Okay, so since this is already the best scene in my favorite movie, I have absolutely NO alternative but to comment on representation here!
First, I’m going to just say how fantastic it is that this scene is really representative of the entire film.
Second, I’m going to explain how this scene actually ties directly into the theme of my blog and site (floopsjarofteeth.net).
Third, this scene is pure poetry and probably the most terrifying of any in the film.
1.) So like any dorky Jaws fan, I have watched every documentary available, learning all sorts of useless but equally fascinating trivia about the movie that altered the way we look at the ocean forever. This summer I ran into one I hadn’t seen on the Biography channel, so of course I watched the entire 2-hour special. Insert judgement here :] Still, I learned about this scene and how particularly difficult it really was to shoot. Not only was this scene rewritten by several screenwriters and actors, but it was emotionally draining for everyone to execute, especially Robert Shaw who had the daunting task of representing every man who survived the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Anyway, so here’s what’s so incredible about this scene. We see absoutely nothing, and yet, the scene is chilling. All the viewer sees are the expressions on three men’s faces. This one scene, the documentary revealed, was what gave the entire movie real hope, because up until then it seemed like nothing was working. Scenes on the ocean were impossible to shoot, the mechanical shark NEVER worked, and the director, producers, and actors were constantly threatened by deadlines and overspending. This scene changed all that. It was the breath of life in a drowning film. After this scene was shot everyone felt renewed, and began to believe in the film.
What makes this scene so representative of the movie is what made the movie work so well. Due to malfunctioning mechanics and pretty bad special effects, there wasn’t really a lot of footage of the shark. This happened to be a real blessing in disguise for the movie. Quint’s monologue here proves that what we don’t see is actually more frightening than what we do see. The unknown is always scary; that’s why no one likes the dark!
2.) The theme of my blog has everything to do with this one scene, and ties in with my domain name, pretty poetically I might add :] On the first day of class my story was all about my trip to the beach, my traditional viewing of Jaws, and my eventual reality-check upon discovering at least a hundred little black, fossilized shark teeth scattered down the shore. There’s something unavoidably real about finding actual evidence of the thing you most fear. Somehow, in a strange sort of paradox, it makes it a lot less scary too. Just as the Quint story, and most of the “shark” scenes in the film work because you see nothing, so does our general fear of the unknown. However, when you watch the few scenes in which the shark is quite obviously fake (aka Quint’s death scene) your fear disappears, and it almost seems laughable that you ever could have thought it was a monster.
This semester I’m participating in a residence life program called KARC where I room with a Korean Exchange Student and become part of community of South Korean students studying at UMW for one year. This is a country and a culture that is completely and absolutely pitch black to me, I mean I really know NOTHING about South Korea. Each day I’ve spent with this brave group has been like lighting a tiny match in a locked closet, shedding a sliver of light. So, just like picking up each shark tooth from the sand initially shocked me but later revealed a grain of truth, letting in just a trickle of light, so I’m going to do with this blog. What I learn and experience with them, our commonalities and differences, these will all be little black, fossilized teeth in my jar. Sometimes the teeth will surprise me, leave me anxious, or just make me smile. Whatever they do, they’re definitely worth picking up, if only to see that yes, it really is just a mechanical shark.
3.) Funniest scene in the movie, just thought you should know! :]