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Jaws

Jaws

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Published by Kym Mumford

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Published by: Kym Mumford on Feb 12, 2013
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 Jaws
(1975) By Steven Spielberg
 Jaws
is a 1975 American horror/ Thriller film bySteven Spielberg, based on a novel of the samename by Peter Benchley. The film suffered a fewproblems during production going over budgetand past schedule. The mechanical shark had afew malfunctions and Spielberg decided tomostly suggest the animals presence. At the timeof release
 Jaws
became the highest grossing film.It won several awards for the soundtrack andediting and is sometimes mentioned as one of thegreatest films of all time. Peter Bradshaw sayingit was one of the classics "This is a suspenseclassic that leaves teeth-marks." (Bradshaw,2012)Kicking off with a beach party in theevening that follows a young girl and guy wholeave the party to go skinny dipping. The beingso drunk passes out on the waters edge unnoticedby the girl whose already in the sea swimming.She's then seized by something below anddragged down. Her body is found and themedical examiner informs Brody that she waskilled by a shark. Brody plans to shut down tbeach but he's overruled by the Mayor whose only concern is that summers truism,and the negative effect news of a shark attack could be. A young boy is then killedand his mother offers up a reward for anyone who brings back the dead shark. Thisreward attracts a number amateur shark hunters who manage to catch a tiger sharthe towns people believe their problems are solved. Not believing this Brody andHooper go to investigate the waters after discovering that the sharks stomach contentis only fish. They discover a wrecked ship with the fisherman's body inside, and ashark tooth embedded in the boat. The Mayor still refuses to close the beach, and aman is killed. The mayor finally concedes to hiring Quint a professional shark catcher. Brody, Quint and Hopper set out to find the shark and kill it. They suffer afew attacks from the shark as it tries to find it's way into the boat. The boatbecomes immobilised. Hopper in a desperate attempt to kill the shark climbs insidethe shark cage with the intention of injecting it with Strychnine. The plan fails whenthe shark destroys the cage but Hooper manages to escape. The shark then turns itsattention back tot the boat and kills Quint. Brody thinking he's the only one left aliveshoots a pressurized air tank that he managed to shove into the sharks mouth. Thebullet hits the tank and explodes killing the shark. Hoop swims to the surface and ttwo of them make their way to s hek andeventuallyhehore.
Figure 1
 Jaws
(1975) Steven Spielberg
The film received a number of raving reviews some just commenting on theexcitement the film gave or the dread they felt when they first watched it. There werethose that complemented Spielberg's rather creative filming and editing choices."Spielberg works self-effacingly, with subtly correct camera placement andmeticulous editing. He twists our guts with false alarms, giving us the real thing withheart-stopping suddenness." ( Time Magazine, 2008). Not everyone felt the sameabout the film though, Vincent Canby in particular felt that the film lacked certain
 
elements, and that the characters have verylittle depth to them. "If you are what youeat, then one of the sharks in "Jaws" is abeer can, half a mackerel and a Louisianalicense plate. Another is a pretty youngwoman, a cylinder of oxygen, a small boy,a scout master and still more. The othercharacters in the film are nowhere nearlyso fully packed." He did however alsocomplement Spielbergs directing if inquite a backhanded manner. "It has beencleverly directed by Steven Spielberg("Sugarland Express") for maximumshock impact and short-term suspense, andthe special effects are so good that eventhe mechanical sharks are as convincing as the people." (Canby, 1975)
Figure 2.
 Jaws
(1975) Steven Spielberg
As well as those who looked at the film as a box office hit and the skills of Spielberg as a director there where some academics who took a very in depth look into the film and all the ideological meaning behind it. In the 1970's there was apolitical scandal known as "The Watergate scandal". The scandal occurred in theUnited States as a result of the June 1972 break-in at the Democratic NationalCommittee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington and theNixon administration's attempted cover-up of it's involvement.
 Jaws
is a film that hasreceived a lot of attention from academic critics one of them being Stephen Heathwho related
 Jaws
idealic meanings to the Watergate scandal. He made the connectionthrough the way in which way the town's mayor tries to hush up a politically harmfulrevelation, the shark attacks, that may jeopardise tourism.
"Jaws
is a Watergate film:Mayor Larry Vaughan of Amity, Long Island, serves his electors by hushing up ashark attack; the white male middle-class - not a single black and very quickly, not asingle woman in the film (Heath, Stephen 1976). This is a very in depth look on thefilm and it dives into the more complex issues that can be found in the ideology of thefilm. There were others who also connected the film to the Watergate scandal such asAndrew Britton and Peter Biskind.

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