Jaws was released 40 years ago on this very date (June 20th) in 1975. The oft troubled production would become the biggest blockbuster of its time, which started the summer blockbuster feeding frenzy. It would be the first film ever to make $100 million at the box office and it initially opened in just 400 theaters.
So the Poster Posse is naturally celebrating this milestone by releasing glorious poster creations that will still keep you from entering the water this Summer vacation.
In between images is some delightful Jaws trivia and history, mostly summarized from Carl Gottlieb's making of book "The Jaws Log."
John Williams' Jaws theme is now an iconic piece of music.
When Williams first played the theme to director Steven Spielberg he laughed. "That's funny, John, really. But what did you really have in mind for the theme of Jaws ?" he said to Williams.
According to writer Carl Gottlieb, the line "You're gonna need a bigger boat" was not scripted but improvised by Roy Scheider.
Roy Scheider wasn't Spielbergs' original choice to play Chief Brody. Spielberg wanted Charlton Heston for the role. The director changed his mind because Heston was too identifiable as an action hero. Spielberg wanted to cast an actor who the audience would think might possibly lose in the movie's epic shark battle.
Charlton Heston was so annoyed with being rejected for the role of Brody that he later made disparaging comments about Steven Spielberg and vowed never to work with him. Heston later turned down Spielberg's offer of the role of General Stilwell in 1941 (1979).
Steven Spielberg cast Roy Scheider based on his performance in The French Connection (1971). The studio was wary of having him but eventually agreed to the casting decision when Scheider signed a three-picture deal. The sequel, Jaws 2 (1978), would be Scheider's last film under the deal, the other one was Sorcerer (1977).
The line "that's some bad hat, Harry," at 16:35, is the slogan for Bad Hat Harry Production Company, a production house founded by Brian Singer which made the X-Men series, a Superman sequel, and the TV show House. Their ad page features a cartoon rendition of Martin and Harry sitting by the beach, with a shark fin in the water in the background.
Steven Spielberg was not the original director of Jaws.
John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven, Gunfight at the OK Corral) was at one point considered for the job. Dick Richards, who wrote, directed and shot the well regarded Western, The Culpepper Cattle Company was hired. What got him fired was his constant referring to the shark as a whale.
The scene were Chief Brody stumbles upon the remains of a shark bitten arm in the sand was originally done with a prop arm. However, Steven Spielberg found the arm too fake for his taste. To get the true effect a female crew member was buried in the sand with her arm sticking out.
Peter Benchley has mentioned that if he had known about the actual behavior of sharks, he would have never written the book.
Producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown have said that had they read the book more than once, they would have known ahead of time that there would be problems filming the movie, and thus wouldn't have made it.
Richard Dreyfuss is the only still living member of the hunter trio.
Author Peter Benchley's choices for whom to cast in the film were Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.
One oft-repeated falsehood about the movie was that the color red is never used in any clothes or any backgrounds as Steven Spielberg wanted it to be only seen as blood. However, a simple viewing of the film shows plenty of red throughout: hats and clothing, American flags, Coca-Cola items, upholstery, sign lettering, coolers, can and jar labels, et al, as well as much of the hull of the Orca itself.
Quint's boat is named "Orca." In real life, the Orca whale (usually known as "killer whale") is a known enemy of the shark, really the only known predator of the Great White.
The tension between Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw in the film was real. The two literally hated working with each other.
During pre-production friends and fellow directors Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the prop shop that "Bruce" the mechanical shark was being developed in.
Lucas couldn't resist the urge to stick his head in the shark's mouth. And Spielberg and Milius couldn't resist pranking Lucas by causing the shark's jaws to close down on Lucas' head.
As always, the ever unreliable Bruce the shark malfunctioned. It took several hours for Spielberg and the Bruce the shark technical team to get Lucas free.
Spielberg considered only one other film of his to be the true sequel to Jaws: Jurassic Park.
Lee Marvin was Spielberg's first choice for the role of Quint, despite his reservations about using big-name actors. Marvin thanked him but replied that he'd rather go fishing.
Spielberg then wanted Sterling Hayden for the role of Quint. Hayden, however, was in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid tax. All Hayden's income from acting was subject to a levy by the IRS, so there was an attempt to circumvent that: Hayden was also a writer, so one idea was to pay him union scale for his acting, and buy a story from him (his literary income wasn't subject to levy) for a large sum.
It was concluded that the IRS would see through this scheme, so Robert Shaw was cast by Spielberg instead on the recommendation of the film's producers, Zanuck and Brown.
Ironically, Robert Shaw had his own tax problems. If he stayed too long in the U.S., he would be subject to a very heavy British tax penalty. To circumvent that, Shaw was flown to Canada on his days off.
Robert Shaw also ran into trouble with the IRS and had to flee the country once his scenes were completed.
The infamous USS Indianapolis Scene required the actors to be drunk. Robert Shaw attempted to do his monologue while slightly smashed, an easy thing for him to do because he was always drinking between takes.
However, all the takes done where terrible and couldn't be used.
A crying and remorseful Shaw called Spielberg late that night and asked if he would please reshoot the scene. Spielberg consented.
It took only one take for a very sober and remorseful Shaw to deliver the raw and powerful monologue that became the most loved acting piece of the movie. That monologue was also one of the main reasons Shaw received an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
The blowing up of the shark was scheduled for the last day of the shoot. Four cameras were trained on it.
Steven Spielberg, however, was not there. He decided that before the crew did any kind of wild prank on him to mark the end of principal photography, he would just leave quietly.
He and Richard Dreyfuss were on a plane to Boston when the actor turned to him and asked how the final shot went. When Spielberg answered, smiling, "They're shooting it now," Dreyfuss began laughing hysterically.