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

The Playlist By The Playlist | The Playlist April 11, 2012 at 11:23AM

You know what’s a fun task? Trying to convince anyone that Steven Spielberg’s 1975 “Jaws” is not an American classic and a nearly flawless film. It’s kind of impossible, and if you were to somehow take this position, you would either be painfully foolhardy, Armond White, or both.
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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.
 

This article is related to: Jaws, Steven Spielberg, Features, On This Day In Movie History