Sunday, June 20, 2010

We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

'Jaws' is easily one of my favorite films. It has so much that it is literally something special. It has action, adventure, horror, humor, drama, and even a little emotion. A film that still holds up to this day. What was feared to be an astonishing disaster during its making turned into something that changed the film industry forever. It marked the birth of the summer blockbuster.

A young Steven Spielberg stopped at nothing to make sure his film was not shut down despite an escalating budget and constant technical problems with the film's star - the mechanical shark. Resorting to the Val Lewton technique of not showing the creature but implying its presence led to a stroke of creative genius which went on to terrify audiences who were too afraid to go swimming at their local beach but were more than happy to line up at the movie theatre for the carnage.

Starring the late Roy Scheider and featuring Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw the film is basically the ultimate man versus nature story. A modern day Moby Dick. The last half of the film being the three main characters setting out to sea to track down and kill the monster that has been attacking the local shores. Where this film could have been just a fun film and nothing more instead underneath has a line of drama which is ever so present in the real reactions people have of what is happening. Plus the utter genius of what is perhaps one of, if not my all time, favorite scene where the Robert Shaw character Quint breaks out of the rusty seaman cliche and creates a fully rounded character with the telling of his experience on the Indianapolis. What I affectionately call the "Quint Speech". A moment in a film where something about a character makes them fully realized. Never has this been better done than with this scene. 

So on June 20, 1975 audiences were treated to a film which would both terrify them and yet have them line up around the block for more. A young filmmaker went from being a guy holding a sinking ship afloat (literally) to being one of the biggest directors in film history. Generation after generation discovers this incredible film and it continues to live on. The oft quoted line,"We're gonna need a bigger boat," could be changed to,"We're gonna need a bigger movie theatre."

Congratulations to everyone involved in this masterpiece and I salute the film which is one of my personal favorites that continues to entertain and inspire me to this very day.

*Images taken from

1 comment:

SgtPeppers said...

Great piece. I'll be watching this in a couple weeks for 4th of July.