This is my first foray into book reviews, so bear with me. I’m also going to tell you straight away that I have not read through all 312 pages of this amazing book, but what I have read has been incredible. Now out from Titan Books is a second edition of Matt Taylor’s Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard, which recounts the making of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jaws from December 16th, 1973 all the way through the premier of the film on June 20th, 1975.
First off may I say that I love Steven Spielberg and I can only think of one of his films that I absolutely did not like, the rest I love to pieces. Second, I’m going to be spending the next four weeks worth of Auteur of the Week discussing Spielberg’s filmography. Thirdly, I’ve seen all but one of his films – A.I.: Artificial Intelligence – but I will get it watched before I get to that part of his filmography, I swear. I know some people who do not like Spielberg at all or who like certain films of his and not others. I think that’s a good thing, to be universally liked would be boring. Part of what I love so much about Spielberg is the diversity of his filmography – you’ll find everything from literary adaptations to dramas to action to sci-fi to biopic and back again. I’m only going to talk about the films he has directed, not the films he’s produced. It would take far more than four weeks if we included Spielberg the producer in the mix. I hope you enjoy this trip through his filmography.
I don’t have a memory of the first time I saw this film; I think that’s because I was very little when I first saw it and I don’t remember a world wherein Jaws didn’t exist. I thought it would be fitting to write about this film as summer ends since it was the first summer blockbuster and to this day one of the most critically acclaimed. I love this film. I have seen it so many times now, including at least once in theaters, that I practically have it memorized. It’s only rated PG, but somehow it is insanely terrifying – even upon repeat viewings. I think Spielberg managed to create a film that is the perfect combination of chilling, exiting, heartfelt and innovative. What also makes this film work so well is the great performances from everyone in the cast. It’s almost as if they made a B movie at an A-list calibre (much like Hitchcock’s Psycho). It was nominated for four Academy Awards and won three – Best Film Editing (won), Best Score – John Williams (won), Best Sound (won) and Best Picture. It was up against Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Nashville and winner One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.