Steven Spielberg's 1975 Blockbuster 'Jaws'

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Brittany Hargrove JRNM-112-W Richard Pate Book Review 09/29/2015 Steven Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster “Jaws” is a thrilling tale about a murderous great white shark who is terrorizing a resort island. According to famous film critic Roger Ebert “Jaws” was such a commercial success because the story presented the characters as relatable human beings (Ebert). By making these characters likable the audience developed bonds with them and began to care about them (Ebert). This attachment to the characters made their deaths distressing for the audience and caused them to feel fear (Ebert). Translating “Jaws” from the page to the screen was a difficult challenge for Spielberg and his team. It took four years and two screen writers for Spielberg…show more content…
At this time the author, Peter Benchley, had sold his manuscript to the New York publishing company Double Day (Gottlieb 9). After many rewrites and drafts the novel was eventually published in January of 1973 (Gottlieb 10). Richard Zanuck and David Brown were the dynamic duo who bought the film rights for “Jaws” (Gottlieb 9). Gottlieb compares these Hollywood producers to great white sharks in the following…show more content…
Creating a 25 foot long shark was a feat that the special effects department has never tackled before (Gottlieb 42). At the time there was no press about the beast’s mechanics or its immaculate size (Gottlieb 42). Spielberg didn’t want the audience to constantly point out the mechanics during the film, he want to elicit genuine fear and wanted the audience to be intrigued by the size and realisticness of “Bruce” the shark (Gottlieb 42). Due to the secrecy of Bruce during filming and while the movie was released The Jaws Log was the first publication to release this information. There were three 25 foot long shark models that weighed 2,000 pounds each. These sharks were made from welded steel with flexible joints (Gottlieb 43). Each model was created to shoot specific angles. Two of them were open on the sides so that they could be attached to underwater trolleys for the illusion of swimming actions, while the other one was solid for close up scenes (Gottlieb 43). Formulating the skin for the sharks was a unique challenge for the team. There was no material at the time that mimicked great white sharks sand papery skin texture (Gottlieb 44). With some ingenuity the special effects department developed the shark’s skin texture by sandblasting the shark’s surface and then adding paint to the mix with a separate blower (Gottlieb 44). This technique was so realistic that the shark experts Ron

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