Steven Spielberg is one of the best directors in Hollywood and has made some of the best movies to ever hit the silver screen. One of these flicks is the 1975’s classic Jaws – a film about a killer shark terrorizing a cute beach town. Jaws is a favorite among tons of film fans. However, it didn’t have the easiest filming process.
If you aren’t up to speed on your Steven Spielberg movie trivia, the animatronic shark in Jaws kept malfunctioning on set. It turns out that the prop worked just fine in freshwater but basically ended up like a dead fish in the salty water of the sea. This robot catastrophe led to the great white shark in Jaws only being on screen for a whopping total of four minutes.
However, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Steven Spielberg shared how the Jaws shark not working actually helped the entire production. “The fact that the shark didn’t work on the set was an artistic blessing in disguise — it forced me to be Hitchcockian,” he said.
Now while many folks may think that not seeing the shark in Jaws is one of the film’s weaker points (I mean, who doesn’t want to marvel at a toothy predator), Spielberg actually has a point.
Since the shark couldn’t be used, Jaws played with perspective and created a sense of foreboding. The shark’s movements were conveyed via John Williams’s theme, and attacks were shown from the perspective of above the waves, out of sight.
You never know where precisely the shark will attack, and honestly, you begin excitedly anticipating the next murder every time you hear that iconic tune.
Alfred Hitchcock was known for building tension through suspense in his films. And in his thriller movie Vertigo, tension is played to such an extent that audiences enjoy seeing the character in a life-threatening situation. Spielberg did the same thing with Jaws.
So, yeah, it turns out that the thing that many fans consider the worst part of Jaws, the lack of visible shark, is actually its strongest point. And according to Spielberg, a factor that ultimately helped the film and pushed him as a director.