(1975) ★★★★★

Sky Movies Sci-fi/Horror:: Tuesday 16 June, 6.50pm

A Great White shark with an insatiable appetite gobbles up victims in the waters around sleepy summer resort Amity. Police chief Roy Scheider calls in marine biologist Richard Dreyfuss and marinated seadog Robert Shaw. The three men in a boat set off in pursuit of the eating machine. First and best of the shark shockers, directed by Steven Spielberg as a dazzling exercise in escalating suspense. The first hour is a wittily staged reworking of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People: Scheider wants to close down the beaches, the commerce minded mayor insists that they stay open for the annual regatta trade. The second hour is a classic quest adventure and text-book example of group-jeopardy dynamics in a confined space: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat…” Spielberg’s particular genius for audience expectation and manipulation is nowhere better evident than in the second shark attack, an intricately edited montage 15 minutes into the movie in which every picture tells a story: the dog’s abandoned stick floating on top of the water, the mother looking anxiously at the horizon, the bloodied recliner washed up on the beach. The clincher, of course, was John Williams’ nerve-jangling music. The most erroneous judgment againt Jaws is that it heralded the ‘dumbing down’ of Hollywood’s summer blockbusters when in fact that honour surely belongs to 1977’s Star Wars. In 1975, Jaws was just another hot-ticket. Queues were forming for Ken Russell’s Tommy, too. It was the emotional response that marked it out as something more than a box-office phenomenon. Subsequently, scores of outlandish theories have been put forward professing to define the true meaning of Jaws. But one thing master craftsman Spielberg lacks is pretension: “It’s a film about a shark.” Twenty years later, he’d make his film about a dinosaur. With Jurassic World upon us, ITV1 has Jurassic Park (Sunday, 1.35pm) and Spielberg’s Jaws-dropper showed how CGI should be used. You’ll believe a pteranodon can fly.

Certificate: 12
Duration: 124min

Other Showings Time & Date
Sky Movies Showcase Thursday, 18 June at 11:15AM
Sky Movies Showcase Thursday, 18 June at 5:50PM