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Welcome, schmoes, to the latest installment of Why It’s a Classic, a series of blogs in which I’ll take movies I have deemed worthy of classic status and break down exactly why I feel that’s the case. The latest classic to be examined is a movie that I, one who considers himself quite the movie buff, had went way too long without seeing. The 1975 Steven Spielberg directed master class in suspense I’m referring to is none other than……
This mighty blockbuster’s humble origins
Jaws was based on a 1974 novel by this guy……
Author Peter Benchley
…...whose novel was discovered by Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, who were producers at Universal.
Richard D. Zanuck
Spielberg ( l ) and David Brown ( r )
They both read it in one night and agreed the next morning that it was the most exciting thing either of them had read. They immediately sensed the novel’s cinematic potential, but were unsure exactly how it would be made. They purchased the movie rights in 1973, before the book was published, for $175, 000. Brown later claimed that had they read the book twice, they never would have tried to make a movie out of it, as the difficulty of bringing certain sequences to life would have been more evident. The duo first considered…..
…….. to direct based on his experience directing the Ernest Hemingway adaptation The Old Man and the Sea. They then ended up giving the job to Dick Richards, whose directorial debut The Culpepper Cattle Co. was released the previous year. That’s right, schmoes, for as much Spielberg will be forever linked to this classic, the original director was this guy……
What’s that, you say? You want to know what happened to Mr. Richards’ employment as director? Well, as it turns out, aquatic knowledge was apparently not his forte. You see, it was swiftly ( and hilariously ) discovered that he did not know the difference between a shark and a whale, which I imagine would be an issue when directing a killer shark movie. This happened during the meeting with the producers concerning the screenplay, during which he mentioned that an opening tracking shot would zoom in on a whale emerging from the water. The producers told him they weren’t making Moby Dick and had no desire to work with someone who didn’t know the difference between a whale and a shark. In the meantime Spielberg, who had made The Sugarland Express ( his debut as a theatrical director ) with Zanuck and Brown, noticed the duo had Benchley’s unpublished novel lying in their office during a meeting regarding that movie. Upon reading it he was captivated and was given the directorial duties in June 1973 upon Richards’ departure.
For the adaptation Spielberg chose to stick closely to the ending of the novel, telling Zanuck when he accepted the job, " I'd like to do the picture if I could change the first two acts and base them on original screenplay material, and then be very true to the book for the last third. " When Brown and Zanuck purchased the rights to the novel, they promised Benchley first go at the screenplay, with the intention being getting a working screenplay done despite the possibility of a Writer’s Guild strike, since Benchley was not unionized. Overall, he wrote three drafts before turning the screenplay over to other writers, and when he delivered the final draft to Spielberg, he stated, " I’m written out on this, and this is the best I can do. " He later described his contributions as " the story line and the ocean stuff - basically the mechanics " while admitting he " didn’t know how to put the character detail in the screenplay. " Despite the efforts up until that point, Spielberg still found the characters unlikable so he offered screenwriter John Byrum the job of rewriting the screenplay but was turned down. Columbo creators William Link and Richard Levinson were then approached but likewise turned it down. Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Howard Sackler was in Los Angeles when the filmmakers began looking for another writer and offered to do an uncredited rewrite. Since Spielberg and the producers were unhappy with Benchley’s drafts they quickly agreed. One of the first changes Sackler made, at Spielberg’s request, was to characterize Brody as being afraid of the water.
Playwright and script doctor Howard Sackler
Spielberg then decided the screenplay needed some levity to keep it from becoming " a dark sea hunt ", so he turned to his friend Carl Gottlieb…...
…... a comedy writer-actor then working on the sitcom The Odd Couple. While the deal was initially for a one week dialogue polish, Gottlieb became the primary screenwriter and rewrote the entire screenplay during nine weeks of principal photography. The screenplay for each scene was typically completed the night before during a dinner Gottlieb had with the cast and crew to discuss what would go into the next day’s shooting, dinners at which several improvisations were offered that often made it into the screenplay. After Gottlieb’s contributions, dialogue polishes were provided by director/writer John Milius……
…….and Spielberg’s Sugarland Express writers Matthew Robbins and Hal Barwood also made some uncredited contributions.
The source material had been written by Benchley after hearing about this sport fisherman…….
…...having caught an enormous shark in Montauk, New York in 1964. According to Gottlieb, Quint was loosely based on Mundus, whose book Sport Fishing for Sharks he read for research. Sackler came up with the backstory of Quint as a survivor of the World War II USS Indianapolis disaster. To this day, it’s still unclear who deserves the most credit for writing Quint’s Indianapolis speech. Spielberg described it as a collaboration between Sackler, Milius, and actor Robert Shaw, who was also a playwright. According to the director, Milius turned Sackler's three-quarters of a page speech into a monologue, and that was then rewritten by Shaw. However, Gottlieb gives primary credit to Shaw, downplaying Milius’ contributions. But no matter who was ultimately responsible for the speech, I think that all us cinephiles can agree that it made for one hell of a riveting scene!
Spielberg had no problem complying with the request of Zanuck and Brown to hire known stars, but he drew the line at hiring the biggest stars of the time. His reasoning was that somewhat anonymous performers would help audiences buy into the illusion that things were happening to ordinary, average people, while audiences carried certain baggage with them concerning big time stars, baggage which he felt could corrupt the integrity of the story. As far as he was concerned, the shark was the superstar of the ensemble. But one of the fun things about such an impeccably cast masterpiece such as Jaws is when one discovers who else was up for roles that went on to be iconic for the actors involved. For example, Spielberg offered the role of Brody to Robert Duvall, but Duvall was only interested in playing Quint, a part the director felt he was too young for. He briefly considered Gene Hackman for the role, and Charlton Heston expressed a strong interest in it. However, Spielberg felt that Heston’s screen persona was too epic in the minds of moviegoers to convincingly portray a small town sheriff.
Three " Coulda Been Brodys " : Duvall, Hackman, & Heston
And the way he finally came into contact with Roy Scheider about the role is proof of how even the most troubled set of circumstances can still have that totally game changing stroke of luck occur. But perhaps this part of the Jaws saga would be better told by the bearded maestro himself : And I went to several actors before Roy Scheider who I had just decided were not right for the part. I tested dozens of Brodys. But I was at a party at Andre Eastman’s house and I met Roy Scheider for the first time. He walked over to me and I was literally sitting on a couch with a Coca-Cola in my hand fretting over Jaws, that I wasn’t able to get this shark movie cast, and Roy sat down and introduced himself. Of course, I had loved him so much in The French Connection and then in The Seven Ups. Roy actually said to me, “You have such a glum look on your face. What’s the matter?” I said, “Aw, I’m having trouble casting my picture.” He actually said, “Who have you gone out to?” I named a few names and he looked at me and said, “What about me?!?” I looked at him and said, “You’re right! What about you? Will you make my movie?” Without even asking for a script he said, “Of course! If you want me, I’ll do it!” And we actually agreed at a party that he would play Brody that night at Andre Eastman’s house. And then he read the script and loved it, which was good because he could have read the script and thrown it back in my face. But he loved it. And the fact that Scheider loved the screenplay was a great win for the movie because of the everyman quality he brought to the proceedings. His introductory scene finds him engaging in a bantering back and forth with the missus, and his fear of being out on the water is conveyed sufficiently enough to where his actions in the last act come across as exceptionally heroic. Furthermore, he’s also responsible for one of the most iconic moments and lines in the whole movie…….
Although this is the line that everyone remembers, I think the even more desperate line that came right after when Quint walks onto the deck really sold the moment for me : “ You’re gonna need a bigger boat, right? “ That really sold the fact that Brody wasn’t a crusty veteran of the sea like Quint, nor was he knowledgeable about sharks like Hooper. He was simply an average guy with a fear of being on the water who was terrified of hunting the shark down but determined to do it anyways. Let us take a moment to reflect on these words from Spielberg on what he looks for in a movie as an audience member, words which go a long way towards explaining exactly why Scheider’s so iconic as Brody : Well, people who are touchstones to the human race, that anybody can identify with and say, “That could be me.” That’s all I look for in a movie that I go to see as an audience. Is there any character in the film that I can identify with; that I can experience these events through their eyes. That’s all I’m looking for, somebody I can believe in. And the remarkable thing about how Scheider makes Brody that character to believe in is how it’s in the little touches, such as how he was the first to take off running during Alex Kintner’s attack but finds himself unable to go in and can only run helplessly back and forth. Or the moment at the dinner table when he asks his son for a kiss because " I need it. "
Or how he embraces his wife for a few extra seconds before setting off and reminds her not to mess with the fireplace while he’s gone. Or how he takes a wistful look at his appendectomy scar during Quint and Hooper’s scar competition. It’s moments like these that make Brody such an iconic character, as well as perfect audience surrogate. Another reason Brody comes across so well is Lorraine Gary’s captivating work as his wife Ellen and the ease with which Scheider played off of it. The reason why Spielberg allowed Gary to audition was that she was married to Sid Sheinberg at the time, who was head of Universal and instrumental in helping Spielberg get The Sugarland Express off the ground.
Universal head Sid Sheinberg, who gave a young Spielberg these words of wisdom : " Hopefully you’re going to have a lot of success in your career. And a lot of people will stick with you in success; I’ll stick with you in failure. "
The type of nepotism on display with Gary getting an audition could potentially be enough to sink a movie, especially given the fact that she had never done a feature role, despite several t.v. appearances, such Night Gallery, Dragnet 1968, and the Kojak pilot The Marcus - Nelson Murders. It was the naturalism of the latter performance that won her the role, and it was that same naturalism that made her so compelling as Ellen Brody. Earlier I mentioned the ease with which Scheider played off of Gary’s charms, and that easy give and take resulted in one of those delightful instances where the audience is made to feel as if they’re peeking into the lives of real people, making their scenes together some of my favorite in the movie. There’s the aforementioned scene of bantering, as well as an early scene where Ellen brings Brody a drink as he’s poring over some shark books. I like how the scene is really layered and conveys the mind frame of both characters so efficiently. Things start off charmingly enough…..
…..but the moment is dispelled as soon as Brody realizes his son is out on the water in a boat and panics, even though the boat is tied to a pier. Ellen tries to calm him down, but ends up calling for her son even more urgently when she notices a picture of a shark attacking a similar boat. It’s a moment that could’ve been overwrought or histrionic, but instead comes off as really believable, thanks in no small part to Gary’s contributions. Then there’s a funny moment where’s she’s inquiring how long it will be before she’s considered an islander. ( “ Never. If you weren’t born on the island, you’re not an islander. “ ) But her absolute best moment came after Brody boarded the Orca, and the camera stays on her as she runs off crying. It’s an achingly vulnerable moment that helps raise the stakes of the final act, and just one of several moments in which Gary shines
Lorraine Gary ( You’d be surprised at how few pics and gifs there are of Ms. Gary in Jaws. However, the Internet is swarmed with ones from Jaws : The Revenge. Go figure ! )
The next actor up for discussion is Murray Hamilton, but before I discuss anything about his role in Jaws, I would like to relate a hilarious anecdote about Hamilton I came across. He and Jeffrey Kramer ( who played Deputy Hendricks ) were out one night during a break in shooting having dinner and ( several ) drinks. On their way back to their hotel, Hamilton bent down in total drunken innocence to pet what he thought was a cat, only to find out otherwise when he got doused from head to toe in skunk stench, resulting in an immediate, and thorough, tomato juice bath. And now on to his performance as Larry Vaughn, the venal, shortsighted mayor of Amity. Vaughn has been cited as the true villain of Jaws, and that’s an assessment I find hard to disagree with. It’s true he’s looking out for the welfare of the islanders, and I thought upon a first viewing that went a ways towards making him sympathetic. But a subsequent viewing changed my mind on that because, no matter what’s at stake for the island, “ That’s no reason to serve the shark a smorgasbord! “, as Brody succinctly tells Vaughn.
He doesn’t think twice about keeping the beaches open, and even gets the medical examiner to go back on his original report. He ignores Brody and Hooper’s strenuous objections to keeping the beaches open to instead focus on the " sick vandalism " done to the welcoming billboard.
But perhaps the most craven act was when he casually says of the shark attacks " a shark supposedly injured some bathers " during an interview, only to reassure the reporter that the waters are shark free and open for business. After all…..
" Amity, as you know, means friendship. "
But what makes Jaws such a classic is that even such a smarmy character is granted a sympathetic moment, which occurs after the shark attacks on the pond, during the scene between him and Brody in the hospital. The anguish in his voice as he says, " My son was on that beach ! ", as well as the shell shocked manner in which he signed the voucher authorizing Quint’s hiring was enough to make one feel for the guy. And that’s an impressive feat when you consider just what he was responsible for. And on a related note, how crazy is it that people used to be able to smoke in hospitals ?! That blows my mind that the place cancerous people go to used to allow smoking. Anyways, onto the next performance, which is Richard Dreyfuss as this guy……
Marine biologist Matt Hooper
Hooper is one of my two favorite characters ( the other being Quint ), and what I like the most about the character is that even though there’s plenty of depth to him, enough so that he can’t simply be called the comic relief, he still often times bring a welcome levity to the proceedings, such as in the gif below, where he meets Quint’s macho showmanship with a rather sardonic display…..
Or in the scene where he interrupts Brody’s dinner and helps himself to his uneaten food. Or the scene where he reacts immaturely to being chided by Quint…..
But these moments are balanced by scenes like the autopsy of Chrissie Watkins…...
…...during which he so perfectly conveys the horror he feels at the pitiful remains of Ms. Watkins. This is shown by how he strides purposefully up to the autopsy table, uncovers the remains, and then just stands there for several seconds before beginning. The nervous, rapid fire manner in which he dictated his findings also sold just how much Hooper was rocked by the grisly display. But perhaps the most telling moment came when Hooper was reduced to splashing water on his face to regain his bearings. Sometimes as an audience member it can be the little details that sell a scene, and that just happened to be it for me. It was also nice how Dreyfuss perfectly modulated Hooper’s growing disgust at the medical examiner’s transparent attempt to alter the cause of death. Then there’s the scene of Brody and Hooper fruitlessly arguing with Vaughn about closing the beaches that ends with Hooper letting loose with a semi - hysterical burst of shocked laughter at the realization the beaches are gonna stay open that’s another nice character moment. There’s the aforementioned scar competition, a scene of initial machismo that ends rather humorously ( " Mary Ellen Moffat. She broke my heart. " ), but Dreyfuss' shining moment comes in the final act when Hooper’s about to be lowered down in the cage and tries to spit on his goggles to clean them, only to find that his mouth is completely dry. His delivery of the line " I have no spit " is so achingly vulnerable that it just sealed the deal for me as far as how much I enjoyed the character. After the steady stream of comedic and dramatic moments throughout the movie, it was during that simple moment that I felt for him the most. And do you schmoes remember how I mentioned at the beginning of this section how it’s cool to see who else was up for iconic roles? Well, there were quite a few alternate possibilities for the role of Hooper, beginning with Spielberg’s initial choice of Jon Voight. Timothy Bottoms, Joel Grey, and Jeff Bridges were also considered.
Four " Coulda Been Hoopers " : Voight, Bottoms, Grey, and Bridges
Dreyfuss was suggested to Spielberg by George Lucas, who had recently directed him in American Graffitti. However, Dreyfuss initially turned the role down, but changed his mind after seeing a pre release screening of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, in which he played the titular role. Although he grew to love the character years down the road, he absolutely despised playing him at the time and felt that his acting was so atrocious that it would end his career. He therefore wanted to have a sure thing underway as quickly as possible as insurance against what he felt was inevitable. Because the movie Spielberg envisioned was so different from Benchley’s novel, Dreyfuss was instructed not to read it, and the director instead decided to rewrite the character to better suit the actor. This resulted in a funny, layered performance, as well as the beginning of the Spielberg/Dreyfuss trilogy ( which also includes Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Always ). One thing I’ve noticed about this blog is that I’ve brought up " the little things " several times when talking about the performances, which is one of the reasons why Jaws remains a classic. None of the characters have been bitten by a radioactive spider or given a suit that enables them to change size at will or fly through the air. They’re simply human beings, with all of the hang ups and fears that implies, and are resolutely kept at ground level…...all except for this delightfully crusty ol’ chap……..
Yep, Quint was the only character given a mythological stature, which is fitting since Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab, an equally mythological character, served as a large inspiration. The most amazing and enjoyable thing about Quint is the fact that he’s genuinely eccentric, and it’s been my experience that true eccentricity is so difficult to pull off. It’s also been my experience that when eccentricity is attempted and failed it creates an insufferably quirky and unrealistic character. But that is happily not the case with Quint. Moments like these……
….or the scene where he recites the poem of Mary Lee to Ellen before setting off ( a moment for which I could find ZERO pics or gifs for…...womp womp ) really help to create an unique and oversized personality. And that’s remarkable because of how Shaw would improvise moments that weren’t in the screenplay. Take the Mary Lee poem, for example. All Spielberg instructed Shaw to do was give Ellen a hard time before setting off, and Shaw improvised the final results. When the scene was finished shooting, Spielberg asked him where he had heard the poem from in case he had to pay the original author. Shaw laughed and told him that wouldn’t be necessary, as he had gotten the quote off of a grave marker in Ireland. And it’s already been discussed how he helped shaped the Indianapolis speech. So, yeah, it’s safe to say he brought a whole lot to the table as Quint, which makes it all the more remarkable that he ended up with the role. You see, he wasn’t Spielberg’s first choice for the iconic role, nor was he his second. But perhaps I should take a moment to let the masterful movie maker himself explain : Casting sometimes is fate and destiny more than skill and talent, from a director’s point of view. First I went to Lee Marvin and he said no. Then I went to Sterling Hayden and he said no. Then finally David Brown, who had just worked with Robert Shaw on The Sting, said “What about Robert Shaw?” I said, “David, you’re a genius!” And Robert said yes. That was a simple story, although it took six months to cast Quint. And that’s even more remarkable when you consider the fact that Shaw turned down the role several times due to having read and intensely disliked Peter Benchley’s bestseller, saying of it, " Jaws was not a novel. It was a book written by committee, a piece of shit. " But he was persuaded otherwise by his wife, the actress Mary Ure, and his secretary when they wouldn’t leave him alone about accepting the role, saying of the experience, " The last time they were that enthusiastic was From Russia With Love. And they were right. " What I loved most about the role was how perfectly modulated his appearances were. I enjoyed the character so much upon first viewing that my only complaint was the fact that he had a significantly less amount of screen time than the other two leads. But a subsequent viewing made me realize just how effective that strategy was in keeping the character interesting. You had his iconic introductory scene where he silences a noisy town meeting by scraping his fingernails across the chalkboard.
And then you only see Quint briefly after that, as in the scene where the local fishermen are gearing up to catch the shark, and he sails through the pier with a " You’ll see " smile on his face. And that’s about it until the final stretch of the movie, which is a tactic that helps immeasurably in cultivating an aura of mystique around the character. Despite my initial impression, I now realize that any more exposure of the character would’ve diluted his impact, and that Spielberg and his writers knew exactly what they were doing when they parceled out his screen time. And how epic was his final scene?
This character was bookended by badassery. I mean, the shark might’ve gotten Quint in the end, but the salty ol’ seafarer didn’t go down without a fight. It was a final scene truly befitting such an amazing character, and the most impressive thing about it is how Shaw delivered it under some strenuous circumstances. For one thing, he was heavily in debt to the IRS due to tax evasion, to the point where he didn’t take home a dime for his efforts. He was so concerned about the money he owed that he flew to Bermuda or Canada on nearly all of his days off to limit his work hours in the US. And then there was the well known fact of Shaw’s insatiable appetite for drinking, an appetite which was indulged throughout the shoot so much that production assistants were assigned to keep him from disappearing into bars. It was also an indulgence that would often bring out a mean, competitive streak. And then there’s the fact that Quint’s Indianapolis speech had to be reshot due to Shaw’s unorthodox preparation methods. But perhaps it would once again behoove us to hear about it from the mouth of the extraordinary entertainer himself : We shot it twice. The first time we attempted to shoot it Robert came over to me and said, " You know, Steven, all three of these characters have been drinking and I think I could do a much better job in this speech if you let me actually have a few drinks before I do the speech. " And I unwisely gave him permission. He went into the Whitefoot, which was a big sort of support boat that we always took our lunch breaks on and all the bathrooms were on that boat, it was a big tug boat, and he went into the hold with my script girl Charlsie Bryant and I guess he had more than a few drinks because two crew members actually had to carry him onto the Orca and help him into his chair. I had two cameras on the scene and we never got through the scene, he was just too far gone. So, I wrapped the company at about 11 o’clock in the morning and Robert was taken back to his house on Martha’s Vineyard. At about 2 o’clock in the morning my phone rings and it’s Robert. He had a complete blackout and had no memory of what had gone down that day. He said, " Steven, tell me I didn’t embarrass you. " He was very sweet, but he was panic-stricken. He said, " Steven, please tell me I didn’t embarrass you. What happened? Are you going to give me a chance to do it again? " I said, " Yes, the second you’re ready we’ll do it again. " The next morning he came to the set, he was ready at 7:30 out of make-up and it was like watching Olivier on stage. But if Shaw’s drinking was known to cause the occasional disruption in shooting, and if Scheider found it occasionally difficult to work with him, that was nothing compared to the animosity that existed between him and Dreyfuss, to whom he had taken an immediate ( and somewhat inexplicable ) dislike, and would often try to rattle him with a stream of verbal abuse, taunts, and dares. Scheider described a typical barbed comment Shaw would often make : Shaw would say, ‘Look at you, Dreyfuss. You eat and you drink and you’re fat and you’re sloppy. At your age, it’s criminal. Why, you couldn’t even do ten good push-ups. ' The younger actor quickly realized he would have to develop a thick skin if he and Shaw were going to be able to work together, saying, " Shaw was a perfect gentleman whenever he was sober. All he needed was one drink and then he turned into a competitive son-of-a-bitch. He knew how to dish it out. So you had to learn how to dish it back. He could be vicious. " At one point, he called out Dreyfuss’ perceived lack of courage by offering him money to climb up on the mast of the Orca, which was about 75 feet in the air and jump into the water. The amount of money kept increasing with each dare, with the total finally topping out at 1000 bucks. This ended only when Spielberg took Dreyfuss aside and told him, " I don’t care how much money he offers you. You’re not jumping off the mast, not in my movie. " Dreyfuss would often respond in the most direct manner he knew of, by throwing Shaw’s liquor into the ocean. And this was despite the fact that Shaw was often kind to him in private, as on the occasion where he read him his play The Man in the Glass Booth while waiting on the hull of the Orca one day. But for some reason, it was always a different matter when the two were out in public. As it turns out, this " feud ", as Spielberg referred to it, was actually beneficial to the movie, as it made the tension between the two characters seem all the more natural, with moments like these benefiting greatly.
" You have city hands, Mr. Hooper. You’ve been counting money your whole life. "
So that’s why I feel Robert Shaw’s performance as Quint is one for the ages. Despite his problems with drinking and the IRS, despite his offscreen tension with Dreyfuss and his often times unpredictable nature, he was still able to dig deep and deliver a performance that is entertaining over 40 years later. In his Great Movies review of Jaws, Roger Ebert referred to Quint as a caricature, and even though that word usually has negative connotations, I think it’s totally appropriate here. There’s nothing small about this performance. It’s like Nigel Tufnel’s amp in This is Spinal Tap, in that it’s turned up to 11. And yet, even though Quint is definitely the most colorful character in the movie, there’s never a point where Shaw’s performance becomes overly broad or unbelievable. It’s a totally convincing, lived in performance, and my only problem with it is the fact that Shaw wasn’t nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I’m not gonna say he should’ve WON the award, as I don’t know who was nominated that year ( and don’t particularly feel like looking it up at the moment ). But I definitely feel this uber talented thespian was robbed of a nomination for one of cinema’s greatest performances. And before I move on from the casting, I want to take a quick moment to give a shout out to actress Peggy Scott, who had one brief, but memorable, scene as Brody’s receptionist Polly. Even though her screen time was limited, she had very funny line where she complained about the karate students " karateing the picket fences. " It was a very funny and charming moment that showed how Spielberg took care to make even the peripheral characters memorable.
Principal photography began on May 2, 1974 on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, which was selected after strong consideration was given to Long Island. Producer David Brown later explained the production needed a vacation spot that was lower middle class enough so that an appearance by a shark would believably destroy tourist business. Three pneumatically powered sharks were made for the production and were designed by this guy……
Art director Joe Alves
…...during the third quarter of 1973 and fabricated at Rolly Harper’s Motion Picture and Equipment Rental in Sun Valley, California between November 1973 and April 1974. Their construction involved a team of as many as 40 effects technicians, supervised by……
Mechanical effects supervisor Bob Mattey
…..best known for creating the giant squid in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The models required 14 operators to control all of the moving parts. The movie had a troubled shoot and went way over budget for a number of reasons, the primary one being Spielberg’s insistence on actually shooting at sea instead of a studio tank and his inexperience and naivete about what that would entail. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear the man himself explain : I could have shot the movie in the tank or even in a protected lake somewhere, but it would not have looked the same. I was naive about the ocean, basically. I was pretty naive about mother nature and the hubris of a filmmaker who thinks he can conquer the elements was foolhardy, but I was too young to know I was being foolhardy when I demanded that we shoot the film in the Atlantic Ocean and not in a North Hollywood tank. Shooting at sea led to many delays such as the cameras getting soaked, the Orca sinking with the actors on board, and unwanted sailboats drifting into view. This last delay was especially problematic for the final act where our intrepid trio set out to take care of the shark and caused no small amount of anxiety for the suits at Universal, who began to nervously suggest that Spielberg simply write the boats into the screenplay, according to production designer Joe Alves : Steven’s idea was to have nothing on the horizon. He wanted to get this vulnerability of three men out there on their boat -- and the shark. The studio kept saying, 'Couldn't you shoot if there was just one boat? Spielberg, however, had other ideas about that : We couldn’t do it. You have three guys out in a rickety boat, hunting a killer shark. What kind of menace is there going to be if there is a family of four only 50 feet away, having a picnic on their sailboat? The situation came about because Alves first saw and admired Martha’s Vineyard uninterrupted horizon during the winter. By the time Spielberg took to the water it was July 1, and with Martha’s Vineyard being one of the more popular ports in the Northeast, boats were bound to be a problem. The prop sharks frequently malfunctioned owing to a series of problems including bad weather, pneumatic hoses taking on saltwater, frames fracturing due to water resistance, corroding skin, and electrolysis. From the first water test onward, the " non-absorbent " neoprene foam that made up the sharks' skin soaked up liquid, causing the sharks to balloon. And the messed up thing about that was the fact that the sharks WERE tested, and rather extensively, at that. But they were originally tested in the tanks on the Universal backlot, which were filled with fresh water, not realizing that the saltwater would wreak havoc on the hydraulic system. And, based on those unknowingly faulty results, Spielberg and his crew ventured into the shoot with a totally unearned sense of bravado and confidence. Gottlieb fell off of a boat and was nearly decapitated, the actors got seasick, and Dreyfuss was nearly trapped in the steel cage in his climactic scene. Spielberg later calculated that out of the daily 12 hour work schedule, on average only about 4 were spent filming. Editor Verna Fields rarely had material to work with during principal photography, as according to Spielberg : We would shoot five scenes in a good day, three in an average day, and none in a bad day. To compound that problem was the fact that the rookie director’s inexperience in feature films caused him to make a rather crucial error behind the camera which became a factor in the delays and derailed a promising start. As he later related : Everything on land went normal. Everything I shot on any form of land went like a normal movie. I actually was on schedule for the first part of the picture. I mistakenly blew all my cover; the scenes I could have held back in case there was a mechanical problem with the shark, in case there was a bad day at sea and we couldn’t shoot because of the height of the waves or the strength of the wind. I foolishly didn’t have enough cover to be able to go back to the shore to keep shooting the shore portions of Jaws and that was completely my fault and no one else’s. So, when we were shut out many days because of mechanical problems and weather problems, all we could do was wait and bounce up and down on the waves and watch each other vomiting over the side. Then there was the cast and crew, who immediately grew disgruntled as the 55 day shooting schedule came and went. As he later recalled : That movie was more than just a filmmaking and eventually a filmgoers experience, that movie was all about human relationships both in front of and behind the scenes because people started to lose their noodles as we spent weeks and then many months on Martha’s Vineyard and then, later, in the Pacific Ocean around Catalina. It took its toll. It feels like half my work was talking people off the ledge, when cast and crew had no idea when we’d ever leave Martha’s Vineyard, when people could return to their wives and families and real lives. They kept turning to me saying, “ When are you going to finish the movie? ” I kept saying, “Ask Mother Nature! I don’t know! Ask the tides! “ What was going down was not human error, it was just the conditions at sea that made it untenable to really be doing what we were somehow doing. The only thing that kept the studio from firing Spielberg during this period was the fact that they knew they were working from a bestselling novel with a huge built in fanbase, with Jaws having sold 5.5 million copies. However, in a case of taking the lemons he was given and making lemonade, Spielberg took advantage of these delays to fine tune the screenplay with Gottlieb. There was also the fact that the malfunctioning sharks forced Spielberg to merely hint at the great white’s presence rather than explicitly show it, with two sterling examples being the scene where it pulls apart the pier apart and the final stretch where the yellow barrels stand in for the great white. There was also the change made to the opening scene, in which Spielberg initially envisioned showing Chrissie Watkins getting graphically eaten and instead ended up simply showing the effects of the attack. As he put it : The shark not working was a godsend. It made me become more like Alfred Hitchcock than like Ray Harryhausen in the sense that Ray Harryhausen in his day could do anything he wanted because he had control of his art. When I didn’t have control of my shark it made me kind of rewrite the whole script without the shark. The film went from a Japanese Saturday matinee horror flick to more of a Hitchcock, the less-you-see-the-more-you-get thriller. Therefore, in many people’s opinions the film was more effective than the way the script actually offered up the shark in at least a dozen more scenes. And so it was. But for as much as we’ve been focusing on Spielberg’s ingenuity, there was another great artist whose contributions were just as vital to the movie’s success , and that’s this magnificently majestic musical maestro…..
Composer John Williams
…..who had previously scored Spielberg’s feature directorial debut The Sugarland Express. What I absolutely love about Williams’ score is that it’s minimalism at its finest. After all, the shark theme is simply two notes played on the tuba. And the hilarious thing about it was Spielberg, upon hearing Williams play those two notes on the piano was said to have laughed, thinking it was a joke. However, he later admitted that the now iconic score was easily 50% responsible for the movie’s success, and Williams later admitted that the score propelled his career into the stratosphere. Williams described the score as " grinding away at you, just as a shark would do, instinctual, relentless, unstoppable. " As he saw similarities between Jaws and pirate movies, at other points in the score he evoked " pirate music ", which he called " primal, but fun and entertaining. " And the final behind the scenes collaborator responsible for bringing the magic of Jaws alive was Verna Fields.
Spielberg and Fields
What I find most impressive about Fields contributions was that not only was the movie impeccably cut together, but she also reworked some of the movie’s scenes, to its benefit, according to Zanuck : She actually came in and reconstructed some scenes that Steven had constructed for comedy and made them terrifying, and some scenes he shot to be terrifying and made them comedy scenes. So kudos to Fields for that. I mean, it would have been something else if she had reworked the scenes and they came out worse. But to have them better, not to mention conveying an entirely different tone than originally intended, is a whole other level of impressive and shows a pro with an astute eye for the big picture. And when Spielberg needed a swimming pool to reshoot the scene with Hooper discovering Ben Gardner and the shark tooth, Fields was more than happy to oblige with hers in Encino, California. In hindsight, the most ironic thing about Jaws’ runaway success was the fact that not only did its auteur not realize the goldmine he had just helmed, but he was convinced it would end his career : Jaws to me was a near-death experience – and a ‘career death’ experience! I went to a party on Martha’s Vineyard and a very well-known actress came over to me and said, ‘I just came back from LA and everybody says this picture is a complete stinker. It’s a total failure and nobody will ever hire you again because you’re profligate in your spending and you’re irresponsible. Everybody’s calling you irresponsible!’ I had never heard the scuttle before, I didn’t ever hear the noise that was coming from Hollywood about me. So I was halfway through shooting the picture and this person tells me that my movie’s a disaster, and I am a disaster, and it’s over. And I really believed for the second half of the film that this was the last time I was ever going to shoot a film on 35mm. The most satisfying thing about Jaws’ runaway success was that a movie that caused its creator sooooo much anxiety and stress, one that made it seem as if a dark cloud was hovering over him for the second half of shooting, ended up launching one of cinema’s most entertaining directorial careers.
Why It’s a Classic
" We started the film without a script, without a cast, and without a shark. Steven was under incredible pressure, more than I’ve ever seen before or since. " - Richard Dreyfuss
The short answer as to why Jaws is a hit would have to be the fact that this is a rare case of a movie that was firing on all cylinders, despite the never ending presence of seemingly insurmountable problems and delays. The finished product, while it’s widely acknowledged as cinema’s first blockbuster, goes so much deeper than that to deliver a thrilling movie populated with sharply defined characters brought to life by solid actors at the top of their game. And the main reason everything came together so beautifully? Why I believe it can be found in these words from New Times magazine’s movie critic Frank Rich’s glowing review, " Spielberg is blessed with a talent that is absurdly absent from most American filmmakers these days: this man actually knows how to tell a story on screen. " And on a related note, if Mr. Rich felt filmmakers lacked the ability to tell a story on screen 40 years ago, I wonder what he would make of the state of cinema today. Anyways, his assessment of Spielberg’s storytelling abilities was on the money, and is the core reason for Jaws’ enduring success. For example, one of the novel’s main subplots was a rather sordid affair between Ellen and Hooper, which he wisely decided to omit in order to make the camaraderie between the three sharh hunters stronger. He also changed the nature of the shark’s demise from the multiple wounds in the novel to the explosive ending seen in the finale, feeling that with all of the preceding tension the audience deserved a more cathartic release. Then there’s the scene of Alex Kintner’s demise, which is my favorite scene. And the main reason why is how Spielberg pretty much makes the camera work a character by using it to put you in the perspective of both the shark and Brody. There’s a moment of shark POV where it meanders among 3 or 4 swimmers, and every time the camera panned to another swimmer I held my breath, convinced that was gonna be the next victim. It’s also pretty masterful how the shark theme is used during these POV shots, thereby priming the audience to expect that an attack is imminent. Another neat trick is how the camera’s effectively used as Brody’s point of view while Harry’s talking to him, with Harry nicely foregrounded, while the swimmers Brody is anxiously watching are kept visible in the background. And then there’s this shot, which occurs when Brody witnesses an attack, and has always been a favorite shot of mine……
I’ve always felt this shot was such a stylish way of indicating shock.
And then there’s the natural feel to the performances, an effect Spielberg sought to offset the artificiality of the shark : The more fake the shark looked in the water, at least to the crew watching it being hauled behind a speedboat, the more my anxiety told me to heighten the naturalism of the performances, as well as have something to play against the massive scale of the shark : I did not want to do a pseudo-documentary style for Jaws ‘cause I wanted Jaws to be a big, slick commercial looking movie, but I needed something to offset the surreality of the shark. I was just trying to find as much naturalism to play against the basic size of the shark. The more natural I could make the performances in the foreground I thought the more people would swallow the weight and size of that great white. I didn’t want this film to be a mythological tale and if everybody played as big as the shark weighed and measured nobody would have believed the shark was real if the people hadn’t been as real. And one of the ways he achieved that naturalism was to film some scenes with overlapping dialogue, a technique that really gave the viewer a sense of peeking in on things as they were happening and that Spielberg claims to have gotten from Robert Altman : That technique for me was always just the way I always observed people having conversations in daily life. I always wondered why movies couldn’t have more naturalism in them; why scenes couldn’t be hybrid scenes between the documentary and the drama. Robert Altman, of course, made it a fine art: background conversations and foreground conversations and even some midground conversations. And I was very influenced, I think, by Altman’s MASH. There’s naturalism in that and yet it’s such a bizarre comedy at the same time. It was realistic because it was about the Korean War, but then it was zany and madcap and he was able to temper all that in a kind of pseudo-documentary style. Even though I feel that’s a brilliant technique, the first scene in which it was used, where Brody gets the call about Chrissie Watkins, initially threw me for a loop due to just how much careful attention had to be paid in order to fully catch everything Brody was saying. And that may very well be a problem for the ADHD afflicted members of the audience. But what I love about it is the fact that if you were standing in the room with those characters watching that scene unfold, there wouldn’t be neatly choreographed exchanges, where first one party speaks and then the other one has a chance. There would be a mass of words tumbling over themselves, much as it happens here, with Ellen and their son Michael constantly conversing in the background. And the second time it occurs, during the town council meeting, it served an even better purpose, which was to convincingly portray the uproar the town was in. After all, the town’s survival was at stake. And you couldn’t reasonably expect a rational discourse to take place in such a situation, which adds immeasurably to the realism. And as a nice little cherry on top, it makes Quint’s screeching interruption of the bedlam all the more effective. So, yeah, the naturalism Spielberg was able to infuse his scenario and characters with was highly impressive and a huge part of the Jaws’ success. But for as much as we’ve examined the classic status of Jaws in relation to its artistic merits ( great casting, natural and believable performances, unbearable suspense, Spielberg’s grace under pressure ), there’s another area that earned the movie that status, and that’s the way it revolutionized the way movies are marketed. Jaws was key in establishing the benefits of a wide national release backed by heavy television advertising, rather than the traditional progressive release in which a film slowly entered new markets and built support over time. Saturation booking, in which a film opens simultaneously at thousands of cinemas, and massive media buys are now commonplace for the major Hollywood studio, which is a change directly attributable to Jaws. Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls has stated how Jaws " diminished the importance of print reviews, making it virtually impossible for a film to build slowly, finding its audience by dint of mere quality. Moreover, Jaws whet corporate appetites for big profits quickly, which is to say, studios wanted every film to be Jaws. " It also revealed summer to be the prime release time for the studios’ intended blockbusters. Before Jaws, winter had long been the sought after release date for the most promising pictures, with summer being the dumping ground for movies the studio had little to no faith in. The thinking was that nobody would want to spend time inside the theaters when they could be outside enjoying a nice, summer day. I know that’s hard to believe now that the summer months are home to roughly 72 blockbusters a year, but it’s true. Another reason for the lesser movies getting wide summer releases was to offset the anticipated bad reviews and negative word of mouth. Even though there were some recent exceptions, such as the rerelease of Billy Jack and the original release of its sequel The Trial of Billy Jack, the Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force, and the latest installments in the James Bond series, the slow release method was still the norm. The movie that seemed to pave the way for Jaws’ own $700,000 marketing blitz was the Charles Bronson thriller Breakout, which was successful enough to instill faith in the still new distribution system, a faith which was amply rewarded with Jaws’ runaway success a year later. And this was despite the number of theaters it was set to open in being cut nearly in half on the orders of Universal chairman……
…….after viewing a test screening. His idea was that fewer screenings would pack more people into the theaters that were showing it, thereby making it seem like more of a phenomenon, with him stating, " I want this picture to run all summer long. I don't want people in Palm Springs to see the picture in Palm Springs. I want them to have to get in their cars and drive to see it in Hollywood. " Nevertheless, the 464 theaters that were still booked for the opening ( scaled back from the originally planned 900 ! ) still represented what was then a massive release. Another way that Jaws blazed trails was in its intense tie-in merchandising, which included a soundtrack album, T-shirts, plastic tumblers, a book about the making of the movie, the book the movie was based on, beach towels, blankets, shark costumes, toy sharks, hobby kits, iron-transfers, games, posters, shark's tooth necklaces, sleepwear, water pistols, and more. That might not seem like the greatest thing nowadays, when it often seems as if movies are created around the merchandise it can peddle ( Cars 2, I’m looking at you ! ), but you can’t deny that it was an unique situation at the time. But perhaps the most important legacy of Jaws can be found in the words of Spielberg himself : It gave me final cut for the rest of my career, but what I really owe to Jaws was creating in me a great deal of humility, about tempering my imagination with just sort of the facts of life. And on a final note, let me point out that in 2001, Jaws was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, being deemed " culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant ", which is befitting a movie that managed to entertain as well as change the industry.
According to Steven Spielberg in the DVD 'making of' documentary, his original idea for introducing Quint was to have him in the local movie theater watching Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck. Quint was to be sitting at the back of the theater and laughing so loudly at the absurd special effects of the whale that he drove the other viewers to exit the theater, leaving Quint by himself. Spielberg says that the only thing that stopped him from doing that scene was Gregory Peck. Peck held part of the rights to that movie and when Spielberg approached him for permission, Peck turned him down. Not because he thought it was a bad idea to use the film that way, but because Peck didn't like his performance in Moby Dick and didn't want the film seen again. Several decades later, Lee Fierro, who plays Mrs. Kintner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an "Alex Kintner Sandwich". She commented that she had played his mother so many years ago. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her - none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn't seen each other since the original movie shoot. During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where "Bruce" the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark's mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg snuck to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas' head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they'd done major damage to the creature. Roy Scheider stated in an interview that in the scene where Lee Fierro smacks him in the face, she was actually hitting him. Apparently, the actress could not fake a slap and so the 17 takes were some of the "most painful" of his acting career. Also, Fierro stated in several interviews that in one of the takes when she slapped Roy Scheider, his glasses fell off. According to Spielberg, the prop arm looked too fake in the scene where Chrissie's remains are discovered, so instead they buried a female crew member in the sand with only her arm exposed. Jaws single-handedly caused a downturn in the package holiday trade. Gene Hackman was considered for the role of Brody. Spielberg estimated the final script had a total of 27 scenes that were not in the book. Robert Shaw taunted Richard Dreyfuss for being out of shape as a young man, and bet he couldn't do ten full pushups. Dreyfuss countered that he could do 20. Shaw then challenged Dreyfuss to have Roy Scheider, a former boxer, make sure he did them right. Scheider then told Dreyfuss he knew how few men could do 20 full pushups, and that Dreyfuss was not one of them. Peter Benchley was not happy with Spielberg’s ending where the shark is killed when a compressed air tank explodes in its mouth, claiming it was unrealistic. Spielberg defended himself by saying he will have held his audiences' attention for two hours and they would believe anything in the end no matter how unrealistic or unbelievable the ending really was. Spielberg even thought of an ending where after the shark is blown up, Brody would look up to see several shark fins.
And because this blog isn’t…..quite…..long enough, here are some cool behind the scenes pics.
" When I think of 'Jaws' I think about courage and stupidity. And I think of both of those things existing underwater. "
After this I plan on watching the sequels and giving my thoughts on those as well!
Had a good time last night with JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE , still feeling like crud so I'll go with another fun watch featuring another smoking cast . Lindsay Lohan , Lacey Chabert , Amanda Seyfried , Rachel McAdams , Lizzy Caplan and Tina Fey star in Tonight's viewing selection Mark Waters MEAN GIRLS . '' Don't have sex , because you will get pregnant and die ! Don't have sex in the missionary position , don't have sex standing up , just don't do it , Ok , promise ? Ok , now everybody take some rubbers . ''
Det. Terry Subcott in 'Hero Wanted' (2008)
Cole Frankel in 'Crossing Over' (2009)
Det. Harrison in 'Observe and Report' (2009)
Jack Doheny in 'Powder Blue' (2009)
Mark Shields in 'La Linea - The Line' (2009)
Lance Wescott in 'Youth in Revolt' (2009)
Joe Miletto in 'Date Night' (2010)
Reggie Kirkfield in 'Snowmen' (2010)
Adult Mickey in 'Chasing 3000' (2010)
Florio Ferrente in 'Charlie St. Cloud' (2010)
Peter Mazzoni in 'The Details' (2011)
Captain Marion Mathers in 'The Son of No One' (2011)
Dr. Brintall in 'All Things Fall Apart' (2011)
Jack Verdon in 'The River Murders' (2011)
Richard Nader in 'The Entitled' (2011)
Jim in 'Ticket Out' (2012)
Markie Trattman in 'Killing Them Softly' (2012)
Sheriff Cooley in 'Breathless' (2012)
Roy Demeo in 'The Iceman' (2012)
Deluca in 'The Place Beyond the Pines' (2012)
Molloy in 'Bad Karma' (2012)
Dr. Robert Michaels in 'The Devil's in the Details' (2013)
Man in the Suit in 'Pawn' (2013)
Tod Shaw in 'Suddenly' (2013)
Big Papa in 'Muppets Most Wanted' (2014)
Jack Roberts in 'Better Living Through Chemistry' (2014)
Reece Wade in 'The Identical' (2014)
Joey in 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For' (2014)
Michael Bloom in 'Revenge of the Green Dragons' (2014)
John Cullen in 'Kill the Messenger' (2014)
Himself in 'Stretch' (2014)
Blackway in 'Blackway' (2015)
Uncle Reed in 'Flock of Dudes' (2016)
Joe Heron in 'The Lonely Lady' (1983)
Ray Sinclair in 'Something Wild' (1986)
Eugene Luciano in 'Dominick and Eugene' (1988)
Shoeless Joe Jackson in 'Field of Dreams' (1989)
Henry Hill in 'Goodfellas' (1990)
Dr. Richard Sturgess in 'Article 99' (1992)
Officer Pete Davis in 'Unlawful Entry' (1992)
Capt. J.T. Robbins in 'No Escape' (1994)
Manny Singer in 'Corrina, Corrina' (1994)
Capt. T.C. Doyle in 'Operation Dumbo Drop' (1995)
David Krane in 'Unforgettable' (1996)
Ryan Weaver in 'Turbulence' (1997)
Gary Figgis in 'Cop Land' (1997)
Harry Collins in 'Phoenix' (1998)
Gate Guard in 'Muppets from Space' (1999)
Mark Brice in 'Forever Mine' (1999)
Nathan Neubauer in 'A Rumor of Angels' (2000)
Paul Krendler in 'Hannibal' (2001)
Dean Cumanno/Vinny Staggliano in 'Heartbreakers' (2001)
Fred Jung in 'Blow' (2001)
Henry Oak in 'Narc' (2002)
Chief Gus Monroe in 'John Q' (2002)
Rhodes in 'Identity' (2003)
Lee Ray Oliver in 'Control' (2004)
Dorothy Macha in 'Revolver' (2005)
Ford Cole in 'Slow Burn' (2005)
Tom in 'Even Money' (2006)
John Talia Sr. in 'Local Color' (2006)
Walter Pearce in 'Comeback Season' (2006)
Donald Carruthers in 'Smokin' Aces' (2006)
Jack in 'Wild Hogs' (2007)
Gallian in 'In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale' (2007)
Mayor Jim Tobin in 'Battle in Seattle' (2007)
*I will continue to update this post as they make more schedules available.
Oct 3- Action Adventure Horror: The Mummy at 7pm followed by The Mummy Returns
Oct 8- 1970's Horror: Alien at 5:00 pm
Oct 9- 1980's Horror: Cujo at 6:00 pm
Oct 22- Slasher: Child’s Play and Seed of Chucky
SyFy's 31 Days of Halloween
Oct 1- PG Horror: Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber at 11 pm
Oct 3- Action Adventure Horror: The Darkest Hour at 2pm, The Faculty at 4pm
Oct 10- 1990's Horror: Blade at 6:30pm
Freeform (aka ABC Family)'s 13 Nights of Halloween
Oct 20- Creepy Kids: The Addams Family at 6:40m followed by Addams Family Values
Oct 21- Tim Burton: Sleepy Hollow at 8:20 pm, Frankenweenie at Midnight
Oct 26- Vampire: Dark Shadows at 5:40 pm
Oct 28- Haunting/Supernatural: Corpse Bride at 2:40pm, Hocus Pocus at 4:40 pm, TNBC at 6:45pm
Oct 29- Your Choice: The Nightmare Before Christmas at 11am, Corpse Bride at 12:35 pm, Dark Shadows at 2:35pm, Addam's Family at 5:15, Addams Family Values at 7:20, Hocus Pocus at 9:25 and Sleepy Hollow at 11:30pm
Oct 30- Your Choice: Scooby-Doo at 11 am followed by the sequel, Addams Family at 3:15 followed by the sequel, Hocus Pocus at 7:25 and Sleepy Hollow at 9:30
Oct 31- Your Choice: Paranorman at 11am, Scooby Doo at 1pm followed by the sequel, Addams Family at 5pm followed by sequel, Hocus Pocys at 9 and then again at Midnight
Wow! Fox’s New TV Series The Exorcist Really is Horrifying!
Quick Review of the New Exorcist (TV Series)
So, the trend is to make many old movies into television series. Some have been devilishly good and others have been Hellishly bad. Honestly, I thought the new Exorcist television show for Fox would be dreadful. I figured it would have been a watered down version of the 1973 original, would be predictable, just an easy way to pop some ratings for the network, and was going to be horrifically terrible. On the other hand, the show was a pleasant surprise of scares, tension, and overall not that bad for a first episode.
The first episode is well acted, and builds up to some disturbing scenes. It stars Alfonso Herrera as a Chicago priest who has a parishioner played by Geena Davis. She believes her daughter may be possessed by an (dramatic pause) evil spirit (like we didn’t see that coming). Also, we come across another priest, played by Ben Daniels, who happens to be performing an exorcism on a young boy.
The show has some really creepy visual images. For instance, a scrawny, sweaty, grey hand darting out of darkness to catch a rat, a crow shattering glass, and the lighting and overall look stays true to the original film. It stays true to the original source material, yet offers some new, intelligent, fresh ideas and scares. My only real complaint is at some points the show drags, and I believe you can tell Geena Davis is the strongest actor/actress in the show, and some parts do feel a little predictable if you have seen horror films or shows like this before.
So these are my final Bitchin’ Buddha thoughts on Fox’s first episode of The Exorcist TV series. It is a show I thought I would not enjoy. On the other hand, I may stick around to see where exactly this series is headed. Had some good scares and visuals. I believe episode one of Fox’s The Exorcist earns a…
This review is brought to you by Boogie Buddha and remember, don’t just get down, but get Boogie. Thank you for reading, and or viewing and I hope you all have an amazing day as always. :)
I'm kinda pissed at myself for not finding these sooner, as I've said many, many times before I'm a big fan of Jampanoi for her work on Martyrs but it's only recently I've discovered...
She's kinda smoking hot.
ON 4K UHD, BLURAY AND DVD NOVEMBER 8TH
ON DIGITAL HD OCTOBER 21ST
Also available with Conservative cover Art
Sausage Party, the first R-rated CG animated movie, is about one sausage leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store. The film features the vocal talents of a who's who of today's comedy stars — Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek.
- GAG REEL
- SHOCK AND AWE: HOW DID THIS GET MADE?
BLURAY AND DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
- SAUSAGE PARTY:THE BOOTH
- SAUSAGE PARTY:THE GREAT BEYOND
- SAUSAGE PARTY:THE PITCH
- SAUSAGE PARTY: SETH ROGEN'S ANIMATION IMAGINATORIUM
Rated R for strong crude sexual content, pervasive language, and drug use.
August 12, 2016 [Theatrical]
October 21,2016 [Digital HD]
November 08, 2016 [UHD,BD & DVD]
Target - steelbook
work in progress. more info will be placed here.
If you had to choose::
Still groggy from her all-too-few hours of sleep the night before, snoopmish woke up in unfamiliar surroundings.
snoopmish turned to see TheChanges smiling at the door, his chirpiness pissed her off.
snoopmish: What time is it?
TheChanges23: Roughly just before noon.
snoopmish: Shit, we didn't... did we?
TheChanges23: No, but thanks for the confidence boost. You crashed here after patrolling cause it was closer, you were out before you were even in the door. I took the couch.
snoopmish: Sorry about that.
TheChanges23: No worries, I know how to get you back for it.
TheChanges smiled at the look of horror on her face as she wondered what he had planned for her.
TheChanges23: We're gearing up for another run, try and find some supplies to ease out the Winter, and we're leaving in half an hour.
snoopmish: Shit, are you serious?
TheChanges23: Afraid so, you'd better get yourself up and ready.
snoopmish: Fuck can you not get someone else to go?
TheChanges23: No can do, we're going all out on this one, as many bodies as possible, and that bow of yours will come in handy.
snoopmish: Fine, Christ give me a minute to get ready will you.
TheChanges23: I'll hold them off as long as I can.
TheChanges left and snoopmish got up and out of bed, immediately regretting leaving her toothbrush at her place.
Up at the medical centre, grelber was changing the bandages on oscar's stump when WalkAway walked in followed by Nick and XS.
grelber37: Sorry, visiting hours are over.
Slick Nick: Come off it doc, we're just here to see how our pal's doing.
oscarxp: You know I'd almost believe that if you didn't come with her.
WalkAway: Told you he'd see right through us. Ok no bullshit doc, we need something from you, something that might seem a little suspicious.
grelber37: You wouldn't be the first one to ask for something like that. What you need?
grelber37:... Alright fair play, I wasn't expecting that answer. Can I ask why?
WalkAway: Will you give it to me if I say no?
WalkAway: Then there's your answer. It's Cobb, we're scared that he might be starting something, if worse comes to it I think it'd be best if you took him out quickly and quietly, the stuff he's doing with the Walkers ain't right.
oscarxp: Religious crisis?
XSsoCX: Maybe, I ain't never seen anything like it before but it's fucking scary.
grelber37: I get the need for the cloroform but do you actually think he's dangerous? Has this got something to do with raz?
WalkAway: No, we found raz's killer, it was Riddle.
oscarxp: Riddle? Shit he's just a kid.
Slick Nick: All the kids are dead oscar, Riddle just looks like one.
WalkAway: Even so, I don't trust Cobb, maybe he won't kill someone directly but this funk he's in is gonna get someone killed if he's not careful. We're still surrounded by Walkers and he's leading them on, all it takes is for one weak spot and this whole town is under siege. I intend not to see that happen.
grelber37: What about you two? What's your stake in this?
Slick Nick: We fucked up doc, the whole situation with Fab put us in a bad light and I want to take us out of it.
XSsoCS: This town is becoming a place where we're all asking 'Who do you trust?' and that's not how it should be, we're in this together, we should trust each other.
grelber37: I agree, and if you think Cobb will be a problem then I'll help you tackle him as well. The chloroform's yours but I need your help with something first, all of you.
WalkAway: What do you need?
grelber37: I need you to help make oscar walk again.
At the front gates the team was readying to move out; a full team consisting of goNADSgo, JohnLocke, JenGirl, MJZ, TheChanges, snoopmish, Laksmikanti, Righteous and RandomQU33N were all gearing up.
Terminal: This feels vaguely familiar.
goNADSgo69: Tell me about it, let's hope this time we don't run across any psycho killers.
JohnnyPHreak: Are you sure you're up for this? Someone else can go, someone that can...
goNADSgo69: Johnny, please this is my job. I know I've been off since last time I killed a guy, that takes something out of you. But I do for a living now, I can handle it.
JohnnyPHreak: If you're sure.
goNADS lifted his boyfriends chin and kissed him, reminded him that he still loved him.
goNADSgo69: I'm sure.
quidditchmom: How long you guys think you'll be.
goNADSgo69: Not sure but it'll be a while, day, two days max. John's got the map, John, over here.
John brought out the map of the area and set it out on the hood of one of the trucks.
goNADSgo69: You look here this is where we've been scavenging, small towns, easy to pick, it's out of the way and no-one really goes there, at least they didn't until Cochise. And this, off to the right, is where we'll be going, the city, specifically the school.
Terminal: Why there?
JohnLocke: Times may have changed but when I was at school they alwasy use to have big piles of rock salt to keep the paths from freezing over, chances are they'll still have some in the basement of something. If not then at the very least the kitchens should still have some.
JenGirl: I didn't think you actually went to school.
JohnLocke: Watch it.
goNADSgo69: You sure you don't want to come with us Term, we could use the extra body.
Terminal: Nah, aside from just having the one hand I think given the circumstances it'd be best I stay and deal with Riddle.
goNADSgo69: Makes sense, what about you quidditchmom?
quidditchmom: Can't, I already promised Johnny I'd help him in the towers, keep an eye out for you guys.
goNADSgo69: You're such a worrier, I told you the radios will do just fine.
JohnnyPHreak: We don't know the range on these things, if you call for help and we can't hear you what happens then?
JenGirl: I'm with Johnny on this one, better to be safe than sorry.
goNADSgo69: Fine, just don't stay up there too long.
Righteous_faustus: Alright fucknuts, lock em and stock em, we're heading out.
JohnnyPHreak: Sometimes I can't believe they let him in the army.
Everyone said their final goodbyes to everyone, RandomQU33N taking a little extra with her husband.
RandomQU33N: You sure you're Ok by yourself.
RandomK1NG: I'll be fine I only threw up once today.
RandomQU33N: Dammit, I'm serious.
RandomK1NG: So am I, look I'm much better now, it was only a bump on the head, so long as I don't move up too fast I'll live. Now go, they need you out there.
QU33N gave her husband one last kiss then jumped in the truck just as Righteous started the engine.
Righteous_faustus: Ready when you are.
At the gate, Mr.Blizzo and Critical started banging on the metal, distracting the Walkers at the entrance and luring them away with the noise, it was a slow process but eventually enough of them were away from the gate to allow the trucks time to pass through without trouble. The gate was shut and locked as soon as they trucks were free, most of the Walkers stayed clawing at the walls but a few of them followed the trucks down the road, their shuffling put them miles behind but they didn't register anything, just the process of food.
quidditchmom: We're gonna grab some lunch to take up to the tower with us, you wanna join?
Terminal: No thanks, I'll stay down here, see if I can't have a word with Riddle before the day is through.
quidditchmom: Sure thing, I'll catch you later.
The two of them kissed before quidditchmom left with Johnny, Terminal turned towards home but a sudden cold wind caught him off-guard. He looked up in the sky and saw the clouds slowly getting heavier and darker.
A heavy snowflake landed on his arm and Term felt fear run up his spine as he recognised the approaching storm.