Brody comes off as a fully formed character. He’s sensitive, brave, self-doubting, righteous, and with a touch of wry humor. He’s a great hero, much more compelling than the usual monosyllabic slab of bulletproof machismo we’re accustomed to.

Oceanographer Matt Hooper shows up when he hears about the shark attacks, purely out of professional curiosity. Richard Dreyfuss makes him into a wonderful character. Hooper is brainy, combative, and has a sense of humor.

In fact, there is a lot of humor in Jaws. There are hilarious false alarms, mini-parodies of macho chest-beating, and swipes at the dopiness of human greed. Spielberg uses this humor not only to entertain us but to lull us into a false complacency before scaring the crap out of us yet again. He plays the audience like a Stradivarius.

The only character that’s problematic to a certain degree is Quint, the Great White shark hunter. Robert Shaw famously thought that the script for Jaws was a piece of #&*^ and it shows. Shaw condescends to the character and so Quint comes off as being corny. His portrayal doesn’t ruin Jaws, but it’s too bad Spielberg couldn’t get Lee Marvin, who was his first choice for Quint and probably would have played the role straight.

Murray Hamilton is wonderful as the smarmy mayor who wants to keep the beaches open. Hamilton was so effective that he became typecast in the role of the corrupt government bureaucrat who wants to preserve the status quo.

But as good as the dramatic and comedic elements are, the most impressive aspect of Jaws is Spielberg’s filmmaking prowess. Here’s a small example. In one scene, Brody is sitting in a lawn chair on the beach, trying to keep an eye on the water. Someone is talking to him. Spielberg uses a special lens with two magnifications on it, with the dividing line obscured by the waterline in the shot. The kid in the water that Brody is watching is magnified, mimicking Brody’s subjective reality. It’s just brilliant. And there’s examples like that all through the film.

The mechanical shark that Spielberg used on Jaws didn’t work most of the time, but Spielberg turns this to his advantage. He shows the shark very sparingly, which works out well because of the nature of man’s natural fear of sharks, part of which is you can’t see them most of the time because they are below the water. There’s one reveal of the shark which is just priceless, accompanied by a line, ad-libbed by Roy Scheider, which has made it into the popular consciousness — “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Finally, I should mention composer John Williams famous score. When Williams first played the dum-dum…dum-dum theme for Spielberg on piano, Spielberg thought he was joking because the theme was so primitive. But that’s the point, isn’t it? The score is terrific and tragically one of the last great scores Williams would write. Basically, his theme for Star Wars would ruin him. After that, directors just wanted him to regurgitate variations of the same heroic claptrap, over and over again.

It would be hard to overstress how good Jaws is. The reason that it was critically undervalued at the time is because Spielberg made it look too easy. Jaws goes down as easily as a glass of Sangria. It’s so entertaining that it’s easy to miss how profoundly accomplished the filmmaking is. Jaws succeeds on every possible level and remains one of Spielberg’s very best films.

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The Indispensibles #2 – JAWS

The first time I heard about Jaws, or at least what I thought was Jaws, was in the playground at school. I was ten. Someone in the year above me was telling me it was the “scariest film ever”. They went on to describe to me how a shark terrorised a group of stranded teenagers whose boats had run aground and then went on to eat an entire helicopter.  I couldn’t compute that this “horror” film about a helicopter-eating shark was by the same guy who made E.T The Extra Terrestrial, my then favourite film of all time!  I begged my parents to hunt it out and show it to me! I cried for like a week (well, maybe ten minutes) when they refused on the grounds that a) I was ten and too young to be watching people getting eaten by sharks and b) my sister had a devastatingly annoying fear of sharks and I was only allowed to watch films we would both enjoy – with that in mind, how I ended up sitting through Adventures in Babysitting and Dirty Dancing, I do not know.

Thanks to a friend’s irresponsible parents though, I soon found myself sitting down to watch a copy of this much touted “horror” film one rainy Saturday afternoon.  My ten year old mind walked away from my first ever viewing of the film somewhat disappointed to find out that it was in fact Jaws 2 that held the delights of helicopters getting eaten by sharks, teenagers getting munched from their stranded sailboats and so on and so forth.  Damn that irresponsibly inaccurate playground blabbermouth!  As a schlocky piece of horror for a pre-teen frame of mind, Jaws is disappointingly bloodless for the majority of its running time.  However, it is indeed a film that you grow into loving with age. Ten year olds are not meant to be impressed by Quint’s ‘Indianapolis’ monologue or the now famous reverse zoom shot of Brody on the beach, spotting what he thinks is a shark zoning in on swimming tourists.  With time comes a mature understanding of those long boat-bound scenes between three great character actors, an appreciation for the setting up of an action sequence as opposed to the actual sequence itself and a true love of John Williams’ superb score (one of the greatest of all time!), outside of that infamous three-note signature piece.

So how did this three-men-versus-a-giant-rubber-shark movie come to be held in such high regard by a man, who two decades earlier bemoaned that it was “not as good as BMX Bandits”? To explain that I have to take you back, unfortunately for tangent-haters, to 1974.

Now, you need to bear with me on this because the history of the making of Jaws and how it came to be is just as famous as the film itself. It’s also one that pretty much everyone knows about. So why am I detailing? Because, it’s just so much f$cking fun for a fan to write about it!

Spielberg, the now legendary director, had seen the early proof-reads of Peter Benchley’s bestseller on the desk of producer David Brown and had asked what it was about, naively believing at first – thanks to the mocked-up cover of a bikini-clad babe splashing around in the ocean (no shark in sight) – that it was about a “pornographic dentist” (I kid you not!).  Brown explained the concept to him in a manner that can only be described as the absolute opposite of ‘high art’.  “It’s about a shark that eats people!” Yet it was so much more than that. Well, actually maybe the book itself wasn’t (it isn’t, believe me!) but the eventual film would indeed be – and then some:

Amity Island, on the East Coast of America, is plagued by attacks on swimmers by a twenty-eight foot great white shark. Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) would like to keep the whole thing quiet so that the all important tourist season – and the money that rolls in from it – remains unaffected but Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) disagrees. Soon the brutal attacks get to the stage where the shark cannot be ignored and Brody, despite his general hatred of the water, teams up with Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), a marine biologist, and a mysterious old sea salt of a shark hunter called Quint (Robert Shaw) to go catch the shark and stop its feeding frenzy once and for all. However, once out in the middle of the ocean the hunters become the hunted…

Read the rest of the article here:  The Indispensibles #2 – JAWS

Quint Caricature

I found a nice caricature of Quint as he sat in front of the Amity town council. Evidently it was published in the April 2008 issue of Paracinema magazine. The artist of the sketch is Dan Springer.

More info here:

Caricature King: Quint


100 Greatest Movie Lines – JAWS is only #41?

Premiere Magazine just put out its list of the 100 Greatest Movie Lines. It’s no surprise that a line from our beloved JAWS was in the list, but only at #41?!?! This is a travesty! Well, at least they said “You’re” instead of “We’re”.

41. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” — Brody (Roy Scheider) in Jaws (1975)

Check out the full list here:

Premiere: 100 Greatest Movie Lines

Agree, disagree with their choices?  Post any glaring omissions in the comments.  Personally, I think a line from the The Big Lebowski (1998) should have been in the list:  “Nobody f*cks with the Jesus!

Marshmallow Peeps JAWS

Cool JAWS T-Shirt

Check out this cool JAWS t-shirt available from Crazy Dog T-Shirts. A fine addition to your JAWS collection:

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