Wednesday, May 21, 2008


(see #48 below)

Does this movie ring true? I’m not talking about giant sharks eating whole fishing boats. I’m talking human decisions. I thought the giant mechanical sharks were quite believable except for one moment when the thing jumps on the boat. Otherwise it was really terrific for 1975.

The issue for me is more about whether the actions of the characters are true. Would a politician and a physician intentionally stand silent? Would a police officer allow themselves to be quieted into no action? Would a parent let their child go to swimming knowing what they know?

I found that all in all, the politician’s stance was believable. His job was at stake. If the beaches were empty, then his job would be gone. He could easily convince himself that there was no shark, or that it was a freak, once in a lifetime event.

As far as the medical examiner was concerned, I didn’t see how he could be silenced into changing his report, and the movie doesn’t even try to convince us. He just does, it’s implied that there is intimidation or something, but we’re never really let in on it.

The policeman I found the hardest to believe of all. He has so little to lose, especially as a parent. Why he allows the events to be worked out the way they do is bizarre. I appreciate his efforts to bring down the shark later, but even then, his aversion to water is ignored and he just heads out to sea.

Why does this movie stand up so well as a classic then? I guess it’s the music. Duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh. I mean you still hear that familiar theme today to imply impending disaster. I think the randomness of the attack is fairly well designed too. With so many potential victims, except for the boat captain, you can’t really anticipate who is going to be next. I also think the first time you see the unbelievable shark glide by underwater you realize that it is a bigger problem being faced than you ever expected.

Fun movie, I suppose. I think I still prefer "The Birds".


Sabrina said...

I tend to agree with your final line. As far as thrillers go it is a hands down.. and the winner is brids. HOwever this movie did keep me out of the water a summer or two when I was little!
I was poked by the ending the most... the captin nemo,last man standing, man VS nature kind of thoughts.
Maybe the cop went out as he figured he felt responsible for the last death and wanted to ensure no one else was hurt?
Hmmm, maybe you're right, maybe it was just the music!
Looking forward to Two for the road coming soon to a blog near you:)

Inside Out said...

I thought about that, how the policeman did the right thing in the end, perhaps to appease his conscience. Or to prove he was right all along. I think that's true. Two for the Road is going to be a little more tricky.

Andrew said...

I can never listen to a cello the same way after hearing those notes...

Anonymous said...

I'm lurking.
never saw the movie all at once just in bits n pieces on tv so don't know if I have a sense of the whole thing... can't even think of the music... duh-duh ;)