5 Reasons To Celebrate This “Jaws” Birthday!
42 years ago this week, one of the great thrillers in cinema history premiered – and changed movie history forever.
At that time, Hollywood routinely premiered a film in a dozen theaters across the entire country, the film slowly rolling out to theaters over weeks and even months.
But on June 20, 1975, Universal sent this big fish out to a thousand theaters on the same day – and the way films were released changed forever.
Remember the trailer?
Here are five bits of trivia about this shark tale:
5 – Bruce The Shark!
The stories are legendary that “Bruce” the mechanical shark was notoriously difficult to work with. Yes, he was named “Bruce” after Director Steven Spielberg’s lawyer. Three mechanical sharks were built to play the part of the great white: a “left” and “right” shark for side shots, and a full-sized one for the straight on shots.
However, since “Bruce” malfunctioned so much, Spielberg filmed most of the movie’s scenes without him. In fact, the first shark doesn’t appear in “Jaws” until more than an hour and twenty minutes have gone by.
Although principal photography was scheduled to take 55 days, it took 159 days. Spielberg, reflecting on the protracted shoot, stated:
“I thought my career as a filmmaker was over. I heard rumors … that I would never work again because no one had ever taken a film 100 days over schedule.”
One other fact according to wikipedia:
“Spielberg himself was not present for the shooting of the final scene in which the shark explodes, as he believed that the crew were planning to throw him in the water when the scene was done, something that has since become a tradition for Spielberg to be absent when the final scene of one of his films is being shot.”
4 – The “Line”!
The acting in “Jaws” is stellar: Roy Scheider as the Sheriff trying to keep tourists safe; Richard Dreyfus as the shark expert who wants everyone to show more respect toward their prey; and of course Robert Shaw, as the crusty “shark killer” who one night tells the morbid story of his WW2 buddies being eaten by sharks after their ship was capsized during battle.
However, one line in the film has become legend – and Scheider improvised it! As the trio are searching for Bruce in their fishing vessel, it’s the Sheriff who suddenly finds himself face-to-face with the great white.
Without missing a beat, he turns to the other two and utters the immortal line:
“We’re going to need a bigger boat.”
Sheider’s stunned look of fear tells you that this film is only going to get more terrifying, because “Bruce” has finally appeared…
3 – The Music!
One reason the film works without the audience actually seeing the shark is the music. The ominous, repetitive beat builds dread, suspense and fear – without the audience actually seeing anything at all.
However, apparently the first time Spielberg heard John William’s opening track, he thought it was TOO simplistic. Obviously, he changed his mind and it is now one of the most iconic scores in film history.
2 – The Poster!
This poster says it all. It is also one of the most iconic images of all time.
Artist Roger Kastel designed it, and according to a website filled with “Jaws” trivia, the swimmer in the poster was a model that Kastel had been sketching for another ad he was working on. The Artist asked her to pose on a stool like she was swimming, and that is the image he captured.
Now, 42 years later, here is the real reason that “Jaws” remains one of the greatest films of our generation:
1 – The Pop Culture Phenomenon!
Everyone knows that “Jaws” is a classic suspense thriller – beautifully directed, a great script, and terrific performances – and you know that as soon as you see the trailer for the film – the ominous tone, and the pure terror in the eyes of beachgoers as Bruce begins his rampage…
“Jaws” ushered in a whole new era in blockbuster cinema – a film that was a larger-than-life film-going experience that needed to be seen with a large group – making it even more terrifying.
People have even shown the film with the audience in a lake, so you could watch it while in the water!
Bravo to 42 years of Bruce terrorizing audiences!
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