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Jaws (1975) Trivia

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SPOILER: In the original novel, Hooper has an affair with Brody`s wife, and is killed by the shark in the cage at the end. However, because the relationship between Brody`s wife and Hooper was considered by many to be irrelevant to the plot, and arbitrarily included in the novel just to "sex it up", it was omitted from the film script, and Hooper was allowed to survive.

SPOILER: When Brody is flipping through the book about sharks, one of the photos shows a shark with an air tank in its mouth, which presages the film`s finale.

SPOILER: When the shark is destroying the cage after Hooper swims away, you can see the shark turn and twist upside down. This was actual footage shot by Ron Taylor. As seen and explained in a recent Jaws (1975) documentary, the Great White Shark the couple had been filming became entangled in the cage`s suspension ropes. The cage broke loose and sank to the bottom, however the shark managed to escape and swim off (as can also be seen in the film). After the shark had cleared the area, Ron had to take a second cage to the bottom in order to rescue the first. Ron and Valerie Taylor eventually went on to develop the chain-mail shark-proof diving suit.

SPOILER: Before the shark was blown up at the end, an explosives expert with a blasting permit was needed. Richard S. ("Dick") Edwards had done extensive explosives work while in the Navy and then for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and he agreed to place the dynamite for the final scene. Finding he couldn`t get past the teeth of the shark mock-up, he was forced to crawl into the back of the device, but it was made of sharp fiberglass. After wrapping his knees with towels and putting on heavy gloves, he had to carry the dynamite in his mouth to place it in the head of the "shark," where his picture was taken and is now in the archives of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, along with the oral history that describes his contribution to this classic movie.

SPOILER: Quint`s name comes from the Latin word for "fifth". Quint is the fifth person killed by the shark (after Chrissie Watkins, Alex Kintner, disembodied head in boat, and Michael`s sailing teacher).

SPOILER: The sound-effect used when the shark first reveals itself, as Brody is throwing chum, is actually a fizzy-pop bottle being opened onto concrete after being shaken up.


# SPOILER: After the shark blows up, the groaning sound effects during the shot of the carcass sinking are the same ones the truck makes as it crashes off a cliff in Steven Spielberg`s first film, Duel (1971) (TV). The sound effect is from the original Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).

SPOILER: Regarding the ending, author Peter Benchley thought Steven Spielberg`s idea of shooting and blowing up the compressed air tank was horrible. Spielberg even considered having Chief Brody kill the shark only to look up and observe several other fins coming towards him.


# SPOILER: In the original script, Quint was killed off by drowning. The rope from the harpoon that he fires at the shark wraps around his foot and he is pulled under by the shark, calling for Brody to give him the knife. (This was also the way the character was killed off in the book and, according to an interview with Steven Spielberg about this scene, it is similar to the way Ahab dies in "Moby Dick".) However, it was decided that Quint should be eaten, so the script was changed to what is in the movie.

SPOILER: According to Carl Gottlieb`s "The Jaws Log", Steven Spielberg was never happy with the moment when Ben Gardner`s head pops out of the hole in the bottom of his boat. Preview audiences jumped at this scene, but Spielberg wanted more than an ordinary shock moment. However, the studio was unwilling to budget a re-shoot. So Spielberg declared that he`d pay for it himself, assembling a crew in editor Verna Fields` back-yard swimming pool, which would serve as the underwater location. A gallon of milk gave the water enough of the look of Nantucket Sound. The boat bottom was placed in the pool and Richard Dreyfuss` stunt double went through the action. The studio eventually ate the cost of the re-shoot, and the scene was taken to a much higher level, just by changing the composition and timing of a few feet of footage.

Was ranked the second greatest thriller on the AFI`s list of 100 Thrills.

The shark was ranked the eighteenth greatest villain on the AFI`s list of 100 Heroes and Villains

Was voted the 48th greatest film by the American Film Institute on their list of the 100 greatest movies in 1998. Ten years later, it dropped eight ranks to #56.

The music by John Williams was ranked at #6 by the American Film Institute for their list of the 25 greatest film scores.

After filming was completed Steven Spielberg said "My next picture will be on dry land. There won`t even be a bathroom scene". He was true to his word. His next film was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Voted #5 on Empire magazine`s 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).


# Steven Spielberg almost accidentally came across the property when he spotted the galley proofs for `Peter Benchley (I)`s book sitting on producer David Brown`s desk.

Jaws (1975) single-handedly caused a downturn in the package holiday trade.

As the shoot ballooned from 55 days to 159, with the budget likewise spiraling, the film earned the nickname amongst the crew of "Flaws".

Some of the incidents that befell the troubled production included writer Carl Gottlieb and Steven Spielberg nearly getting killed in seafaring accidents.

If Steven Spielberg hadn`t chanced upon the galley proofs of `Peter Benchley (I)``s novel, he was seriously contemplating making "Flushed with Pride: The Story of Thomas Crapper", the man who invented the flushing toilet.

A real shark became entangled in a line that had been lain down over the underwater cage. This footage was subsequently used in the film.

Following the release of the film, interest in shark fishing soared.

Filmed under the threat of an impending actors` strike.

Jaws (1975) opened on only 409 screens. Within 78 days it had become the highest grossing film of all time but even then it was still showing in less than 1000 screens.

Richard Dreyfuss was tested and cast at the suggestion of George Lucas who had just worked with him on American Graffiti (1973).

Richard Dreyfuss initially passed on the part of Hooper, saying that Jaws (1975) was a film he`d love to watch but not to make.

As most of the seaside resorts in 1975 experienced a downturn in visitors, some of the establishments would resort to innovative ways to lure in customers. One recorded example was a seafood restaurant in Cape Cod which proudly displayed the sign "Eat Fish - Get Even".


# Pre-production had been cut short in the hopes of taking advantage of the unseasonably good weather in Martha`s Vineyard. However, when the production landed at the Vineyard, the weather took a turn for the worse. Consequently, shooting had to begin without a finalized script, meaning Steven Spielberg and Carl Gottlieb had to work on the screenplay after they`d finished filming for the day.

Howard Sackler was asked to contribute to the screenplay because of his experience as a scuba diver. Sackler`s only proviso was that he not receive screen credit as he felt that he didn`t work long enough on the film.

This was the first time that Martha`s Vineyard was used as a location for a feature film.

The color red is never used in any clothes or any backgrounds as Spielberg wanted it to be only seen as blood.

The Orca was originally called The Warlock.

Most of the film was shot handheld as that was the best way to countermand the ocean`s swell.

Voted #5 On Empire`s 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008)


# Though respected as an actor, Robert Shaw`s trouble with alcohol was a frequent source of tension during filming. In later interviews, Roy Scheider described his co-star as "a perfect gentleman whenever he was sober. All he needed was one drink and then he turned into a competitive son-of-a-b*tch." According to Carl Gottlieb`s book "The Jaws Log," Shaw was having a drink between takes, at which point he announced "I wish I could quit drinking." Much to the surprise and horror of the crew, Richard Dreyfuss simply grabbed Shaw`s glass and tossed it into the ocean. When it came time to shoot the infamous USS Indianapolis Scene, Shaw attempted to do the monologue while intoxicated as it called for the men to be drinking late at night. Nothing in the take could be used. A remorseful Shaw called Steven Spielberg late that night and asked if he could have another try. The next day of shooting, Shaw`s electrifying performance was done in one take.

Several decades later, Lee Fierro, who plays Mrs. Kitner, walked into a seafood restaurant and noticed that the menu had an "Alex Kitner Sandwich". She commented that she had played his mother so many years ago. The owner of the restaurant ran out to meet her -- none other than Jeffrey Voorhees, who had played her son. They hadn`t seen each other since the original movie shoot.


# On the DVD documentary, Steven Spielberg states that his original idea for introducing the shark was going to be a scene that took place at the dock at night: The harbor master would be watching TV, and through the window behind him the audience would see a row of boats rising and falling as the shark swam underneath them. Spielberg believed that the swell of the boats would help indicate the huge size of the shark; however, the logistics involved (for example, getting all the boats to go up and down at the correct intervals) proved too difficult to coordinate properly. Additionally, the constantly malfunctioning shark would not allow the scene to be filmed. Much to Spielberg`s disappointment, the scene had to be shelved.


# Although he goes uncredited, the baseball announcer we hear over the radio during one of the beach scenes is sports announcer, Charlie Jones. He was mostly known for football. All of the players he announces here are fictional.

There`s a scene on the beach where Brody tells a guy "That`s some bad hat, Harry." The same line is used by "Bad Hat Harry Productions" at the very end of the TV show "House M.D." (2004). There`s even an animated shark that swims by.

In the socialist Hungary, the movie was only released in 1985. It became the second biggest grossing film that year: 1.5 million tickets were sold (Hungary`s population was around 10 million at that time!) The biggest hit that year was Bomber (1982) starring Bud Spencer.

Tommy Johnson was the tuba player whose ominous sounds announced the sharks` arrival.

This was voted the sixth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.


# The film was simultaneously shown in 490 theaters on its opening weekend, the first time for Hollywood, setting the standard for subsequent films. The film was originally booked in about 1000 theaters, but MCA executive Lew Wasserman wanted that cut back, saying he wanted lines at the box office.

When Universal saw the finished film and were more than happy with the result, they began an advertising campaign on television costing an unprecedented $700,000.


# Three mechanical "Bruces" were made, each with specialized functions. One shark was open on the right side, one was open on the left side, and the third was fully skinned. Each shark cost approximately $250,000.

Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown optioned the film rights to the novel for $175,000 in a deal which also included a first-draft screenplay from author Peter Benchley. This draft, extremely faithful to the novel, would later be rejected by Steven Spielberg. The subsequent two drafts from Benchley would also be rejected.

During the display in which Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw compare battle scars, Roy Scheider lifts up his shirt to reveal an appendix incision. This is not a prosthetic, but Scheider`s own scar.

Voted #3 in Total Film`s 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time list (November 2005).

In 2004, Empire magazine voted this as the 10th best film of all time.

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