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Excellent and very detailed documentary on the making of a classic. Filled with appealing trivia, exhaustive interviews with cast and crew members, and never before seen footage. Written by
Marco Rambaldi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
almost everything you always wanted to know about Jaws (but didn't think to ask)
Ever watch Jaws and think 'man, I can't believe how they build suspense with showing so little of the shark in the first third of the movie', or 'I wonder how John Williams got the theme that's so bad-ass', or 'was Robert Shaw really drunk as he looked?' These and more are answered in the most in-depth documentary done yet on the making of the seminal Spielberg blockbuster, the one that "changed movies" just by the sheer amount of money it made, but also how it was marketed, and what it intended for a mass audience (what isn't discussed so much is how it was basically an 'A' 'B' movie, that is with a lot of the hallmarks of what one might find in a Roger Corman movie, but with, you know, better actors, a better director and sharper writing, but I digress).
Everything from Peter Benchley's origins with the book, to how quickly the rights were picked up, and then on to the physical production (Spielberg's script changes, the casting, the shark - oh, that darn Bruce - and filming on Martha's Vinyard), and of course through the production problems incurred not just due to the shark (that is, it didn't work like 75% of the time) but that shooting out at sea means a lot of waiting and natural problems. It's all covered; I would think this would be the next best thing if one decided to fore-go the also seminal 'Jaws Log' by writer Carl Gottlieb, which also chronicles the making of the film but from a more insider perspective.
The plus side to this doc from what I imagine is covered in the Gottleib book is that it gives so many voices to what went on, from little things like how the sign they had on the island (the one that says 'Welcome to Amity' and is then defaced as a sharp joke) was not originally there and had to be taken down after one day, to big things like the origin of the greatest scene in the picture, the Indianapolis monologue. It's more like an oral history which, at two hours (that I only finally got to really sink my teeth into, no pun intended, with the Jaws blu-ray recently released), gives enough voice to what was difficult about making the film, but also the happy surprises, such as the camaraderie that happened on set, and the improvisation that came from so much down time as to focus more on the characters and relationships.
So if you want to know it all, from Spielberg's panic attacks to a funny-horrifying tale of the 'little' stunt double in the cage in the water, this is the one to check out. For a film freak like me it's like a bag of chips I don't want to stop eating. For the casual movie-watcher, it's full of facts that will either keep you enthralled, or, if not, the movie's still on the disc!
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