Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jaws (1975)

From its opening scene, this movie grabs the audience by the throat and never lets them go.  My grandmother was so terrorized by Jaws that she refused to go swimming in the ocean ever again!  This is the genius of Steven Spielberg.  Everything about this film works.  It won three Oscars for Best Musical Score [A John Williams classic], Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.  It lost to One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest for Best Picture.  Personally I think it should have won for Best Picture but horror rarely gets its due!
The premise of Jaws is simple.  A shark terrorizes the town of Amity who tries to ignore it because it's bad for business.  But, in the end, they realize they must confront this terror of the deep before it claims another victim.  It's a formula we've seen many times before but it's rarely done this well.  With an excellent screenplay and magnificent direction, Jaws makes the genre feel fresh and new again.  Granted, the animatronic shark was a technical nightmare to work with but Spielberg employed a trick he learned from Hitchcock: What you don't see if far more scarier than what you actually see.  We really don't view the shark on screen until the end of the picture.  Yet, it's ominous presence is very much alive and well in our minds throughout the film.  Brilliant!  In an age of torture porn, I only wish modern filmmakers would realize the power of understatement.
The cast of Jaws is a trifecta of perfection.  Roy Scheider is police chief Martin Brody who is the heart and soul of this film.  He is an everyday hero who is more like TV's Chuck than Chuck Norris.  Richard Dreyfuss is marine biologist Matt Hooper who is the brains of this film.  He is the perfect foil for Robert Shaw who plays the crusty old seaman Quint.  The scenes the three of them are in together are simply movie magic.
What more needs to be said?  If you somehow missed this one, watch it as soon as possible.  Jaws is the kind of film that made me fall in love with movies when I was a wee little lad.
RATING: Excellent.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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