Take a Bite of Summer

JAWS_Movie_posterby C. Margery Kempe

This time of year I only have one thing on my mind: Jaws.

Even in Dundee, that’s what comes to mind. I know most folks in the US are thinking fireworks and picnics in the park for the nation’s independence day, but I hear the words “fourth of July” and I always add “You’re going to have a panic on your hands on –” just before it.

Jaws was the original summer blockbuster. People who’ve never seen the film recognise John Williams’ iconic score, the rumble of low notes that mean danger. I can quote just about every other line from the film, which you know comes in handy on job interviews and such (um…).

At least I’m not alone in that obsession: I have a friend with a tattoo of the image of the shark on the chalkboard behind Quint in the town meeting scene.

Do you have the kind of friends who will sing “Show Me the Way to Go Home” at the drop of a hat? Or compare scars? Maybe you need them!

There’s a slight romance angle I can shoehorn in here: one subplot in Peter Benchley’s novel that was dropped from the film was the affair between Hooper and Ellen Brody. I thought it was terrible in the book — awkward and unconvincing. It slowed down the action, too, and it seemed too much like Benchley was trying to make Hooper a sexy adventurer type. One of the rare instances where the film is superior to the book. If you get the deluxe editions of the film, you can hear all about the technical problems that dogged the shoot. But those problems helped make it the taut thriller it became.

So make the most of the weekend, get the film out and watch it again. Raise a glass to the USS Indianapolis — and keep out of the deep water! The sharks were there first.

Here’s a cute riff on the scar scene from the movie:


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