Sunday, October 3, 2010


Jaws is recognized as many things: A study in tension, the movie that created the summer blockbuster, and the film that put Steven Spielberg on the map. Watching it at a 35th anniversary screening, I had forgotten how well realized the characters are, how humorous it was in places, and what a meticulously constructed and well made film it is. There is so much more going on in the film then just a small island vacation town dealing with a shark threatening their summer business. One of the things that caught my attention was the use of closeup and how great the actors were cast in the film: Roy Scheider as the weary yet assured Chief Brody.Richard Dreyfuss as the young and intelligent marine biologist who takes offense at the local's insults. And of course Robert Shaw as the hard boiled Irishman who takes the bounty on the Great White. Although the scenes involving the shark are masterful, the best scene comes during a moment in the cabin of The Orca, just after the three men bond and drunkenly sing, "Show Me The Way To Go Home." A tattoo inquiry leads Quint to recount his ordeal on the Indianapolis during World War II. His tale is able to generate as much terror as any of the scenes involving the shark, and is an example of how this is great moviemaking, not just a great suspense blockbuster.