Jaws Turns 35

On June 20, 1975, moviegoers collectively changed their attitudes about swimming in the ocean. Jaws also reinvented the summer movie season, and scary movies, overnight. Much like Alfred Hitchcock’s shower scene, this movie made audiences rethink potential sources of Things to Watch Out For. The sophomore effort of one of filmmaking’s living legends, Steven Spielberg, it still ranks as one of the world’s best-loved movies, with a commanding 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

My personal favorite element of this classic flick is the way the shark was represented; yes, I loved the acting performances of each and every human character, but the character of the shark upstaged everyone. And that shark’s name is Bruce. It’s hilarious to note that the name was attached to the mechanical shark(s) in honor of Spielberg’s lawyer, also named Bruce. Check this out, the last of them was recently found in a junkyard.

Here’s some awesome trivia from IMDb:

During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin ScorseseGeorge Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where “Bruce” the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark’s mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they’d done major damage to the creature.

Eat him, Bruce!

(Photo: bytehead)

Editing is key, though. With a severely effective assist from the music. Jaws was Verna Fields’ last movie as an editor, and it is her best work. Spielberg came close to shutting down the whole project when he realized the fake shark just looked stupid, but it was Verna who calmly told him she could make it look real through wide shots, floating barrels, and the use of very selective, short shots. Let the viewers fill in the gaps with their imaginations, and they will believe in a monster from the deep.

As Spielberg says in this interview, “Had the shark been working, perhaps the film would have made half the money, and been half as scary.”

(YouTube Link)

Some still shots from a classic, courtesy Universal.

About these ads

5 Responses to Jaws Turns 35

  1. What a lovely weblog page. I will surely be back once again. Please maintain writing!

  2. Eleanor says:

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4
    year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never
    wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  3. Thise are several absolutely excellent cases you’ve made.
    Happy Ilocaated your article. Hopefully employing this at my
    website might help mme out. Thanks a lots

  4. stilettos says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

  5. Buenas tardes Ojeo tu sitio casi frecuentemente y tengo otro de temática parecida.

    Deseaba felicitarte por la entrada y el blog en concreto, son magníficos y una
    tremenda fuente de sabiduría :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: