June 20th 2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of Jaws

It’s a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn’t sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy’s mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they’re going to need a bigger boat. (Source: IMDB)

Yet another example why Spielberg is a cinematic genius. Jaws is proof that everything could go wrong, and the right director can still make gold. Mechanical difficulties with the anamatronic shark forced the idea of having a first-person view from the eyes of the beast, and man, did it work for the better. Saving us from having to actually see the shark left us to use our imagination. And when he is finally revealed.. how many of us pictured that the shark would be 25ft long? Just as long as the ORCA (Quint’s boat).. looking upon it for the first time, side by side with the hull of the vessel was.. just wow.. that’s one big ass fish..

Of course, this movie is followed by a slough of sequels, non of which can even hold a candle to the original. So, honestly, dont bother with them.. there is only disappointment to be found.

Here are some facts you may, or may not know about this classic.

  1. Jaws was the first “Summer Blockbuster” ever.
  2. Several decades later, Lee Fierro, who plays 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 – none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn’t seen each other since the original movie shoot.
  3. The line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” was not scripted but improvised by Roy Scheider.
  4. According to 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.
  5. Robert Shaw could not stand Richard Dreyfuss and they argued all the time, which resulted in some good tension between Hooper and Quint.
  6. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was used as Amity Island primarily because even 12 miles out to sea, the sandy bottom was only 30 feet down, allowing the mechanical shark to function. Residents were paid $64 to scream and run across the beach as extras.
  7. During the display in which Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw compare battle scars,Roy Scheider lifts up his shirt to reveal an appendix incision. This is not a prosthetic, but Scheider’s own scar.

Here is the filming location: Edgertown, Nantucket Isle, Mass.

Author: Jethal