AMITY – Jaws! That’s it. We’re going to need a bigger fact!
Jaws. This was NO BOATING ACCIDENT! Get your facts together for one of the best films ever to be made about a shark eating a man who delivered the atom bomb they dropped on Hiroshima. FA—–ACT, FA——-ACT, FACT FACT FACT FACT (didder-derrr!)
1. Steven Spielberg occasionally used a fake shark when he believed using a real shark would endanger the actors. If you look very carefully some experts can tell the difference by the general plastic rubbery crapness of the model shark and the real one. But you have to be an expert.
2. Quint was named Squint in the original Peter Benchley novel because he squinted so much, but Robert Shaw told Spielberg he’d like to change the name because Squint made him sound like a cock womble.
3. The Indianapolis scene was a stroke of great good fortune. Spielberg asked John Milius if he had any ideas and Milius had tons but they were all rubbish. Then Milius went for a walk across his favourite golf club and got hit by lightning. He wrote the scene out as he still smoked from the lightning strike. Everyone was amazed. He’s never done anything as good, prior or since.
4. Ben Gardner was based on a real gardener.
5. All the sequels made following the success of the original were directed by Steven Spielberg though he had his name taken off the credits in each case because they were generally as good as finding flaky dog shit on your toothbrush after you’ve brushed your teeth.
For more FACTS on everything from this to that click HERE!
In our continuing series of ’47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams’, we look at Richard Lester’s revisionist middle aged Robin and Marian.
American director, Richard Lester’s career is a wonder to behold. Based in Britain for the most part he was responsible for putting The Beatles on films, some rollicking Musketeers, the best Superman movie ever made, and the only Flashman film.
His humor was a surreal and sixties but dabbed with melancholy. In this retelling of the Robin Hood legend, we meet Robin (Sean Connery with authentic Nottingham accent) with King Richard the Lionheart (Richard Harris) in the dying days of the Crusade. Robin and Little John (Nicol Williamson) are utterly exhausted with the killing and on Richard’s death return to England. The years have changed everything, but some things are the same. Marian (Audrey Hepburn) is in a convent and Robin’s old adversary the Sheriff of Nottingham (Richard Harris) is taxing the country into submission at the behest of King John (Ian Holm).
In contrast to Ridley Scott’s recent flap, Lester’s film takes an ‘idea’ of the aging hero and actually does something with it. Connery and Hepburn are superb as characters whose lives essentially went wrong and have a final chance of happiness. The cast is crammed with brilliant cameos and the script by William Goldman’s smarter brother James (writer also of The Lion in Winter) gives a sharp brooding intelligence to the proceedings. The action is suitably creaky and geriatric, and buckles remain resolutely unswashed, but this is one of the few Robin Hood films where you actually care for the characters.
For more of our 47 Films series CLICK HERE.
Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome. This week Jaws.
In Jaws, a sleepy seaside community is terrorized by kids karate chopping fences. Fortunately, a shark turns up. This little known revenge of nature drama sunk without trace when it was first released in 1975, partly because of its ponderously simplistic score by classical guitarist John Williams.
Either Rob Schnieder or Roy Scheider or Rod Steiger plays Chief Brody, a water phobic New York cop new to the job of policing on an island. And yet it falls to him to defend a community not only from the shark but its own venal short-sightedness. Shark Fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) are the unlikely allies who join him to hunt and kill the Great White. The commercial and critical failure of the film condemned promising TV director Steven Spielberg to a lifetime of obscure historical dramas such as 1941, Amistad and Jurassic Park.
The comedy shark – nicknamed Bruce – however was the only cast member to make a real impact and went on to star in a number of sequels, including an appearance (as himself) in Finding Nemo.
HOLLYWOOD – A school of great white sharks have been released into the oceans in a badly thought out attempt to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.
Forty years ago today, the most ominous four bar intro in cinema history broke the surface of the collective subconscious and Jaws has been terrifying swimmers ever since. Universal have decided to mark the occasion not only with a limited release of the original film, but also by releasing several ferocious Great White sharks into the water over the weekend. These sharks have been bred in captivity and the hope is that up and down the Eastern seaboard the sharks will be expected to attack bathers at a number of surprise locations, re-enacting the terror of the film. But don’t worry, Richard Dreyfuss, John Milius and Steven Spielberg are also setting sale in a replica boat based on the Orca to shoot barrels into the sharks and hopefully kill them before the death count gets too high.
We spoke EXCLUSIVELY to Richard Dreyfuss:
Of course, ideally we would love to have Robert Shaw and Roy Schieder here beside me, but John Milius helped rewrite one of the most iconic scenes in the film Jaws and Steven Spielberg made his name as a director, directing it. He is also I’m pleased to say, an excellent shot.
But what about the risk someone might get hurt?
That’s the beautiful thing. You see legally once we release the sharks we’re no longer legally culpable for anything they do. Best case scenario they kill a nude swimmer, a boating instructor, a little boy, a dog and perhaps Ben Gardner Jr., who we’ve persuaded to put in harm’s way, just to get into the spirit of the original, filmed all those year’s ago.
And what do you say to animal rights groups who object to what is essentially a contrived blood sport?
Oh f*ck them. I didn’t get to play Mr. Holland in Mr. Holland’s Opus by listening to every nay-sayer and whinger who fluttered across my transom. No sir! And if any of them try to stop us Milius will go Conan on their asses. To be honest, I think the sharks are going to have a good chance. I plan to smash the radio equipment the moment I can and we’ve made the new Orca incredibly brittle. I predict by Sunday afternoon one of us is going to be spitting blood while the machete drops from their lifeless fingers! Ha ha!
For more on Jaws CLICK HERE.
HOLLYWOOD – George Lucas came out today in a scathing attack on his ex-friend Steven Spielberg on the occasion of the release of Jaws on blu-ray.
‘I gave Steven notes on this and he ignored them all,’ said the genius behind The Phantom Menace and Howard the Duck. ‘This was an opportunity to improve a film with all sorts of CGI brilliance and gee-gaws, but I’m afraid my friend Steven is definitely a talent on the wane.’
According to our source, the Lucas – Spielberg relationship never really recovered from arguments about casting Raiders of the Lost Ark. Famously, Lucas would have preferred Tom Selleck in the role of the whip-cracking archaeologist and when the opportunity to create the blu-ray of the Indiana Jones series, even suggested CGI-ing Selleck’s face onto Harrison Ford’s body. A mutual friend told Studio Exec, ‘It’s been years now that whenever George speaks, Steven just smiles and nods, smiles and nods.’
Some of George’s Jaws Suggestions.
CGI the goddam shark, Stevie. CGI the hell out of that asshole. Then you can add it to all the scenes, from the very beginning. And because it’s CGI and you don’t need to worry about gravity and what not, you can make it like leap out of the water and fly around like I did with R2D2.
With more shark footage you can skip all those dialogue scenes, which you yourself thought of as filler I recall. Ditch the Indianapolis speech for example. It goes on and on and who cares? It was olden day stuff anyway.
Everyone loves the Johnny Williams score but why not spruce it up. Add some lyrics. ‘Ja–aws, Ja–aws, the shark is coming with his great big Ja-aws.’ I’m spitballing here but you know what I mean.
Instead of Hooper, why not a character to give a bit more ethnic color? Pedro the Mexican oceanographer, gets into scrapes, lots of fun. Like JarJar. ‘Chief, I don wanna get een the caaaaage!’
Finally Robert Shaw’s performance is the weakest part of the film. Frankly embarrassing nd very difficult to understand. Why don’t we overdub him with Morgan Freeman’s voice? And while we’re ADRing, we can add some explanatory dialogue. The first victim can say something like ‘Argghhh I am being eaten by a shark. Not good.’ Or Chief Brody can say at the end ‘Oh I know, I’ll fire at the air cannisters and that’ll blow him up.’