Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
With my fourth and final Jaws Month wrapping up, I thought I’d take some random notes and observations related to Jaws that I’ve been thinking about over the past few years, and gather them all together in one last post.
• After seeing Jaws again on the big screen recently, I have to admit that the restored, cleaned-up Blu-ray is by far the sharpest, cleanest, and best-looking print of the movie I’ve ever seen, and makes watching the movie even more of a treat.
• For many years I’ve wondered something: In the scene where the Orca is sinking, and Quint hands out life jackets to Brody and Hooper, but doesn’t take one himself, is he doing this because he’s worried about their safety, and not his own? Or is it because, during his experience on the Indianapolis, putting on a life jacket meant you were rescued after those without life-jackets, and now, with the Orca soon to go under, he wants to be rescued first, ahead of Brody and Hooper? Or has this always been obvious to everyone but me? Hmmm…
• In a few of the early scenes in Amity’s downtown, in the background, there’s a girl in a green top and yellow pants wrapping some bunting around a column in front of Vaughn’s realty office. I have no idea who she is, but I always like watching her, simply because I think she’s kinda hot.
• I’ve read on-line where fans think there’s a continuity error during the ferry trip, where Mayor Vaughn tells Brody about barracudas and a panic on the fourth of July. They say that the ferry leaves facing one direction, then upon arrival on the other side, is now facing the other way. Well, watch the background during that entire scene: the ferry actually does a slow 180-degree turn, so yes, it IS facing the other way when it arrives. It’s just not a continuity error!
• The hull ID of the Orca reads MS 15 LF, and for a long time I’ve thought how great it would be if this was an homage to Detroit Tigers outfielder Mickey Stanley, if he wore #15 and played left field. Well, I finally checked: sadly, he did not wear #15, and he rarely played left field. But then it hit me: could he have played fifteen games in left in 1974, when Jaws was being made? A quick look and…d’oh! He only played in one! Of course, the ‘MS’ could stand for Mike Sadek or Manny Sanguillen, who are both catchers…or, it could just be the boat’s given ID number, and I should leave it at that.
• I just found out a few days ago that the Jaws soundtrack CD from MCA that I own includes music that was re-scored by John Williams, specifically for the CD! I like this MCA disc, but I went ahead and ordered the more-recent version from Decca as well, which has the true original score, as well as…all the songs somewhat out of order. Oh well…six of one, half-dozen of the other.
• And I first noticed this fun little moment yesterday, while checking out the Blu-ray: when you can, watch the scene where Meadows (played by Carl Gottlieb) is trying to get a group photo of the strung-up tiger shark and the fishermen who caught it. Just after Quint is initially seen gliding by on the Orca, the scene cuts to a wide shot of the shark and the group; keep your eyes on Hooper, and the Gorton’s Fisherman guy standing next to him, and watch what happens. How many more of these humorous throwaways are scattered throughout the film, that I’m only now seeing because of the clarity of Blu-ray?
• After I recently posted my collection of images for Jaws revival screenings in 2018, I ended up finding at least a couple dozen more afterwards, which got me to thinking: with so many of these screenings happening around the US each year, it might be fun to make a trip to one in a different town or state next summer, and make an event out of it. If I stayed in-state, I’d probably hit Flagstaff or Tucson, but if I could go out-of-state, my first choice would be a screening at the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Illinois. Or perhaps one with a live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
• Of all the many outstanding shots in this film, there’s one in particular that doesn’t get enough credit, if any at all: the still shot of the scuba tank inside the cabin of the Orca during the shark cage sequence.When Hooper is prepping for his descent inside the cage, Brody heads into the cabin and grabs the ‘shark dart’; after he steps away, the camera lingers on the remaining tank for a second or so longer than necessary. It’s not much, but it’s just enough to make the tip of your mind take notice. Which I think is a very cool bit of foreshadowing, and great work by Spielberg.
• I found this a few days ago on-line, and thought some of you might get a kick out of it: a bit of re-edited comedy, courtesy of Hooper, Brody, and Quint. If you don’t get tears in your eyes from this (and this and this), well…I think you need a bigger funny bone.
• And for those of you who might be wondering; yes, Jaws is still my favorite movie of all time.
Many thanks to everyone who stopped by and took the time to read my Jaws Month posts over the past four summers, and especially thanks for all the enjoyable comments and discussions. And don’t worry, I haven’t given up writing Jaws articles entirely; look for a random post here or there over the coming years, as well as listings of revival screenings like the one I posted earlier this month.