What made ‘Jaws’ so popular? Essay

1,000 WORD ESSAY ON THE FILM ‘’JAWS’’ BY STEVEN SPIELBERG FOCUSING ON THE PLOT AND WHAT MADE THE FILM SO POPULARJaws, widely acknowledged as a seminal water parting movie, signalled the birth of the summer blockbuster and rapidly earned its topographic point in cinematic history when it broke box office records in the summer of 1975 going the top-grossing film of all clip.( Hoberman 1994 )Thirty-three old ages subsequently the movie has lost little of its original impact and has prompted widespread survey of the complex subjects and subtext which lie underneath what has been acknowledged as a ‘high concept’ secret plan( Wyatt 1994 )– a ticket which I feel is misdirecting as it implies a deficiency of substance and character development within the narrative. A rich and structured movie, based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel of the same name, the movie skillfully triggers the viewer’s imaginativeness and awakens a cardinal fright of the unobserved and unknown – a device which continues in modern-day film to pull audiences. This may be the most obvious entreaty of the movie but I seek to show through the class of this work that the popularity of the movie can be attributed to a assortment of factors including symbolism, an original selling run and release form in add-on to secret plan, content and manner which successfully manipulates the audience in a mode reminiscent of Hitchcock’s movies.The secret plan revolves around a series of shark onslaughts which take topographic point on the 4Thursdayof July weekend in the Waterss around the fictional New England island of Amity, a tourer hub in the summer months. Police Chief Martin Brody ( Roy Scheider ) , a fledgling to the island, instantly raises the dismay and efforts to shut the beaches to the populace but is blocked in his attempts by the local Mayor and island-dwellers who are scared that the resulting terror and media craze will stunt the tourer trade which the island is to a great extent reliant upon. Several more onslaughts take topographic point before the local functionaries are convinced there is a existent menace to public safety and finally profess to engaging Quint ( Robert Shaw ) a local shark huntsman and veteran of WWII to seek and destruct the animal. Brody accompanies Quint and marine life scientist Matt Cooper ( Richard Dreyfus ) out to sea.

Quint is killed by the shark during and onslaught in which the boat is destroyed. In a last ditch effort to salvage himself and Cooper as the ship sinks Brody succeeds is beating the great white.( Jaws 1975 )A big portion of Jaws immense commercial success can be attributed to the fact that the American movie landscape had been occupied for over a decennary with dark independent movies of the American New Wave. These movies were frequently pessimistic and representative of the 60s and early 70s counter civilization which had emerged during the Vietnam old ages. They appealed to a niche marked and were by and large low budget and character driven and did non normally cater for mainstream gustatory sensations – peculiarly the elusive adolescent demographic. Jaws was mainstream in the purest sense and could be understood and enjoyed easy. It had a simplistic plotline which harked back to aureate age of film. Pauline Kael, quoted inBiskind ( 1999 ) ,described it as ‘’infantilizing the audience, restructuring the witness as kid, so overpowering him and her with sound and spectacle’’( Biskind 1999 ) .

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Jaws delighted audiences by frightening and thrilling them with big complex set pieces and ambitious and original particular effects the like of which had ne’er been seen before.( Rowley )Hoberman describes the movie as ‘’…predicated on a pitiless impression of the film as rollercoaster’’( Hoberman 1994 ) .It heralded a resurgence of the high escapade movies and contained elements of the catastrophe, male brother and horror movies. The secret plan although simple was non predictable and the plot line was dotted with a series of ruddy herrings which added to the cliff-hanging nature of the movie every bit good as arousing the paranoia of the hero.

Another factor which added to the film’s entreaty was the fact that despite the highly cliff-hanging nature of the action, enhanced by the fact that the shark is non revealed until 80 proceedingss into the movie, Spielberg did non allow the suspense become excessively agonizing and hideous. ‘’Spielberg keeps a elation of touch…and makes the action-adventure sequences in the film’s last 3rd genuinely exhilarating’’( Rowley )Although chiefly a movie of spectacle Spielberg enriched the movie with careful and effectual character development which renders his characters human and credible, leting the audience to place with them. The hero of the movie is Brody but he is flawed and delicate. Positioned clearly from his initial scene as an foreigner in a tight knit community he is plagued by insecurity, fright of the H2O and is impotent against the Mayor and island-dwellers who undermine his authorization as head of constabulary.( Jaws 1975 )Brody is portrayed sympathetically and this is exemplified by stamp minutes like the one which he portions with his youngest boy at the dinner tabular array. Deep in idea and agonizing about the deceases he possibly could hold prevented – his boy attracts his attending by feeling his father’s unhappiness and miming his motions. This stamp scene efficaciously places Brody as a male parent and hubby that we can place with.

( Jaws 1975 )In the 2nd reel the action takes a back place and the focal point unnoticeably shifts to concentrate more steadfastly on character development – peculiarly that of the conflicted ‘hero’ . In the concluding tierce of the movie Brody decides to face his fright of the H2O – in the procedure the supporter reaches adulthood. Through continuity and blood and perspiration he accomplishes his monolithic undertaking and vanquishes the wild animal. The plotline of the movie finally tells a heroic narrative which is a basic secret plan constituent which entreaties strongly to mainstream American audiences.Through the aesthetics of the movie Spielberg succeeds in heightening the audience resonance with his characters therefore heightening enjoyment of the movie. He incorporates stylistic elements from the ‘new Hollywood’ movies which had preceded Jaws utilizing existent scenes and non histrions in back uping functions heightening the overall pragmatism. Naturalistic public presentations by histrions besides contributed to this and produced one of the most quoted lines from the movie – ‘’you’re traveling to necessitate a bigger boat’’ .

( Rowley )‘’The subjective camera is the purest instrument of anguish at a film-makers disposal. It is the agencies by which audience is most comprehensively and unreasoningly implicated in the onscreen action’’( Gilbey 2003 )Through positioning the spectator from the point of position of the shark before the onslaughts Spielberg successfully plunges the audience into the H2O excessively, constructing suspense and heightening the horror of the onslaughts.( Gilbey 2003 )Another critical constituent is John William’s unforgettable mark which creates a strong sense of apprehensiveness through his employment of a signature warning subject for the slayer shark. In the documental ‘The Making of Jaws’ Spielberg confessed the impact of the mark had a important impact on spectator enjoyment saying: ‘’I think the mark is clearly responsible for half the success of the movie’’ . His remarks were based on the fact that prevue audiences didn’t respond good to initial showing before mark was added.( Jaws 1975 )SubjectsJaws was released at a clip of political turbulency in American history in the old ages following the Vietnam War and the movie was in production during the Watergate dirt.

Several cardinal movie historiographers believed that film’s subtext and coded subjects may hold appealed strongly to the corporate American mind of this period.Hoberman in peculiar ascertained that Jaws was so ‘a political film’ which ‘represented a crisis in American leadership.’( Hoberman 1994 )The secret plan – a traditional little town American community combating an unobserved entity which attacked out of the blue and at random draws analogues with the American experience in Vietnam. The shark onslaughts instantly before the 4Thursdayof July weekend – a clip of jubilation of all that is American and a profitable period during which the townsfolk of Amity made much of their wealth to see them through the winter months. The fright of shark onslaughts threatens the economic system and creates a sense of paranoia and uncertainness.

‘’Its obvious wish fulfillment narration of the obliteration of a homicidal, oblique and implacable enemy…the devastation of the shark Jaws offers it audience a satisfying symbolic declaration to the war…’’( Torry 1993 ) .Biskind ( 1975 )translates the slightly negative portraiture of local governments such Mayor Vaughn and the town functionaries who try to cover up the onslaughts and sophisticate the medical study as cinematic representations of what was traveling on at that clip on American dirt and in peculiar as an embodiment of President Nixon.‘’Jaws is a narrative of liberalism at sea, hardly afloat in shark-infested Waterss, but however afloat. It is finally psychotherapeutic and comforting’’( Biskind 1975 ) .Despite the film’s unfavorable judgments of the Republican disposal of the clip Jaws interestingly besides reveals a traditional conservativism in an otherwise broad movie.For illustration, the slaying of the female swimmer is filmed in such a manner – from the POV of the shark – that invites us to place with the liquidator and observe her decease. This can be put down to a desire to corroborate to conservative attitudes to gender functions.

The adult female is killed because she of her sexual freedom and promiscuousness. This is a relevant and timely thesis which may explicate its popularity with audiences given that feminism was a strong subject on the cultural docket in the US at this period.Similarly, Quint besides befalls a grisly decease because of what he represents. He is portrayed as an individualistic character who lives outside of the ‘respectable’ society which Jaws threatens. His bardy temper and vocals and the fact that he exploits the town’s state of affairs to do a immense net income from killing the shark place him as a less than moral character. Brody, on the other manus, survives and is clearly coded as the hero exactly because he is a normal, tally of the factory household adult male – a typical American citizen who respects and upholds the jurisprudence.( Biskind, 1975 )‘’Jaws flatters us by keeping out the promise that such a victory over indefinable panic is within range of us all’’( Biskind 1975 ) .Kenneth Turan, a movie critic for The Progressive in 1975, opened his reappraisal of the blockbuster with the line (quoted in Hoberman, 2004 )‘’I have seen the hereafter and it is JAWS’’ .

This quotation mark is peculiar pertinent when we regard the carefully co-ordinated manner in which the movie was packaged and released. I would reason strongly that the advanced methods employed in this country played a immense function in the popularity of the movie – transforming it a mere movie into a summer event and phenomenon that audiences could non defy sing and whole heartedly bought into.Where studios had antecedently employed a slow provender theoretical account for let go ofing characteristics Jaws was released nationally by Universal at 460 film at the same time. In add-on to this the release was accompanied by an unprecedented monolithic Television advertisement run which created broad public consciousness in the US and internationally.

The studio did non halt here – a broad scope of tie-in selling shortly flooded the market place and as noted by movie historian J. Hoberman( 2004 )‘’the movie’s box office entreaty fed into itself, transforming a hit film into something larger, a new signifier of feedback and a new theoretical account for the movies’. ( Hoberman 2004 )The usage of a assortment of promotional mediums gave the movie a ‘head start’’ in the market place which had a immense impact on box office gross revenues.Wyatt ( 1994 )explains the bequest of this original run:‘’The selling run of Jaws indicates the way which movie selling would follow during the following decennary. The trust on strong consistent images, the impregnation run and widespread merchandise links steadily became standard selling patterns after the success of such movies as Jaws.’’BibliographyBooks & A ; DiariesBiskind, Peter ( 1975 ) ‘Between the Teeth’ inJump Cut: A Review of Contemporary MediaNo.

9Biskind, Peter ( 1999 )Easy Riders, Ramping Bulls: How the Sex ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood( London: Bloomsbury )Gilbey, Ryan ( 2003 )It Don’t Worry Me: Nashville, Jaws and Beyond( London: Faber and Faber )Hoberman, J ( 1994 ) ‘Don’t Go Near the Water’ inArtforum International MagazineVol 32, Issue 8Hoberman, J ( 2004 ) ‘Nashville Contra Jaws’ or ‘The Imagination of Disaster Revisited’ in Horwath, King and Elsaesser ( explosive detection systems )The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the seventiess( Dutch capital: Amsterdam University Press )Torry, Robert ( 1993 ) ‘Therapeutic Narrative: The Wild Bunch, Jaws and Vietnam’ inVelvet Light TrapIssue 32Wyatt, Justin ( 1994 )High Concept: Movies and Selling in Hollywood( Capital of texas: University of Texas Press )Internet ArticlesRowley, Stephenhypertext transfer protocol: //www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/06/spielberg.htmlFilmographyJawsUSA, 1975, vitamin D: Steven Spielberg


I'm Ruth!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out