“We’re gonna need a bigger cinema!”
…is the likely response that theatre owners had upon the release of Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws in 1975, widely credited as being the first summer blockbuster, Jaws has become something of a template for big summer releases ever since but it’s been 45 years so it’s exciting to see how this classic holds up on the big screen.
The plot shouldn’t need much introduction but for those not in the know, the film is about a killer shark on the loose off the coast of Amity Island, a popular beach resort. This shark has picked its timing well as its peak season and Amity Island has a mayor who is keener on money than he is on closing the beaches for public safety… the perfect storm and to be fair a nigh on perfect film.
The genius in the film is that so much is achieved by so little, you see the shark so sparingly yet you never forget its presence. Spielberg manages to elicit fear from something as simple as barrels floating on water or a plank of wood being dragged out to sea. When you finally see the shark it has the impact it deserves and still hits home 45 years after release. The cast is nigh on perfect as well with Roy Schneider playing the Amity chief of police (with a fear of water no less) a film stealing supporting turn from Robert Shaw as the grizzled shark hunter Quint and when you add a young Richard Dreyfus into the mix and you’ve got a crew of instantly memorable characters that raise this way above B-Movie territory.
Lest we forget the iconic soundtrack. Jaws marked the second collaboration between Spielberg and John Williams after Sugarland Express and without doubt produced one of the most memorable film scores to date. Williams’ simple yet hard hitting theme perfectly complements Spielberg’s visuals and ratchets the tension even further up, creating an atmosphere that permeates the film and doesn’t let up until the very end.
The film is timeless and arguably the finest work from one of the most respected filmmakers of all time, here’s to Jaws being back on big screens in another 45 years!
Author: Paul, Bath store