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Jaws (1975) - Steven Spielberg

Related: blockbuster - New Hollywood - horror cinema - American cinema - Steven Spielberg

See also: Piranha (1978)

Jaws (1975) - Steven Spielberg [Amazon.com]


    In the vastly overrated 1998 book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the blame for Hollywood's blockbuster mentality at least partially on Steven Spielberg's box-office success with this adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel. But you can't blame Spielberg for making a terrific movie, which Jaws definitely is. The story of a Long Island town whose summer tourist business is suddenly threatened by great-white-shark attacks on humans bypasses the potboiler trappings of Benchley's book and goes straight for the jugular with beautifully crafted, crowd-pleasing sequences of action and suspense supported by a trio of terrific performances by Roy Scheider (as the local sheriff), Richard Dreyfuss (as a shark specialist), and particularly Robert Shaw (as the old fisherman who offers to hunt the shark down). The sequences on Shaw's boat--as the three of them realize that in fact the shark is hunting them--are what entertaining moviemaking is all about. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com

    A young director by the name of Steven Spielberg made a nature-in-revolt film to match Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) in 1975, this time with a shark as nature's champion against an undeserving human race; Jaws became the highest grossing film ever up to that point, and arguably remains Spielberg's masterpiece in terms of directorial style (I tend to agree with this assessment).

    If these huge big-budget affairs were the children of Rosemary's Baby (Rosemary's grandchildren?), then what about the offspring of the other classic horror film released in 1968? --Noel O'Shea in Seminal Horror Films, 1919 - 1999

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