Movie: Jaws (1975)

In the movie The Holiday, Jack Black has a line where he says: “BA-BAM! Two notes and you’ve got a villain. I don’t know what to say about it. Totally brill.”  Totally agree.

Those two notes struck fear into movie goers across the country. And to release during the summer months as people were making their way to the ocean for vacation!  I saw this movie at the old King Theater in Oak Hill, WV (LONG since torn down).  I went with my Sister.  We sat on the right side of the theater.  I always sat on the right side of the theater because of being deaf in my left ear, that put me in the perfect place to capture the sound between the speakers on the wall and my right ear.  It is my version of surround sound.  And those two notes! OMFG!!

There have been times that I have looked back on a movie from my youth and thought “That was an amazing movie.” only to watch it as an adult and be sorely disappointed.  So, I thought – this is going to be one of those instances.  I was wrong.  I still loved it.  There were some optimum cheesy moments and also times where I am fully aware that the CGI of modern times is realized in comparison to this era. But overall I loved it (much to the chagrin of Husband who occasionally bemoaned the stupidity of a few of the actions on the boat).

As a kid I always thought that there were two “villains” in this movie: the shark (obvs) and the mayor.  The man put money before safety.  Rewatching, I still feel the same way. At least the shark was doing what it felt was natural.  Does that make the mayor the worst of the two?

There is one scene where an old dude comes up to the chief at the beach. Old dude with manboobs.  He has a swimming cap on.  Chief looks at him and says: “That’s some bad hat Harry.” Almost 20 years after the movie, a production company took inspiration from that line to name their company, “Bad Hat Harry Productions”.  You might recognize the line and their cartoon logo from the end of such productions as the TV show “House”.


And, who could forget that famous line:

If you read the book, there is a page to screen documentary out there:

I love Dreyfus, he is an easy crier:

This speech is delivered in such a remarkable way:

IMDB Synopsis: A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.



Additional Movie Info:

It received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 97% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 90% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.5/5 with a number of User Ratings: 942,949.

Movie Reviews:

Specs:  Release date: 20 June 1975 (USA) / Runtime: 124 minutes / Budget: $8M

IMDB Trivia:

  • Several decades after the release of Jaws (1975), Lee Fierro, who played Mrs. Kintner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an “Alex Kintner Sandwich.” She commented that she had played his mother so many years ago; the owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her, and he was none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They had not seen each other since the original movie shoot.
  • When composer John Williams originally played the score for director Steven Spielberg, Spielberg laughed and said, “That’s funny, John, really; but what did you really have in mind for the theme of Jaws (1975)?” Spielberg later stated that without Williams’s score, the movie would only have been half as successful and according to Williams, it jumpstarted his career.
  • According to director Steven Spielberg, the prop arm looked too fake in the scene where Chrissie’s remains are discovered, so instead, they buried a female crew member in the sand with only her arm exposed.
  • Director Steven Spielberg named the shark “Bruce” after his lawyer.
  • Though respected as an actor, Robert Shaw‘s trouble with alcohol was a frequent source of tension during filming. In later interviews, Roy Scheider described his co-star as “a perfect gentleman whenever he was sober. All he needed was one drink and then he turned into a competitive son-of-a-bitch.” According to Carl Gottlieb‘s book “The Jaws Log,” Shaw was having a drink between takes, at which one point he announced, “I wish I could quit drinking.” Much to the surprise and horror of the crew, Richard Dreyfuss simply grabbed Shaw’s glass and tossed it into the ocean. When it came time to shoot the infamous USS Indianapolis Scene, Shaw attempted to do the monologue while intoxicated as it called for the men to be drinking late at night. Nothing in the take could be used. A remorseful Shaw called Steven Spielberg late that night and asked if he could have another try. The next day of shooting, Shaw’s electrifying performance was done in one take.
  • Three mechanical “Bruces” were made, each with specialized functions. One shark was open on the right side, one was open on the left side, and the third was fully skinned. Each shark cost approximately $250,000.
  • An accident during filming caused the Orca to begin sinking. Director Steven Spielberg began screaming over a bullhorn for the nearby safety boats to rescue the actors. John R. Carter, already up to his knees in water on the sinking Orca, held his Nagra (tape recorder) up over his head and screamed, “F**k the actors, save the sound department!” During the accident, the film camera was submerged, so its film, still submerged in sea water, was assumed to be ruined. However, once it was realized that developing solution is saline, the film was flown to a New York film lab, and technicians didn’t lose any of it. The accident is described starting at 01:30:07 in “The Making of Jaws” on the 30th Anniversary edition DVD.
  • Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was used as Amity Island primarily because even twelve miles out to sea, the sandy bottom was only thirty feet down, allowing the mechanical shark to function. Residents were paid $64 to scream and run across the beach as extras.
  • The first shark killed on the docks, which is supposed to be the “man-eater” in the movie, was actually a real shark killed in Florida since there was not a big enough one in Martha’s Vineyard. According to Carl Gottlieb’s “The Jaws Log,” by the time it had been shipped to the set and prepared for filming, it was starting to decompose quite badly and the smell was appalling. As it was hung from its tail, its internal organs broke loose and piled up in the back of its throat, adding to the discomfort of those forced to work in close proximity to it.

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