Jaws (1975)
July 8, 2014 10:21 AM - Subscribe

When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
posted by mathowie (44 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: We're going to need a bigger post.

A year or so ago, they did a classic movie series at a local theater, and Jaws was shown on a Thursday night. It was absolutely the perfect movie to take my then-10-year-old boy to (it was my first time seeing it too). He LOVED it, and still watches it every chance he gets.

Probably the most disturbing part for me was the fingernail-chalkboard thing, which took me by complete surprise and made me about jump out of my seat. I've gotta leave the room when that part comes on now.

Also, love the fact that there was an actual shooting star captured during one of the dusk scenes, totally by accident.
posted by jbickers at 10:32 AM on July 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


I have a couple of vivid memories of seeing this as a kid...I think the first time I ever saw it was when I was probably 7 or 8 at a shark-themed overnight lock-in at the Jacksonville Museum of Science & History*...My only specific memory of that is that they would pause it before the particularly violent parts to let the smaller kids leave the room.

Then a few years later I remember coming home from summer camp and my parents had recorded Jaws 1 and 2 from a double-feature on WGN or TBS, and that night I watched them both and loved it. I specifically remember the cheap graphic that the station had put together for the presentation, that would play just before and just after commercial breaks...Orange sunset graphic of the ocean surface from a distance with a big ol' fin coming out of it...and in dark print above the horizon: "JAWS".

At that age I always lumped the first two movies together because the visual asthetics, cast, locations were so similar, but of course as I've grown older I've come to recognize the second one as a b-movie (possibly the best Jaws rip-off of that era, from a very large pool of contenders, but: World's Tallest Dwarf, etc.) and the original as a work of art.

* I see on their website that they're still doing the shark "camp-ins," which makes me so, so happy.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:35 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


[Memory update: I must have seen at least one of them before that museum lock-in, because now I remember that they had the poster for Jaws: The Revenge up in the museum, it hadn't come out yet and it made me so excited to see that terrible, terrible movie...So I feel like I must have had some knowledge of the earlier ones at that point...Maybe I'd just heard about them.]
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:40 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


This movie is probably the best argument ever in favor of the serendipity of analog special and visual effects. If Bruce the shark had worked properly, this would be a very different movie and probably much less effective.

The cast in this is amazing, so naturalistic and real in a way that is completely absent from modern blockbusters. (Love the dinner scene at the Brody's and the drunken singing aboard the Orca.)

People will be talking about Robert Shaw's Indianapolis monologue (written by John Milius and edited down by Shaw) long after you and I are dead.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:41 AM on July 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I actually knew the finger nails thing was coming, but I haven't seen the movie in probably 20 years, so I just kept muting it randomly during that scene to avoid it.

It's a really good movie, much better than it has any right to be given the premise.

I love the mayor's fantastically terrible anchor jacket. It's a real underrated star of the movie.

To a modern audience, it seems kind of slow, and I think the slowness works really well and makes it a much better movie than if they tried to make it in a faster paced style. It's an hour in before they really get down to finding and killing the shark and then it's all quick bits of action followed by long periods of just doing nothing. This does two things: 1) It makes it a shark hunting movie not a straight up action movie with a shark, these are the rhythms of hunting not action movies, 2) Makes it crystal clear that it's the shark, not our trio of heroes who's in charge. The creature you can barely see, that appears when it wants to, not when you want it to, is so much scarier than otherwise.

shark-themed overnight lock-in at the Jacksonville Museum of Science & History*

When I was eight I would have literally murdered you to take your place at this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:48 AM on July 8, 2014 [5 favorites]


The cast in this is amazing, so naturalistic and real in a way that is completely absent from modern blockbusters.

In college a guy I sort-of knew and had talked movies with before tried to start a conversation with me by saying, "You know what the most unrealistic movie is? Jaws."

Me: "How so?"

Him: "No one really acts like that."

And he didn't have anything more to say to back it up. I remember just kind of laughing and changing the subject so that we didn't start fighting, but I read in that empty explanation and his tone that it was something that someone smarter than him had said, they might have had a point to make but he had missed it, and he was passing it off as his own wisdom. What I should have said was, "How many small-town police chiefs and grizzled old fishermen do you know in real life?"

To a modern audience, it seems kind of slow, and I think the slowness works really well and makes it a much better movie than if they tried to make it in a faster paced style. It's an hour in before they really get down to finding and killing the shark and then it's all quick bits of action followed by long periods of just doing nothing. This does two things: 1) It makes it a shark hunting movie not a straight up action movie with a shark, these are the rhythms of hunting not action movies, 2) Makes it crystal clear that it's the shark, not our trio of heroes who's in charge. The creature you can barely see, that appears when it wants to, not when you want it to, is so much scarier than otherwise.

And this reminds me something else dumb that someone I know once said about Jaws, more recently: a former roommate and I were watching it, and he said, "They should remake this, but cut out all of the stuff in town and just have it be the chase at sea." Which is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to boring, forgettable "spectacle" movies these days. "What's with all of this character development and story escalation? Get to the good stuff!!"
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


I watched this for the first time last year. The thing that really struck me was how long the individual shots lasted during the action sequences. These days those scenes would have a cut every second or two.
posted by dfan at 11:10 AM on July 8, 2014


The thing that really struck me was how long the individual shots lasted during the action sequences.

It's all about not relying solely on the editing to maintain a rhythm, but using movement of/within individual shots in conjunction with the editing...Spielberg is a master of the technique.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Which is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to boring, forgettable "spectacle" movies these days. "What's with all of this character development and story escalation? Get to the good stuff!!"

It certainly would be a very different movie if it weren't set against the backdrop of political incompetence and economic self-interest in Amity. Brody's ultimate success, where both Quint and Hooper failed, is easy to read (probably correctly) as a vindication of the everyman where various authorities failed, but of course you have to actually tell the story to get there.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:20 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I just reread that it's wrong to lump Quint, Hooper, and the Mayor/political types in Amity together, obviously, which I sort of did there. It remains true, however, that Hooper fails, and Quint gets eaten, and it's down to the person who has the least claim to being able to kill a shark to kill it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:24 AM on July 8, 2014


Some things that I've only picked up on in the last few years:

Mayor Vaughn* is shown fiddling with an unlit cigarette early in the movie, in the town hall meeting just after Alex Kintner is killed, and is later shown smoking for the first time, just after the rowboat guy is killed in the estuary when he and Brody are talking in the hospital. Was he trying to quit and then relapsed under the pressure of being the "mayor of Shark City"?

The dynamics among Brody, Hooper and Quint are illustrated in how they each handle alchohol. Brody is shown early on to be a champion drinker, starting with Ellen's gladly accepted "Wanna get drunk and fool around?" invitation...When Hooper comes over for dinner, Brody pours himself an entire tall dinner glass of (unaerated) wine, and Hooper just wants a standard little taster of it. Later when the two of them meet with Quint for the first time, Quint hands Brody a shot of homemade rocket fuel, which Brody can't handle. He sips it, then grimaces and immediately spits it out...He hands the rest to Hooper and warns him not to drink it, but Hooper does (with a cough), presumably to prove his toughness to Quint. The whole exchange shows Brody leaving his element and Hooper stepping up in the hierarchy. Later on the boat, Quint and Hooper have a wordless exchange of attempted one-upmanship with Quint shotgunning a beer and crushing the can followed by Hooper shooting what is likely water and crushing the paper cup...But then in the scar-comparison scene, in which Quint and Hooper finally bond but Brody is left on the sidelines with nothing to contribute but his appendix scar, Quint and Hooper are drinking (in fact they're drunk) but Brody is sober. From then on Brody is securely at the bottom of the totem pole, which makes Brody's ultimate success at killing the shark after Quint's and Hooper's failures (as Bulgaroktonos mentioned above) all the more satisfying.

* I just know that there must be a significance to when/why Vaughn wears either the anchor blazer or the Fruit Stripe blazer, but I'm going to need an afternoon and pot of black coffee to tackle breaking that one down.
posted by doctornecessiter at 12:00 PM on July 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


I…I have so much to say I don't know where to start typing.

I am a designer now, because I loved that poster so, so very much. I always thought it was a strange way to visualize a shark, but it turns out it's a mako model from the Museum of Natural History just turned over and photographed. I met the artist, Roger Kastel once and he was so nice.

There's a moment where Quint says to Brody "We're heading in" and in the deep tones of the soundtrack you can hear a very slow version of the "Amity" theme.

The moment where Quint looks at the life jackets that he'll never put on again in his sinking boat and the orchestra mocks with a quote of "farewell and adieu to you fair spanish ladies" before a low tone that tells you that those sing song days are over.

The "hidden" jump cut after "You got any better suggestions?" to the cage construction is such a solid piece of editing.

They ordered an underpowered motor that drove the shark out of the water when it landed on the Orca, so much so that Spielberg was really upset that an extra $100 a few months before would have made the climax so much better and said the shark looked like a limp penis. This is difficult to unsee.

Also difficult to unsee in that shot, particularly on BluRay is that Quint and Brody are clearly stunt doubles (almost positive Brody is played by Ted Grossman, who was the fisherman of "you guys okay over dere"

How amazing are those two shots of the shark under the water and Ted sliding off? So many chills. Bruce looks amazing.

Right after that, when the fin is going under the bridge, it passes behind a piece of the bridge and…stops.

You know what's another great cut? When Brody is running screen left to screen right and we're panning with him and then we jump cut to a still camera but the shark moving from right to left (with Sean in the foreground). And look at how far down in the water the fin is. We're barely catching a glimpse of it. There were probably shots of the full fin, but Verna cut them. Such a good choice.

Everybody's always like "oh you don't see the shark, its so powerful" and yes, it's true. They say "its because you get to fill in with your imagination", but i don't agree. I think because it feels real. Real animals don't pose. They're under murky water and you are incidental to them. That's what it's like to be around them.
posted by Brainy at 12:05 PM on July 8, 2014 [6 favorites]


Jaws is responsible for one of the most vivid nightmares of my life.

I was 5 or 7, and my 2-years-older brother decided it would be funny to read the beginning of the book out loud to me. That night, I had a dream in which I was lying in bed looking out into the hallway, and saw the shark (as pictured on the old book cover) swimming his way through the floorboards towards me, as I lay there petrified with fear, and then he leapt up to bite me, and it ended. The next morning when I told my parents about the horrible dream, I was told that they knew already, because I'd woken everyone up with my screaming. I had no memory of anything that my brother had read to me, but the dream was burned into my brain. I used to worry that the shark would come back and get me if I didn't go to bed on time, like it was living under my bed somewhere. And I had some fear issues when learning to swim (or even later - went waterskiing once in Lake George, Maine, and even though I was old enough to know logically that it was shark-free, when waiting for the boat to come around after my many failed attempts at getting up on the skis, bobbing around in water clear enough for me to see my whole body, yet too deep to see the lake-bottom, made me deeply uneasy. Still does).

I think it was in my late teens or maybe early 20s that I decided to read the beginning of the book to see what had traumatized me, and to finally watch the movie. It was so cathartic! Such a relief to finally see what I'd been so afraid of - because my fear was completely justified, that opening is terrifying! Also cathartic because it's such a perfect movie. Now I end up watching it again whenever it turns up on my tv.

Regarding the USS Indianapolis scene - I didn't realize it was an actual historical event & not just something made up for the movie until I came across this book about it - In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors which is utterly heartbreaking. Highly recommended for any Jaws and/or history buff.
posted by oh yeah! at 1:28 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


To this day, no matter that I've seen Jaws many, many times over the years, Robert Shaw's monologue about the USS Indianapolis still raises the hair on the back of my neck and gives me a cold chill.

I think it's a shame that he wasn't even nominated for an Academy Award for that role. I would have handed him the Oscar that monologue alone. Shaw was just pitch perfect.
posted by jessian at 1:52 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


This post is cool, but I'm holding out for Jaws: The Revenge (This time it's personal).
posted by MoonOrb at 3:02 PM on July 8, 2014


Apparently Milius originally wrote 10 pages for the Indianapolis monologue, but Shaw cut it down to five. Spielberg has said he has no idea what happened to other five, neither Milius nor Spielberg have a copy.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:57 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


So...

A kid named J. Voorhees died in the water when his mother should have been watching him, and in her grief she seeks retribution from the authority figures that she holds responsible. I feel like that might make a decent enough movie just on its own.

Jeffrey Voorhees: When they did Jaws 2 they filmed on the island again and we all went down to be extras once more and I was told ‘Wait a minute you can’t be in this, you were dead in the first film’, so they wouldn’t let me be in the sequel.

I think they should have let him be in Jaws 2. In fact how cool would it have been if they'd made him the main villain in the sequel?
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:34 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Post goes on the page, you go on the page. Commenters in the thread. Our commenters..
...
Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.

I love this movie. I never caught that with Brody, Hooper and Quint. Quint is drinking Narragansett , and it was in the old steel cans, so crushing one is a little harder than it is nowadays.

One of my grandfather's cronies was on the Indianapolis. He didn't talk about it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:11 PM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I also caught that Quint was drinking Narragansett and loved it.

I'd also like to support more movies with knot tying scenes, both high stakes and relaxed.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:34 AM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Brainy: “You know what's another great cut? When Brody is running screen left to screen right and we're panning with him and then we jump cut to a still camera but the shark moving from right to left (with Sean in the foreground). And look at how far down in the water the fin is. We're barely catching a glimpse of it. There were probably shots of the full fin, but Verna cut them. Such a good choice. ”
For my money the seconds that follow, "Michael's in The Pond," are the shots in the movie that mark it as a masterpiece.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:16 AM on July 9, 2014


...We jump cut to a still camera but the shark moving from right to left (with Sean in the foreground).

Not that it has any great meaning to the film's structure but as an a fun aside: that shot is at the exact mid-point of the film's total running time. (self-link)
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:07 AM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Jaws is one of those 'Well I guess I'm not doing anything else for the next 2 hours' when it comes on TV type of movies, worth re-watching every time. The pacing is so great that even when you know what's coming you still jump.

I must have been pretty young the first time I saw it, because I remember sitting on my sister's friend's lap while watching it on the TV - must have been the Saturday night movie - and during one of the jumpy scenes, that's exactly what happened. As she screamed and jumped, I flew pretty much clear across the room, landing safely on my butt on the carpeted floor. This was followed by a lot of laughter at a slapstick moment in our living room, combined with the laughter of nervous relief from a genuinely scary moment on the TV.
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2014


Everybody's always like "oh you don't see the shark, its so powerful" and yes, it's true.

And I also think this was one of the strongest features of the movie - that in order to carry out the plot, we have to see the shark, but also by the time we see the shark it's fully out of suspense/thriller mode and deep into character development/triumph against adversity mode. I'll also echo the comments about how using a physical shark and not CGing it made it feel very real in terms of the actors' interaction with the shark. And I like the shark. I don't think it looks fake!

Similarly to doctornecessiter, I don't have enough coffee to dissect this, but there's something very interesting going on with the fact that the underwater scenes achieve the goal of not showing the shark by giving the audience the shark's POV. Is there some kind of purpose to making us the shark?
posted by capricorn at 12:29 PM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really don't have a lot to add to this discussion other than that I wish more movies would add suspense by having longer shots and not cutting away every 2 seconds.

Not directly related, but someone upthread already mentioned the book so I will invite myself to join that conversation. Jaws was a good novel, but Beast was so much better in every regard. Sure, it is the same exact novel but with a squid instead of a shark, but it is just so much more exciting.
posted by Literaryhero at 9:40 PM on July 9, 2014


I read the book as a kid and I liked it, though I knew the movie by then and the differences in the characters were strange. I re-read it a couple of years ago (with maybe 30-50 more viewings of the movie under my belt) and those character changes were actually kind of depressing to me...Without spoiling for those who haven't read it but might want to, there's a lot more animosity among characters who get along great in the movie, supported by some soap-opera backstory (and back-stabbing) that the movie omitted. I'm not saying that that stuff is necessarily bad, but it gives the book a very different feeling than the movie, while telling basically the same story.

Literaryhero, have you read Benchley's White Shark? I know nothing about it, but I have a cheap used copy of it lying around. Whenever I see the title I think of Samuel Fuller's White Dog and think that maybe the shark is racist.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:18 AM on July 10, 2014


The dynamics among Brody, Hooper and Quint...

It probably took me until my third or fourth viewing of the movie - which is likely more about my age at the time than needing that many views - to really see and understand how beautifully done the male posturing/dominance things are done amongst the three; it's in the drinking, it's in so many little exchanges and asides between Quint and Hooper and Brody. Watching the three of them together on the boat has become my favourite part of seeing Jaws. It's great directing, and it's great acting; it's just a small, wonderful part of what makes the movie great.
posted by nubs at 11:07 AM on July 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was going to post the link doctornecessiter did, so I don't have much to add at this point.

Only that I used to rent the Jaws movies all the time as a kid, enjoy the heck out of them, but always cry when they killed the shark at the end.

Something's wrong with me.
posted by brundlefly at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2014


My parents wouldn't let me see this movie when it came out but they didn't really monitor what I read, so of course I got a copy of Jaws.

I was pretty creeped out by the book, but nothing to do with the shark - the affair subplot between Hooper and Brodie's wife was just too much for me. There's a scene where they are talking about what their first encounter would be like, and Hooper was going on about how it would start as basically an assault because he wouldn't be able to control himself - 10 year old me was just "Ewwww, that's what sex is about?"

I was so happy none of that was in the movie!
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:17 PM on July 10, 2014


I noticed this morning that my son has evidently recorded "Jaws: The Revenge" to the DVR. I know this film is legendarily bad, but is the fun kind of bad or just BAD bad?
posted by jbickers at 1:21 PM on July 10, 2014


Bad bad. Deadly dull. The only bright spot is that the filmmakers don't seem to realize what a shark is and have it roaring.
posted by brundlefly at 1:49 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


I noticed this morning that my son has evidently recorded "Jaws: The Revenge" to the DVR. I know this film is legendarily bad, but is the fun kind of bad or just BAD bad?

This is the film about which Michael Caine supposedly said, "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."
posted by MoonOrb at 2:30 PM on July 10, 2014


I approve of Jaws for many reasons, including the fact that there's a character named Hooper. Hoopers seem to have peaked in film with Burt Reynolds as Hooper, the Greatest Stuntman Alive in 1978. Which is pretty cool by most standards, but seriously that's 35+ years without another truly memorable Hooper on film. To my knowledge, anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 4:06 PM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


AMC seems to have a go on this right now, so I'm seeing bits and pieces of it for days (which seems appropriate...). And tonight I caught the "That's some bad hat, Harry." line. I suspected Singer was referencing something with his show ending, but the last time I saw Jaws I was a teenager in the 80s so I had no recollection of it. What a great line.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:45 PM on July 10, 2014


Speaking of [trying to forget] Jaws: The Revenge, I want to point out how good and generally unsung Lorraine Gary is in the original. She happens to be married to Sid Sheinberg, who was Spielberg's mentor and at the time was president of Universal, but there's no need to cry "nepotism!" because she's just so natural. Her chemistry with Scheider is fantastic...And look at her subtley in the "making faces" scene between Martin and Sean.

"Michael! Did you hear your father, out of the water now! NOW!"

It's a shame she hasn't done more acting, and it's too bad they never made a fourth Jaws movie for her to star in as the lead.
posted by doctornecessiter at 4:46 AM on July 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I may be getting some of the details wrong, but here's my favorite thing about Jaws 4:

At the beginning, Ellen Brody's youngest son is killed by the shark. Wracked with grief, she decides to visit her older son in the Bahamas. While she's there, Michael Caine starts flirting with her. She resists his advances, but someone (her son? her daughter-in-law?) tells her that it's high time she moved on with her life. She can't keep living in the past.

To be clear, this is literally within weeks of her son being brutally killed by a shark.
posted by brundlefly at 8:30 AM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


someone (her son? her daughter-in-law?) tells her that it's high time she moved on with her life. She can't keep living in the past.

Maybe it was someone who had wandered onto the set and was telling her not to do that movie. They didn't know the cameras were rolling.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:45 AM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


A friend was just telling me--not positive it's true--that Hooper wasn't supposed to survive the cage scene but they had luck last minute getting real footage of a shark attacking an empty cage so they rewrote the scene such that he managed to escape. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I find that intriguing because it changes the thrust of the conclusion to me (and I think Hooper getting eaten would've made more sense); as it stands it feels like the ending is whispering a touch more Anti-Quint and what his worldview represents than just Pro-Brody (what I think the movie is actually trying to go for) and what he represents (but that always felt weird to me too because the movie isn't really Anti-Quint otherwise until right before it happens and he kind of loses it, and it could be argued it rolls its eyes most at Hooper and really Quint's death has more to do with a kind of sad poeticism after his monologue...).
posted by ifjuly at 7:55 AM on July 13, 2014


A friend was just telling me--not positive it's true--that Hooper wasn't supposed to survive the cage scene

In the book, he doesn't survive (and I seem to recall some level of insinuation that Brody had pieced together the fact that Hooper had slept with his wife, and didn't do/was late to do something that might have saved Hooper. But it's been a couple of decades since I read the book, so my memory might be very hazy). I've always wondered at that change in the film; it doesn't seem to really add anything to have Hooper survive - but I'm not sure how much it takes away either.
posted by nubs at 3:01 PM on July 14, 2014


Jaws: the Inside Story
posted by nubs at 3:55 PM on July 14, 2014


A friend was just telling me--not positive it's true--that Hooper wasn't supposed to survive the cage scene but they had luck last minute getting real footage of a shark attacking an empty cage so they rewrote the scene such that he managed to escape.

That's it, as I understand the story. They were filming a normal-size shark with a miniature of the cage, and they managed to get that shot of the shark violently flopping around on top of the cage while it was empty (I know they'd had a small person in the cage at one point doubling for Hooper, I think they said that he was terrified and didn't stay for long)...The shot looked so great that they felt they needed to use it...But of course in that shot the cage is empty, and there was no blood in the water, thus Hooper lived.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:13 AM on July 15, 2014


Yeah, that documentary I linked above covers it - they had a crew off the coast of Australia getting shark footage. The problem was, the sharks they were finding were not the size of Bruce, so they used a small person in the cage to try to get what they needed - but apparently the problem was that his air tanks (which were to scale) didn't last long, particularly given the situation.

So they had the cage in the water and the cameras going, but the stand-in was not in the cage yet that morning and a shark went nuts, attacking the cage, getting tangled on top of it, bending the bars, and so forth. It was awesome footage, so they used it - but that meant keeping Hooper alive.
posted by nubs at 7:15 AM on July 16, 2014


I totally missed this thread when it first happened but it got linked from the 'best underrated comments' meta thread so I found it. God, such a good movie. The male posturing stuff is even more layered when played against some of the stuff from the book - IIRC, Hooper sleeps with Brody's wife.

The Indianapolis monologue is truly incredible, both for the performance and the staging and the other characters - Hooper's affect changes so hard that you can hear the brakes squeal as his brain does a bootlegger's turn. A lesser film might've had music or some other distraction, but it's just there, surrounded by silence and ocean.

(seconding the book recommendation for "in harm's way" - it was one of the main sources of info for the mefi post I did about the Indianapolis a couple of years ago.)
posted by rmd1023 at 4:59 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's on TV right now. I'm always surprised at what a fantastic movie it is. I don't know why I'm surprised - it was the first blockbuster, and I remember the incredible buzz around it, and going to see it over and over. It's a masterclass of film-making right there, and it was the first time I'd had a chance to see the tropes of the classier end of 70s moviemaking (gorgeous Coppola-esque cinematography, Altman-like overlapping dialogue). I'm surprised how someone says upthread that they think it's slow - I was taken by how efficiently and quickly it does everything and introduces the characters. There really isn't a wasted shot in the whole film, or at least as far as it's got so far ("Here's to swimming' with bow-legged women.")

Oh, and I always thought the scar Brody doesn't show was a gunshot wound (which I thought was very resonant w/r/t different kinds of masculinity on display), and am disappointed to read that it's actually an appendix scar.
posted by Grangousier at 3:40 PM on December 28, 2016


Two little details I noticed this time through:

1. The click / click-click of Quint's fishing reel is a direct ancestor of the Jurassic Park thump / water-ripple.

2. Three dinner plates on the table in the drinking/scar-boasting/Indianapolis scene; two finished, one untouched -- Brody's, of course, another indicator of how out of his element he is on the boat.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:16 AM on July 30


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