JAWS - Film (Movie) Plot and Review





USA, 1975


Director: Steven Spielberg

Production: Universal Pictures; Technicolor, 35mm; running time: 124 minutes. Released 20 June 1975. Filmed summer 1974 on location on Martha's Vineyard.


Producers: Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown with William S. Gilmore, Jr.; screenplay: Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb, from the novel by Benchley; photography: Bill Butler; editor: Verna Fields; sound: Robert L. Hoyt, Roger Herman, Earl Madery, and John Carter; music: John Williams.


Cast: Roy Scheider ( Brody ); Robert Shaw ( Quint ); Richard Dreyfuss ( Hooper ); Lorraine Gary ( Ellen Brody ); Murray Hamilton ( Vaughan ); Carl Gottlieb.


Awards: Oscars for Best Sound, Best Editing, and Best Original Score, 1975.


Publications


Books:

Gottlieb, Carl, The Jaws Log , New York, 1975.

Blake, Edith, On Location on Martha's Vineyard: The Making of the Movie Jaws , New York, 1975.

Monaco, James, American Film Now: The People, the Power, the Money, the Movies , Oxford and New York, 1979.

Pye, Michael, and Lynda Myles, The Movie Brats: How the Film Generation Took Over Hollywood , London, 1979.

Kolker, Robert Phillip, A Cinema of Loneliness: Penn, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Altman , Oxford, 1980; revised edition, 1988.

Daly, David Anthony, A Comparison of Exhibition and Distribution Patterns in Three Recent Feature Motion Pictures , New York, 1980.

Crawley, Tony, The Steven Spielberg Story , London, 1983.

Goldau, Antje, and Hans Helmut Prinzler, Spielberg: Filme als Spielzeug , Berlin, 1985.

Mott, Donald R., and Cheryl McAllister Saunders, Steven Spielberg , Boston, 1986.

Smith, Thomas G., Industrial Light and Magic: The Art of Special Effects , London, 1986.

Weiss, Ulli, Das neue Hollywood: Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese , Munich, 1986.

Godard, Jean-Pierre, Spielberg , Paris, 1987.

Sinyard, Neil, The Films of Steven Spielberg , London, 1987.

Von Gunden, Kenneth, Postmodern Auteurs: Coppola, Lucas, De Palma, Spielberg & Scorsese , Jefferson, 1991.

Brode, Douglas, The Films of Steven Spielberg, Secaucus, 1997.

Yule, Andrew, Steven Spielberg , New York, 1997.

Knight, Bertram, Steven Spielberg: Master of Movie Magic , Parsippany, 1998.

Perry, George, Steven Spielberg-Close Up: The Making of His Movies , New York, 1998.

Taylor, Philip M., Steven Spielberg: The Man, His Movies and Their Meaning , New York, 1998.


Articles:

Riger, R., "On Location with Jaws —Tell the Shark We'll Do It One More Time," in Action (Los Angeles), July-August 1974.

"What Directors Are Saying," in Action (Los Angeles), September-October 1974.

Cribben, M., "On Location with Jaws ," in American Cinematographer (Los Angeles), March 1975.

Murphy, A. D., in Variety (New York), 18 June 1975.

Magill, M., in Films in Review (New York), August-September 1975.

Shear, D., in Film Heritage (Dayton, Ohio), Autumn 1975.

Milne, Tom, in Monthly Film Bulletin (London), December 1975.

Monaco, James, in Sight and Sound (London), no. 1, 1975–76.

Bonitzer, P., and S. Daney, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), April-May 1976.

Blacher, R., "Le Point de vue d'un psychiatre sur Les Dents de la mer ," in Cinéma (Paris), April 1976.

Fieschi, J., "La Religion du monstre," in Cinématographe (Paris), April-May 1976.

Paini, D., "Toujours à propos des Dents de la mer ," in Cinéma (Paris), May 1976.

Martin, Marcel, and others, "Vérités et mensonges du cinéma américain," in Ecran (Paris), September 1976.

Dagneau, G., in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), October 1976.

Cumbow, R. C., "The Great American Eating Machine," in Movietone News (Seattle), 11 October 1976.

Michalek, B., in Kino (Warsaw), December 1976.

Dworkin, M. S., "In the Teeth of Jaws," in Ikon (Milan), January-March 1977.

Kapralov, G., in Iskusstvo Kino (Moscow), October 1977.

Caputi, J. E., "Jaws as Patriarchal Myth," in Journal of Popular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.), no. 4, 1978.

Verstappen, W., in Skoop (Amsterdam), February 1978.

"Readers' Forum," in Journal of Popular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.), no. 2, 1979.

Erickson, Glenn, in Magill's Survey of Cinema 2 , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1980.

Vega, F., in Casablanca (Madrid), July-August 1981.

Fauritte, A., "Super Star Jaws," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), April 1984.

Fried, B., in Chaplin (Stockholm), 1985.

Noel, J., "Steven Spielberg (Suite No. 3)," in Grand Angle (Mariembourg, Belgium), July 1990.

Sheehan, H., "The Panning of Steven Spielberg," in Film Comment (New York), May-June 1992.

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Torry, R., "Therapeutic Narrative: The Wild Bunch, Jaws , and Vietnam," in Velvet Light Trap (Austin, Texas), Spring 1993.

Griffin, Nancy, "In the Grip of Jaws ," in Premiere (New York), October 1995.

Askari, Brent, " Jaws : Beyond Action," in Creative Screenwriting (Washington, D.C.), vol. 3, no. 1, Summer 1996.

Lucas, Tim, " Jaws : Limited Edition Signature Collection," in Video Watchdog (Cincinnati), no. 33, 1996.

Dursin, A., "The Laserphile," in Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), no. 76, December 1996.

Jones, Alan, "Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Jaws ," in Radio Times (London), vol. 295, no. 3849, 8 November 1997.


* * *


Jaws initiated the era of the Hollywood blockbuster. This tale of shark terror, which earned more than $100 million in six months, easily surpassed The Godfather as the all-time Hollywood box-office champ. Although Star Wars, E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark set new records, Jaws created marketing precedents that became Hollywood standards: it proved that one film under careful guidance from its distributor, could precipitate a national pop cultural "event."

Universal opened Jaws in 409 American houses in June 1975, establishing late May/early June as the beginning of the movie season. To milk the most from its "national" premiere, Universal fully utilized "saturation advertising" on television. The company purchased at least one 30-second ad on every prime-time network television program during the evening of the three days preceding the premiere; the cost was a million dollars. So successful was this advertising campaign that it became standard operating procedure in the American film industry (thereafter New York premieres and limited newspaper advertising were the exceptions, not the rule). Jaws convinced movie executives that television should be fully exploited for advertising, not avoided as in the past.

In 17 days, Jaws earned an extraordinary $36,000,000. House records were established in cities around the country, and record grosses continued through the summer. Indeed, Universal turned 1975 into the year of the shark. The film inspired pop songs and other films. And there were, of course, the ubiquitous spin-offs: posters, T-shirts, beach towels, shark tooth pendants. The stock of Universal's parent company, MCA, moved up 22½ points in less than a month. Jaws proved that a single film, marketed in the right way, could make millions of dollars for everyone connected with it.

One direct beneficiary was director Steven Spielberg, who completed the film before his 30th birthday. This film school graduate learned the Hollywood system with his television work for Universal; he directed episodes of Owen Marshall, Marcus Welby, Columbo , and television movies such as the now cult film Duel . The dollars generated by Jaws and by his other films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark , and E.T. , have made Spielberg the most successful box-office director of all time.

But Jaws won few awards, for critics did not consider it a complex artefact. Rather, Jaws was singled out as an example of the success of Hollywood as an entertainment machine. Social and cultural critics have "read" the film in two different ways. Jaws can be seen as a "Watergate" film. In it a public official (the mayor) seeks to hush up a threat to the public good (a shark attack); it takes an heroic outsider (the chief of police) to kill the shark and return things to normal. The overt message seems clear enough: the world does indeed work, if "true heroes" stand up to be counted. But Jaws also skillfully exploits the machine of modern cinema. From the opening sequences Spielberg associates the camera's point-of-view (under the water) and the major musical motif with the danger of the shark attack. Jaws manipulates our gaze, simultaneously providing the viewer with both enjoyment and fear. It remains a remarkable example of how well Hollywood can control a viewer's vision to produce pain and pleasure. Jaws is about Watergate America, but it is also about the experience of filmgoing in the 1970s.

—Douglas Gomery

Also read article about Jaws from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

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jasmine
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Jan 28, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
wow this is so good! i love it! it is great thanks for having a great pic too.

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