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5 Things You Might Not Know About Steven Spielberg's Game-Changing 'Jaws'

by The Playlist
April 11, 2012 11:23 AM
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4. Robert Shaw was drunk and belligerent throughout the shoot and fought with most of the cast and crew, but especially with Richard Dreyfuss.
As many "Jaws" fans already know, Robert Shaw -- the salty and dissolute Quint, who helps Chief Brody and Dr. Hooper track the shark that is haunting the waters of Long Island, New York -- was an inveterate drunk. Saucy and irate, Shaw's real-life tempestuousness on set helped fuel the ire between him and Richard Dreyfuss' Hooper because it was largely a real-lfe conflict between the two actors. Dreyfuss famously said that Shaw terrified him on set. “Robert totally intimidated me,” he admitted. “I knew that on the first day I met him. He was a great gentleman, [but] he was also a terrible bully and he was really big." When Shaw passed away in 1978, the cast and crew became even more at ease in telling these stories. In fact, during Shaw's unforgettably chilling and aforementioned USS Indianapolis speech, when the actor went to shoot the scene, he suggested to Spielberg that he imbibe a little bit to catch a taste of the characters who were all supposed to be drunk. Shaw got so soused that Spielberg had to wrap the day early. “He had a complete blackout and had no memory of what had gone down that day,” Spielberg said in an interview last year. “He said, ‘Steven, tell me I didn’t embarrass you.’ He was very sweet, but he was panic-stricken.”  Still, it’s an electric, indelible performance and the actor's alcohol problems shouldn't undermine it.

5. Steven Spielberg didn't like John Williams' now-iconic theme when he heard it.
"That's funny, John, really. But what did you really have in mind for the theme of 'Jaws?' " Spielberg said to the composer when he first heard the score, presumably thinking it was too big and cartoonish to be effective at the time. Fortunately, he changed his mind as the score to "Jaws" is obviously one of, if not the most recognizable pieces of movie music of all time. Another fun fact: Williams had to run double duty at the 1976 Oscars. Already conducting the orchestra for the ceremony, when he won the Best Original Score for "Jaws" that night, he had to run up to the podium and accept his award and then quickly run down back into the orchestra pit to conduct his own walk-out music.

And if you're looking for more shark-related fun, below you can find a promo from Universal to promote their new restoration, a selection of deleted scenes from the picture and the trailer.

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  • Keyser | June 24, 2012 4:12 PMReply

    Well at least we can all agree that Armond White is a trolling hack.

  • Colin Biggs | April 12, 2012 2:57 AMReply

    Armond White doesn't say fuck you, he says have a wonderful day. Clearly, you know nothing of Mr. White's work.

  • LA2000 | April 11, 2012 8:38 PMReply

    That original trailer is still awesome.

  • JD | April 11, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    Also: Shaw didn't write the Indianopolis speech. Carl Gottlieb has for years been waging this pitiful campaign to deny John Milius credit for anything related too Jaws. Milius wrote the Indianopolis speech based on two paragraphs of dialogue by Howard Sackler. Shaw edited it down, but that's all he did. Milius actually can probably be considered an uncredited writer on the film: he made suggestions all through pre-production and production, revised dialogue (especially Quint's dialogue) and contributed to the general tone of overall.

  • JD | April 11, 2012 1:28 PMReply

    Wow, I sure didn't know Jaws was set on Long Island. THAT'S news all right! Must be that part of Long Island where everybody has New England accents and puts Massachusetts license plates on their cars to try and jinx the Red Sox. Makes sense, though seeing as everyone in the film is constantly referring to "Amity" and "Amity Island" and describing how they live on Amity. And at the end Hooper and Brody swim all the way to Chappaquidick! Anyway, thanks for clearing that up.

  • Johnny-Ronny | April 11, 2012 11:41 AMReply

    I think the most interesting trivia about "Jaws" is that it is partly based on the Ibsen play "An Enemy of the People".

  • FUCK YOU | April 11, 2012 11:35 AMReply

    Uhhhh...Armond White is a huge Spielberg fan and he loves Jaws. Thanks for trying to be cute, but you fucked up with your first paragraph and I'm done.

    A little research wouldn't hurt, cunt-o.

  • Edward Davis | April 11, 2012 12:37 PM

    Actually a lot of people agreed with Gabe on things like "Raid Redemption," "The Hunger Games," etc. It's just that Gabe wrote those reviews which felt contrarian to a lot of other reviews out there, but many of us were onboard.

  • GABE TORO is a contrarian | April 11, 2012 12:27 PM

    yes, he's theplaylist's armond white.

  • gerhard | April 11, 2012 12:19 PM

    Don't post comments if you don't want responses.

  • FUCK YOU | April 11, 2012 12:10 PM

    Benjamin, because he uses Spielberg as a standard by which all great filmmakers are measured....THAT'S fucking contrarian? Hehehe...okay. I get it. Cause no one else does that, right?

    Ya know, I don't give a shit about him, Spielberg, or you. Now FUCK OFF.

  • Benjamin | April 11, 2012 12:01 PM

    Dear FU:
    For anyone familiar with him, it's pretty clear that The Playlist only mentions Armond White as an example of someone who's a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian, not because he's someone who dislikes the film itself. And, by the way, if he likes Jaws it HAS to do with his being a contrarian: he famously loves anything Spielberg makes and considers him one of the greatest filmmakers of the world, if not THE greatest of them all, going so far as to continually mention him in reviews of films that have absolutely nothing to do with Spielberg just to point out that whichever film he's reviewing isn't nowhere as good as such-and-such Spielberg film.

  • FUCK YOU | April 11, 2012 12:00 PM

    Not a super fan....just not stupid.

  • gerhard | April 11, 2012 11:57 AM

    Calm down, Armond Super-Fan.

  • Cuntuu | April 11, 2012 11:39 AM

    I think the comment is just meant to illustrate how Armond is generally a contrarian on any major collective-wisdom thought as it applies to cinema. I.e. it would be ridiculous even for him to dislike this film (and he doesn't).

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