Jaws (1975) Revisit ft. S.A. Bradley
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Original Episode: #39 Jaws (1975) (released October 28, 2020)
New Episode: #76 Jaws (1975) Revisit (released August 4, 2021)
Guest: S.A. Bradley is the host of the 4-time Rondo Award-nominated podcast, "Hellbent for Horror", which explores all things horror across books, film, comics, and music. The podcast was described by director Guillermo Del Toro as "well researched, articulate and entirely absorbing." Bradley is the author of the Rondo-nominated book, "Screaming for Pleasure: How Horror Makes You Happy and Healthy”. He has lectured at Webster University and The College of Idaho and performed his live show, “My Horror Manifesto” in NYC and various horror conventions across the USA.
Plot Summary: In the beach town of Amity on Long Island, a series of sharks attacks pit the town leaders against one another between keeping the beaches open for tourism against public safety. After a third attack, Martin Brody, the town police chief (Roy Scheider), gets approval to hire a local professional shark fisherman, Quint (Robert Shaw) to hunt the infamous shark. Brody, Quint, and Matt Hooper, a shark expert from the Oceanic Institute (Richard Dreyfuss) there to give assistance, sail out on Quint’s boat to catch the shark. After a long hunt and chase, each character faces his potential demise at the mouth of the shark. Whether man or beast prevails is anyone’s guess.
Nominated for Best Picture
Won for Best Film Editing, Original Score, and Best Sound
It was number 48 on American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies, a list of the greatest American films of all time compiled in 1998; it dropped to number 56 on the 10-Year Anniversary list.
AFI also ranked the shark at number 18 on its list of the 50 Best Villains
Roy Scheider's line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" 35th on a list of top 100 movie quotes, Williams's score at sixth on a list of 100 Years of Film Scores, and the film as second on a list of 100 most thrilling films, behind only Psycho.
In 2001, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In 2003, The New York Times included the film on its list of the best 1,000 movies ever made. The following year, Jaws placed at the top of the Bravo network's five-hour miniseries The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. The Chicago Film Critics Association named it the sixth-scariest film ever made in 2006.
In 2008, Jaws was ranked the fifth-greatest film in history by Empire magazine, which also placed Quint at number 50 on its list of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. The film has been cited in many other lists of 50 and 100 greatest films, including ones compiled by Leonard Maltin, Entertainment Weekly, Film4, Rolling Stone, Total Film, TV Guide, and Vanity Fair.
Did You Know?:
Over 67 million people in the U.S. went to see this film when it was initially released in 1975, making it the first summer "blockbuster."
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.
Composer John Williams conducted the orchestra during the 1976 Academy Awards, so when it was announced that he won the Oscar for Best Score, he had to run up to the podium to accept his Oscar and then run back to continue conducting the orchestra.
According to writer Carl Gottlieb, the line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" was not scripted, but was ad-libbed by Roy Scheider.
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.
Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss could not stand each other and the two argued all the time, which resulted in some good tension between Hooper and Quint.
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.
According to director Steven Spielberg in the DVD "making of" documentary, his original idea for introducing Quint was to have him in the local movie theater watching Moby Dick (1956) starring Gregory Peck. Quint was to be sitting at the back of the theater, laughing so loudly at the absurd special effects of the whale that he drove the other viewers to exit the theater. Eventually, Quint would be discovered sitting by himself. Spielberg says that the only thing that stopped him from doing that scene was Gregory Peck, who held part of the rights to that movie. When Spielberg approached him for permission to use the footage, Peck turned him down, not because he thought it was a bad idea to use the film that way, but because Peck did not like his performance in Moby Dick (1956) and did not want the film seen again.
Several decades after the film's release, 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.
Director Steven Spielberg named the shark "Bruce" after his lawyer.
During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George 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 snuck 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 had done major damage to the creature.
Original Legacy Score: 10
New Legacy Score: 10
Original Impact/Significance Score: 9.75
New Impact/Significance Score: 10
Original Novelty Score: 9
New Novelty Score: 9.58
Original Classicness Score: 8.25
New Classicness Score: 9.5
Original Rewatchability Score: 6
New Rewatchability Score: 8.17
Original Audience Score: 9 (90% RT)
New Audience Score: 8.9 (88% Google, 90% RT)
Original Total Score: 52
New Total Score: 56.15
Ray McBride, 69, Irish actor (Into the West, Pete's Meteor, Angela's Ashes) and dancer.
Rick Aiello, 65, American actor (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Do the Right Thing, The Sopranos), pancreatic cancer.
Jackie Mason, 93, American comedian and actor (The Simpsons, The Jerk, Caddyshack II), Emmy winner (1988, 1992)
Mike Mitchell, 65, Scottish actor (Gladiator, Braveheart) and bodybuilder.