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Jaws (Widescreen Anniversary Collector's Edition)

Steven Spielberg's 1975 adventure thriller about three men who must hunt down a maneating Great White shark.

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The Menace Below

  • Jul 29, 2003
Rating:
+5
For several summers, my family and I vacationed on Martha's Vineyard where much of this film was shot (renamed Amity Island). You can imagine how eager we were to see the film when it was first released. So many locations were familiar. We also spotted several friends who appear briefly as extras. However, we were certainly not prepared to be as frightened we were by several scenes. (Those who have already seen this film know which ones.) If I recall correctly, this was the first film which Steven Spielberg (then 27) directed and clearly established him as a master storyteller. Several of his crew received an Academy Award (for editing, sound, and musical score); both Spielberg and the film were also nominated.

As does John Mulligan with the character Salvaje in The Stalking Moon, Spielberg brilliantly conceals or only partially reveals the great white shark, thereby requiring us to use or imagination. This strategy increases our anticipation as well as the emotional impact of each encounter with what shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) calls "the perfect eating machine." When recently seeing this film again, I was again jolted by moments which I had first seen 28 years ago. This time around, I paid more attention to the basic conflict between the importance of public safety advocated by police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and the importance of economic development (i.e. tourism) to Amity Island advocated by mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton). I still do not recognize the dialect used by Quint (Robert Shaw) but was again entertained by his interactions with Brody and Hooper, especially one night aboard Quint's boat Orca as they exchange "sea stories" and compare scars.

This is an especially entertaining "horror movie," possessed of crisp and sure direction, solid acting, and an effective integration of cinematography, musical score, and special effects. Having seen it so many times, I now prefer to see only certain scenes while watching it again. I am curious to know how members of a focus group would respond to it if (a) they knew nothing about it, (b) were placed in a private screening room, provided with refreshments of choice, and (c) asked to see it for the first time. My guess, obviously only a guess, is that their reactions and comments would be essentially the same as my own were in 1975.

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More Jaws (1975 film) reviews
review by . July 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    The dead body that is discovered washed up on Amity Island's beach in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" will instantly remind most people of mystery and noir films of the past. In those films, the killer is human, whereas here; it is not. The body belongs to a girl who went swimming in the ocean the night before and never came back. We saw something attack her off-camera from the blue abyss. Her body is found mutilated beyond comprehension; her limbs separated from …
review by . January 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
scene
"You're going to need a Bigger Boat..."   On February 11,2008, almost a year ago, Roy Scheider, the actor who said the famous line in this enduring classic monster film passed on to the next life. What better way to wrap up my horror "reviewing streak" than to pay tribute to one of the lead actors in the best monster film ever made. I will review this as a film made in 1975 and not in 2000, it would be unfair to review a classic as modern one.     JAWS (1975) is the …
review by . September 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
If you want to learn about the movie that created the summer blockbuster phenomenon (I've never understood that, wouldn't it make more sense to release the biggest movies in the winter when people who live away from the equator are trapped indoors and looking for things to do instead of in the summer when it's nice out), make sure you pick up JAWS. One of Steven Spielberg's earliest films and his first true masterpiece from a directing standpoint and a box office success, this movie is rare masterpiece. …
review by . May 25, 2003
**** ½ Who hasnt heard of Jaws? From the legendary theme from John Williams to the image of a monstrous shark approaching from the depths, Jaws is a classic, a legend, and a masterpiece.In case you havent heard the story, Jaws focuses on Martin Brody (Scheider), the hard-working chief of police on Amity Island. After a girls mutilated body is found on the beach, Brody calls in oceanographic scientist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) to examine the body and tell the town whats happening. Whats happening …
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About this movie

Wiki

In the vastly overrated 1998 bookEasy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the blame for Hollywood's blockbuster mentality at least partially on Steven Spielberg's box-office success with this adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel. But you can't blame Spielberg for making a terrific movie, whichJawsdefinitely is. The story of a Long Island town whose summer tourist business is suddenly threatened by great-white-shark attacks on humans bypasses the potboiler trappings of Benchley's book and goes straight for the jugular with beautifully crafted, crowd-pleasing sequences of action and suspense supported by a trio of terrific performances by Roy Scheider (as the local sheriff), Richard Dreyfuss (as a shark specialist), and particularly Robert Shaw (as the old fisherman who offers to hunt the shark down). The sequences on Shaw's boat--as the three of them realize that in fact the shark is huntingthem--are what entertaining moviemaking is all about.--Marshall Fine
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Details

Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Adventure, Classics, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000; June 14, 2005
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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