Missed Movies: ‘Jaws’ : NPR

Missed Movies: ‘Jaws’ : NPR

Scott Simon talks about the movie “Jaws” with Marie Vega of Weymouth, Mass. and Lydia Mullan of Cambridge, Mass. They both saw it for the first time for our Movies You Missed series.


It’s time for movies you missed.


HUMPHREY BOGART: (as Rick Blaine) I’m looking at you, kid.

CLARK GABLE: (as Rhett Butler) Honestly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could have been a contender.

BETTE DAVIS: (as Margo Channing) Buckle up.

CUBA GOODING JR: (as Rod Tidwell) Show me the money.

ROBERT DE NIRO: (as Travis Bickle) Are you talking to me?

ESTELLE REINER: (As an older customer) I’ll take what she has.

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sofia) I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house.

BRANDO: (as Stanley Kowalski) Stella.

SIMON: Be careful in the water this week – dun, dun dun.


ROY SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) You’re going to need a bigger boat.

SIMON: Jaws, 1975, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, of course. A trio on the hunt for a giant great white shark terrorizes the New England coast on July 4th. “Jaws” invented the modern blockbuster. Almost everyone in the world has seen it except Marie Vega, a health insurance clerk in Weymouth, Mass.

Thank you for being with us.

MARIE VEGA: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: And Lydia Mullan, editor of a sailing magazine in Cambridge. It’s called SAIL in Cambridge, Mass.

Thank you for staying with us.

LYDIA MULLAN: Thanks for inviting me.

SIMON: First off, I hate embarrassing you, Marie. No, I do not. That’s what this segment is about. How did you miss “Jaws”?

VEGA: When I was a kid, my younger brother was scared of sharks and was adamant that they lived under his bed. And so my mother forbade us all to watch the film. And we weren’t allowed anything to do with sharks because it would scare my brother.


VEGA: (laughter).

SIMON: And Lydia Mullen, how did you avoid it?

MULLAN: Yeah, actually, so was my mom (laughter). I took sailing lessons as a kid as part of our local boat club. And my mom was really worried that if I watched “Jaws” I would quit because I was too scared. And I guess their plan worked because I’m still sailing and I still work at SAIL magazine.

SIMON: Well, we asked you both to see the film. Let’s take it in turn if we could. Marie, then Lydia, what did you think?

VEGA: I actually liked it. I didn’t think I would do that. I think it holds up pretty well, comparatively. You know, I may have seen other movies later in life that don’t hold their own. But this one seems to have it. I really want it.

MULLAN: Yeah, I was expecting it to be a little more horror and a little gory I think. And there’s a lot more storyline than I thought. I want it too.

SIMON: Yes, there is actually a lot of action.

MULLAN: (Laughter) There’s a lot of action.

SIMON: They reportedly had all sorts of production problems with the mechanical shark that someone nicknamed Bruce. You know, obviously so much has been invented in the world of CGI since then. But did the special effects last for both of you?

MULLAN: Yeah, I thought the shark – especially when it’s in the water and swimming I think it still looks pretty realistic. I don’t know what a shark attack looks like in detail, but I think if it jumps onto the boat and just starts thrashing about, it might look a little fake. But when it’s in the water I think it’s pretty good.

VEGA: Yes, I agree. I – when the shark swims, it definitely looks like a shark. But it was a little stiff getting out of the water there. It was just – you could tell it was animatronic at that point.

SIMON: It was tired too, I should think – wasn’t it? – come out of the water.

VEGA: I would imagine so (laughter).

SIMON: Of course I wanted – thin, thin, thin, thin – because everyone knows what you’re talking about. It’s a John Williams score, I think, isn’t it?

VEGA: Uh-huh.


MULLAN: It’s iconic. I think – I mean, even though I’ve never seen the film, I recognized it. The whole thing was very moving. And I think he uses the silence very well too, in addition to the loud parts of it. That’s – I mean, that’s one of the big things that struck me watching the film was actually the audio of it.

VEGA: The same. It set the tone so well, even from the opening credits. You were already on the edge of your seat.

SIMON: I take it Marie Vega that you found the film very resonant for our time?

VEG: I think so. I thought of it as sort of a study of how people respond to emergencies and, you know, the pandemic lately, you know? And it was really interesting for me to see the mayor’s reaction to the shark and try to sweep it under the rug. And…

Simon: Yes. Now let’s not rush into closing everything.


MURRAY HAMILTON: (as Mayor Larry Vaughn) Look, our lives depend on the summer people here.

RICHARD DREYFUSS: (as Matt Hooper) You won’t have a summer if you don’t deal with this problem.

HAMILTON: (as Mayor Larry Vaughn) And if you close those beaches, we’re done.

SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) We’re not just going to have to close down the beach. We need to hire someone to kill the shark. I mean, we have to tell the coast guard. We need to get shark repellant.

DREYFUSS: (as Matt Hopper) Mister, you need to sign a shark research board.

SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) We’re going to have to put in extra MPs because nothing in the world matters what comes in here.

DREYFUSS: (as Matt Hopper) You gotta go around this whole 100 gauge harbor…

SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) We have to spend money to save what we have.

HAMILTON: (as Mayor Larry Vaugh) I don’t think any of you are familiar with our problems.

DREYFUSS: (as Matt Hopper) I think I’m familiar with the fact that you’re going to ignore this particular problem until it floats up and bites your ass. Now wait a second, wait a second…

Mullan: Yes. I mean, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about it in those terms when I was watching it. But the way Marie explains it, I think it’s absolutely true. There’s definitely a group of people who are ringing the alarm bells and people who aren’t listening to them — I mean, I think, in terms of pandemics, but also in terms of climate change, and also in terms of a lot of our other crises. So yeah, I think it’s an interesting lens to see through the modern era.

SIMON: Lydia Mullan and Marie Vega, two new Jaws fans, thank you for staying with us.

Mullan: Thank you.

VEG: Thank you. That was fun.


SIMON: And if you missed a movie you can tell us all about it by going to n.pr/moviesyoumissed.


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