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Tag Archives: Steven Spielberg

JAWS 40th Anniversary on the Big Screen June 21 and June 24

To celebrate the 40 anniversary of JAWS, TCM is presenting two days of special screenings of JAWS at your local theater!

jaws_poster

On June 21 and June 24 ONLY, JAWS will have showings at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM at local theaters across the USA. Look up your theater and pre-order your tickets today:

http://www.fandango.com/tcmpresentsjaws40thanniversary_184218/movieoverview

JAWS in 30 Seconds by the Cast

Very Rare JAWS Interviews from 1974 – Benchley Interviews Spielberg and Shaw

 

Recently released by Peter Benchley’s widow Wendy on the new PeterBenchley.com website, this RARE video features Peter interviewing JAWS producers David Brown and Richard Zanuck, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Shaw.  Shaw is wearing a yellow JAWS t-shirt for his interview, backed by 70s porn music.

The “Raiders” Story Conference

In 1978, fresh off the success of JAWS and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg sat down with George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan for a four day “story conference” about what Raiders of the Lost Ark was going to be.  It’s a fascinating read, considering the massive success that Raiders was to become.

I found out about this amazing document from this blog:
Mystery Man on Film: Raiders Story Conference. In the blog post, the author summarizes some of the more interesting aspects of the PDF, so check out the blog post first.

The full 127-page(!) PDF of the story conference transcript can be found here:  Raiders Story Conference Transcript – January 1978, so grab it quick before it disappears from the interwebs forever…

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

JAWS in American Cinematographer – July 1975

Here’s an article that appeared in the July 1975 issue of American Cinematographer magazine, entitled, “Making it in Film”:

Another Project for Spielberg

via Empireonline.com’s Glen Ferris
Imagine a cross between ET: The Extra Terrestrial and Robert De Niro’s Hide And Seek and you’ve pretty much got a grasp on the latest project to grab Steven Spielberg’s attention.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Beard is planning to adapt Chocky, based on the novel by Brit writer John Wyndham and the beloved 80’s TV show, through the newly independent Dreamworks.
The tale of a father who becomes concerned that his son’s imaginary friend is becoming something of a problem and his subsequent discovery that said invisible buddy is actually a benign visitor from another world sounds like prime material for Spielberg.

The word is that Spielberg is keen to direct the kiddies’ novel but first he has to get Tintin and his Liam Neeson-starring Lincoln biopic in the bag. We will, of course, bring you all the latest developments as they unfold.

Jaws, Raiders Among Empire’s Top 500

Several Spielberg films made Empire Magazine’s Top 500 films of all time.  The list was compiled from numerous film critics, film makers, and film fans from across the country sending in there top 10 favorite film titles.  Though some were questionable, such as how The Thin Red Line could be so far up ahead of Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, others were dead on.  Two of Spielberg’s films made the top 5, with Jaws placing fifth and Raiders of the Lost Ark placing 2nd, beaten only by his friend Francis Ford Copolla’s The Godfather, which was a no-brainer.

Other Spielberg films to make the list included all three Indiana Jones sequels, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, and ET.  Other Spielberg-produced films made the list, including the first two Back to the Future films, Men in Black, and Gremlins.

Full Story at Empireonline

Spielberg released from Dreamworks

Paramount officially released Steven Spielberg and other DreamWorks executives from their contracts on Friday even as reports circulated that the studio had offered to finance Spielberg’s Tintin, a movie that Universal had deemed too costly to produce and distribute. Commented Daily Variety: “The move served as a reminder to the departing Spielberg that the new DreamWorks will still be dependent on studio largesse when it comes to financing big-budget tentpoles.” On Friday DreamWorks also announced that it had finalized a deal reportedly worth $500 million with India’s Reliance in order to restart as an independent studio again. (According to reports, it will continue to be called DreamWorks.) It reportedly plans to borrow an additional $700 million.

Spielberg’s DreamWorks Seeking New Backing?

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG

Late last month, DreamWorks, the boutique movie studio that Mr. Spielberg co-founded in 1994, let it be known that it had found a way to exit its unhappy three-year marriage with Paramount Pictures. Reliance ADA Group, a Mumbai conglomerate, was nearing a deal to give the dream workers $550 million to form a new movie company.

That Mr. Spielberg and his business partner David Geffen had found an investor wasn’t surprising. Mr. Spielberg is a superstar. DreamWorks had made it clear for months — via public comments and private grousing fed into the Hollywood grapevine — that they hated being part of Paramount and were going elsewhere as soon as it was contractually allowed.

But there was still an element of shock: Hollywood could not come up with a rich enough deal for Mr. Spielberg, the most bankable director in the business and a “national treasure”? His last movie alone, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” has sold $743 million in tickets and is still playing in theaters around the world.

For that matter, there wasn’t anybody on Wall Street willing to write a blank check for the guy with “Jaws” and “Jurassic Park” on his résumé?

Read the full story on The New York Times site.

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