This summer has seen the usual array of Hollywood blockbusters. Also released in June was the unexpected re-release of the original film to be termed ‘Blockbuster’, Steven Spielberg’s classic chiller/adventure of 1975, JAWS.
Spielberg wisely has not added any gimmicky new scenes into the film, (or even worse, made the shark CGI) as he did with the re-release of ET, but has instead digitally restored it to its original glory. 37 years after its original release, The film also happens to be my favourite film of all time, bar none.
Although I have it on DVD, and have seen it at least twenty times, I went to the cinema to see it again of course. I am usually sceptical about films being digitally messed with, but wow, what a restoration, it is immaculate, not a single scratch or line, and I fell in love with it all over again.
The sound is wonderful, particularly John Williams fabulous score… der dum der dum der dum. The head in the boat still makes you jump out of your skin, and the killing of the young boy on the beach is still horrific. The restoration making that blood seem even redder.
What really amazes though, is the acting, the three leads, are superb, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw as the three men out to kill the shark, are such strong characterisations, wonderfully performed. Murray Hamilton and Lorraine Gary are just as good in support. Although the mechanical shark gets plenty of criticism in some quarters, I think its bloody marvellous, and is seamlessly mixed with the footage of real sharks.
I first saw JAWS at the tender age of seven, on its second time around British cinemas in 1979. These were the days when films went around a couple of times, because video recorders were not yet widely owned by the public. I remember the occasion vividly, my lovely Mother had taken my older cousins and myself to Cheltenham ABC (Sadly long since demolished in 1981) and I believe this was where my love of cinema, and horror cinema in particular really began. Some years later, when the film was first shown on British television, none of my school friends believed I had already seen it, and this really wound me up at the time. Sheer frustration.
The still chilling story of a shark eating the swimmers of a beach resort, terrified and excited me. I remember Mum, covering my eyes when the shark was eating Robert Shaw’s Quint, but she need not have worried, for I loved it, especially the blood coming out of Quint’s mouth, as the shark devour’s him. The birth of a cinematic gorehound, then in 1979.