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Jaws (1975) ****1/2

01.07, 2008 Author: Manhattan Movie Maniac

jaws.jpgDirector: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Lorraine Gray, Murray Hamilton

Jaws was the 70s phenomenon that turned little known director, Steven Spielberg into a star. It became a well-deserved box office smash on the strength of great characters and dialog, and Spielberg’s masterful creation of tension and suspense, broken from time to time by some congenial humor. The acting is uniformly strong, but the young Richard Dreyfuss and the grizzled veteran, Robert Shaw were particularly remarkable. The screenplay, written by Peter Benchley, who also wrote the best-selling novel, is very strong, though the ending gets a little far-fetched in the true Hollywood fashion

Roy Scheider is Martin Brody, the water-fearing small-town sheriff of the vacation community of Amity. Life as a lawman is pretty quiet, until a mangled body is found washed up on the beach. Soon, Amity seems to be offering a different kind of seafood buffet, and Brody struggles to handle the problem, while dealing with the Mayor (Murray Hamilton) and business people, who are clamoring to keep the issue quiet and considering an offer from a harsh local fisherman named Quint (Robert Shaw) to take care of their problem. With some help from a visiting oceanographer, Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), Brody comes to a decision.

Jaws has held up well as an excellent motion picture over the 30 years that have passed since its release. Younger viewers who haven’t seen it, will enjoy it today and those who have seen it before, will be reminded of how good it is, upon pulling it off the forgotten shelf once again.

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