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JAWS on the big screen


traceyk65
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Saw JAWS on the big screen today-- a new experience for me. I've only seen it on TV--I was 10 when it came out and there was no way my parents would have let me see it (though I did sneak the book off my friend's mom's bookshelf and read it one weekend.) I have to say the giant mechanical shark wasn't too fake looking--I was afraid that seeing it 30 feet high would show up all the mistakes. I don;t know if that's becasue the model was that good or due to Spielberg's camera work. I do have a new appreciation for the way he avoided showing the shark, yet still made the movie suspenseful by giving us a "shark's-eye view" for most of the attacks. It's always fun to watch these films on a full-sized screen with a room full of people who appreciate them.

 

 

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Spielberg had mentioned how many problems he had with that shark and how, in the final production, this actually made the film more suspenseful. Not being able to use the working shark as much as he initially planned, he had to create other ways, as you mentioned, to make it's presence known. These techniques, along with the misic score, contributed a great deal to the suspense. What an accidental bonus!

 

Did you happen to see the newly restored film?

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I went to go see JAWS at my local theater last Sunday- I am a JAWS FREAK, have seen the original and sequels more times than any sane person ever should, but had never seen the 1975 film on the big screen (wasn't old enough when it or JAWS 2 came out.)

 

The picture was good, but the sound was excellent- there were lines of dialogue I've never caught or heard fully before that I got this time, such as Scheider referring to Dreyfuss's hairy chest during the "scar competition" scene as "you wearing a sweater?" I was also able to more clearly understand Chrissy's screams of 'HELP ME! HELP ME! OH GOD!"- and she even screams out the name of her companion lying drunk on the beach. And the metallic sound of the empty shark cage being dropped back into the water right before the rushing sound of the shark and shot of it underwater as it leaps onto the transom of the Orca was just GREAT. I could also hear Quint howling with laughter (I had never before heard this) during the scene where the Tiger Shark is strung up and mistaken as the killer.

 

There were of course also visual details I had missed, such as the fact that numerous people are smoking joints in the first scene of the party that Chrissy and her friend abandon to go for a swim. The piercing Blue of Robert Shaw's eyes really stuck out to me as well, also some of the details of Martha's Vinyard (and the mayor is SMOKING in the hospital following the July 4 attack scene.)...Oh, and I had never noticed before that it Pippet's owner can be seen helping the children out of the water immediately after the attack on Alex Kintner. I was also able to see how good an actor the guy who played the town doctor was- his body language in the scene where Hooper berates him after examining the remains of Chrissie ("this was NOT A BOATING ACCIDENT!") was great- he tells a whole story in his body language that saves Speilberg having to give us a scene where he is pressured by the town officials to cover up his "shark attack" diagnosis. I also noticed the detail on Chrissie's dismemebered arm I never had before (it's a shot often edited out for TV)

 

Having seen the film- Honest to God- a hundred times, there were two things I took away from my first big screen viewing of it:

 

1. It's got a talky first half. Too talky, and a little too action light. Mind you, I think the film is genius, and Speilberg still manages to give us just enough "scary" scenes (ie the two idiot fishermen who try to catch the shark using one's holiday roast) to keep us going- but I wish he could have given us just one bigger thrill in the first hour or so (originally there was an idea to have a lobsterman named Elton killed by the shark, I've seen the storyboards of the idea and it was good); Spielberg also wanted to have a scene where the Harbor Master has his arm bitten off rinsing out a coffee pot. Neither was filmed. It is also in this first half that there are a lot of story inconsistencies: (if the shark is a "night feeder" why does he attack Kintner and the estuary victim in broad day?/ is the fact that Ben Gardner's boat has GIANT BITE MARKS and his severed head NOT ENOUGH to prove there is still a shark? Where the hell did Hooper's fancy boat come from and why is he seen arriving by dinghy in his first scene?))

 

2. Robert Shaw is THE man. The reasons JAWS is the movie it is are ROBERT SHAW and THE MUSIC. Without either, it might still be good, but it wouldn't be "up there." Seeing Shaw's steel-blue eyes five feet wide, his face, his charisma- I said before and I say it again: It is one of the ten greatest crimes in all Oscardom that Shaw was not nominated for Supporting Actor for JAWS. He reinvests the film with life in its final 30 minutes and is a breath of salty air in his few scenes before the film goes out to sea.

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Spielberg had mentioned how many problems he had with that shark and how, in the final production, this actually made the film more suspenseful. Not being able to use the working shark as much as he initially planned, he had to create other ways, as you mentioned, to make it's presence known. These techniques, along with the misic score, contributed a great deal to the suspense. What an accidental bonus!
 
Did you happen to see the newly restored film?

 

I think so? I saw it through Fathom Events TCM presents series, so I assume so.

http://www.fathomevents.com/event/jaws-second-showing

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I went to go see JAWS at my local theater last Sunday- I am a JAWS FREAK, have seen the original and sequels more times than any sane person ever should, but had never seen the 1975 film on the big screen (wasn't old enough when it or JAWS 2 came out.)

 

The picture was good, but the sound was excellent- there were lines of dialogue I've never caught or heard fully before that I got this time, such as Scheider referring to Dreyfuss's hairy chest during the "scar competition" scene as "you wearing a sweater?" I was also able to more clearly understand Chrissy's screams of 'HELP ME! HELP ME! OH GOD!"- and she even screams out the name of her companion lying drunk on the beach. And the metallic sound of the empty shark cage being dropped back into the water right before the rushing sound of the shark and shot of it underwater as it leaps onto the transom of the Orca was just GREAT. I could also hear Quint howling with laughter (I had never before heard this) during the scene where the Tiger Shark is strung up and mistaken as the killer.

 

There were of course also visual details I had missed, such as the fact that numerous people are smoking joints in the first scene of the party that Chrissy and her friend abandon to go for a swim. The piercing Blue of Robert Shaw's eyes really stuck out to me as well, also some of the details of Martha's Vinyard (and the mayor is SMOKING in the hospital following the July 4 attack scene.)...Oh, and I had never noticed before that it Pippet's owner can be seen helping the children out of the water immediately after the attack on Alex Kintner. I was also able to see how good an actor the guy who played the town doctor was- his body language in the scene where Hooper berates him after examining the remains of Chrissie ("this was NOT A BOATING ACCIDENT!") was great- he tells a whole story in his body language that saves Speilberg having to give us a scene where he is pressured by the town officials to cover up his "shark attack" diagnosis. I also noticed the detail on Chrissie's dismemebered arm I never had before (it's a shot often edited out for TV)

 

Having seen the film- Honest to God- a hundred times, there were two things I took away from my first big screen viewing of it:

 

1. It's got a talky first half. Too talky, and a little too action light. Mind you, I think the film is genius, and Speilberg still manages to give us just enough "scary" scenes (ie the two idiot fishermen who try to catch the shark using one's holiday roast) to keep us going- but I wish he could have given us just one bigger thrill in the first hour or so (originally there was an idea to have a lobsterman named Elton killed by the shark, I've seen the storyboards of the idea and it was good); Spielberg also wanted to have a scene where the Harbor Master has his arm bitten off rinsing out a coffee pot. Neither was filmed. It is also in this first half that there are a lot of story inconsistencies: (if the shark is a "night feeder" why does he attack Kintner and the estuary victim in broad day?/ is the fact that Ben Gardner's boat has GIANT BITE MARKS and his severed head NOT ENOUGH to prove there is still a shark? Where the hell did Hooper's fancy boat come from and why is he seen arriving by dinghy in his first scene?))

 

2. Robert Shaw is THE man. The reasons JAWS is the movie it is are ROBERT SHAW and THE MUSIC. Without either, it might still be good, but it wouldn't be "up there." Seeing Shaw's steel-blue eyes five feet wide, his face, his charisma- I said before and I say it again: It is one of the ten greatest crimes in all Oscardom that Shaw was not nominated for Supporting Actor for JAWS. He reinvests the film with life in its final 30 minutes and is a breath of salty air in his few scenes before the film goes out to sea.

I know what you mean about seeing all the details--that's one of the best things about seeing these films on the big screen. So much gets lost when the screen is only 2 feet wide! And the theme music is so perfect--the low strings and horns. It's what Neptune's herald would sound like, sounding their conch shells from the briny deep. I can't believe Speilberg didn't like it at first!

 

We did sort of chuckle at the "hunting music"--it seemed kind of jaunty, but maybe Williams was being ironic?

 

RE Gardner's boat--I knew the "scare" with the head was coming and I still jumped!

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I first saw this movie on the big screen.  It DID come out WAY before home video WAS commercially available, after all.  Plus, I guess I AM that old!

 

Saw it after reading the book, which I read before there was ever talk of making it into a movie.  So, I waited for the movie to come out with what SLIP MAHONEY, in a movie, once, in this case fittingly said;   "BAIT BREATH"!  :P

 

I immediately liked that the screen writers excised the "soap opera" elements from the book (like the sheriff's wife having a sexual affair with Hooper, who in the book was described as a "tall young athletically built and tanned" individual.  AND who also gets eaten by the shark!) and concentraed more on the ordeal with the hunting and killing of the shark.  The Williams score was well executed too.

 

 

Sepiatone

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. It's always fun to watch these films on a full-sized screen with a room full of people who appreciate them.

You can say that Again!  I help run our local film society, which has been active for almost 50 years. One of the major reasons it's so popular and often runs to full houses  is because people find it so much more fun watching classic films with an audience of like-minded folks.

 

We're always getting comments from first-time attendees like "I've seen that film many times before and have never enjoyed it so much as tonight." An involved and appreciative audience really does make a difference.

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Just thought to mention this after reading Sepiatone's post . . .

 

     The 1st homevideo release of 'JAWS' was somewhere around 5 years after it's theatrical release.  We know when it debuted in theaters, but I don't know the month it came out on video in '80.

 

     It was released by 'MCA Videocassette, Inc.' in 1980 with catalog #66001.  It has a distinctive-looking box and once you've seen it you'd be able to easily differentiate it from the later MCA video releases of 'JAWS'.   I know MCA released it again on VHS in 1983 and at least 2 more times after that (in '89 and '95).  Not to mention the various DVD releases and the 2012 Blu-Ray edition.  There's no shortage of ways to buy 'JAWS' for one's homevideo collection.         

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We did sort of chuckle at the "hunting music"--it seemed kind of jaunty, but maybe Williams was being ironic?

 

RE Gardner's boat--I knew the "scare" with the head was coming and I still jumped!

 

I think the "hunting music" is GREAT- and apparently John Williams was inspired by a lot of old seafaring movies like CAPTAIN BLOOD and THE SEA HAWK in composing it.

 

My other issue with the Ben Gardner subplot is: that dismembered head they used looks NOTHING LIKE the actor who plays Ben Gardner. The mustache is so thin as to be barely noticeable and he's bald- which is possible, but in the two previous scenes in which we see the character, he is wearing a wool cap over what looks to be a fair amount of hair.

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I went and saw Jaws this past week with a friend of mine who is 35 and had never seen the movie! I don't know how this was possible, but heck I haven't seen Gone With the Wind, so I guess anything's possible when it comes to movie watching.  Anyway, I went with her and it was really fun to watch a movie that I've seen a million times with someone who is seeing it for the first time. 

 

I've mostly seen the TV version, it's been years since I've seen an actual theater version.  I forgot about the nudity in the beginning.  There are so many things that you notice watching a film in a theater that you miss watching it at home.  I believe this is partly due to the size of the image and the quality of the sound, but I believe it is also due to the environment.  At home, while you may have the movie going, you have all the distractions: perusing the internet (like I tend to for some reason), the bathroom, making food, other people who aren't watching the movie, etc. In the theater however, you're basically there to watch the movie.  There aren't any other distractions (unless a fellow theater patron is being annoying). 

 

It was so much fun seeing this film.  I agree that it's John Williams' score and Roy Scheider which makes the film.  I got to see my favorite part (when poor Alex Kitner gets eaten on the raft) and I love the part when Jaws comes back a second time and jumps on the boat.  It was so much fun watching this movie with a theater full of people gasping and jumping.  I think this is the first movie I've seen this year that actually sold-out. 

 

When Ben Gardner's head rolls out of the boat, I couldn't help but think that his head looked like Tor Johnson's.  Maybe they used Johnson's life mask as a mold?

 

ben%2Bgardner%2Bhead.jpg

 

So much fun.  I'm looking forward to Double Indemnity next month.  I have seen this film in the theater before, but I love it so much, I'll see it again. 

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I tried to find it on youtube and could not, but there is a scene deleted from the theatrical release of JAWS where a gaggle of idiot fishermen in about a dozen boats are fighting one another to try and catch the shark and collect the bounty. It's funny and well-edited and an ironic musing on just who exactly should be regarded as the real destructive force of the story: the shark or man. 

 

In ye olde fashioned days of broadcast television, before films were edited all to pieces so that as many erectile disfunction commercials as possible could be inserted into the broadcast, networks used to actually include deleted scenes into films to make them run longer to fit the time alotted.

 

The VHS tape of JAWS as shown as part of the ABC MOVIE NIGHT, which was the version I grew up watching about 217 times, contained this scene, so I've always thought of it as just a regular part of the movie (also- the scene where Hooper and Brody go to perform their autopsy on the Tiger Shark is extended, with Hooper telling Brody a story about (as I recall) getting a big bill for phone sex, heh heh.)

 

I think it would have been a better idea to cut the scene where Brody's young son mimics him at the table- cute as it is- and include the "bounty hunter" scene instead and I wa skind of disappointed that the scenes were not included in the "TCM/Fathom Events" re-release version.

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I tried to find it on youtube and could not, but there is a scene deleted from the theatrical release of JAWS where a gaggle of idiot fishermen in about a dozen boats are fighting one another to try and catch the shark and collect the bounty. It's funny and well-edited and an ironic musing on just who exactly should be regarded as the real destructive force of the story: the shark or man. 

 

 

I saw JAWS during its original theatrical release, about a dozen times, starting with a real, surprise sneak preview during a February evening showing of EARTHQUAKE (JAWS didn't open until the following summer).  I never saw it on television, or any video release of the film.  However, there definitely was a scene where all the bounty hunters were piled into various boats and Hooper is trying to reason with them.  In fact, it is the scene when Hooper arrives.  There is dialog between the men, in short snippets.  Are you saying that this scene was not shown at the TCM theatrical showing, or that there is an extended version of this scene? 

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