written by Jim Pennington
It was the summer of ’75. The term “summer blockbuster” had yet to be uttered. Single screen theaters were still the norm, each one gambling on which film would be their money maker. Summers could still be a lazy time where you could actually be bored. I hooked up with some friends to check out this new film, Jaws.
I look back fondly on that evening and to this day, Jaws remains my favorite film. Is it perfect? Probably not, but oh, what a film! Action. Adventure. Thrills, Laughter. Suspense. Horror. Like an old wooden roller coaster, it continues to please.
This is a film that had numerous chances of being a failure. Let’s start with a newbie director and a perfectionist at that. Spielberg felt that the 1974 novel of the same title by Peter Benchley was in need of re-write for the screenplay. Production began before the script was completed. Casting was not complete until a few days before principal shooting began. The shark itself was a complex prop that without warning would sink to the bottom of the ocean. “Bruce,” as the shark was nicknamed (after Spielberg’s lawyer), tested fine in fresh water tanks, but was ravaged by the salty sea water. The scheduled 55 day shoot ended up taking 159 days.