|Fig 1: Poster for Jaws|
|Fig 2: Beach goers at Amity Island flee in the terror of a potential shark attack|
This stance on gender is also apparent in how the first victim is presented to the viewer. She is first seen undressing running along a beach. In the nude, she swims into the ocean, where the camera pans up from the depths, the male-gaze as the camera pans up her body before the bite. If the shark is seen as male, then this act of peeping would be seen as male dominance but if the shark was seen as feminine then this scene could be seen as a warning against this gazing of the feminine form, the punishment being the violent death of the young lady. In either of these cases it is apparent that in such a male dominated movie with barely any female input, the shark is there to torment these men and their bodies making them feeble and vulnerable. "In either gender reading of Bruce, the conclusion of Jaws affirms the dominance of masculinity (and a particular idea of masculinity) as the key to maintaining order in civilization." (Savanna Teague, Screenprism)
|Fig 3: Matt Hooper inspects a shark believed to be the killer one thats been terrorising the island|
It is obvious that Spielburg is a fan of Hitchcock's works as his way of filmmaking is full of suspense. You know that there is a shark about but you just don't know where it is coming from and how it will appear. the use of the shark fin and the barrels to show the movements of this beast of the sea. The fact that the audience knows of the shark's "tell" not only from visible cues but through the soundtrack of the grizzly theme of Jaws. All of this leads to intriguing and enjoyable segments of horror and destruction as the shark hunts its prey down silently and then with a snap, tears its victim to pieces from the waist down. "Spielberg's dynamic sense of movement comes into play most impressively during the panic and chase sequences."(Gary Arnold, The Washington Post)
This way of showing the shark is best demonstrated in the second half of the film, as the pace slows, the only place that the characters can be is a small little boat in the middle of the ocean, vastly different from the hectic life on Amity Island in the first half. The tension is still there with the shark as this over hanging threat, only left visible by barrels harpooned into its back. That constant fear of the beast under the surface of the waves that has tormented the people of Amity Island and audiences through out the film, keeps the viewer on the edge of their seats.
|Fig 4: Quint meets his demise in the teeth of the killer shark|
Its no wonder that Jaws helped in Hollywood's now booming movie career and the rise of the summer blockbuster. It's simple plot, yet full of tension that peeks our primal fears of the unknown. Jaws is a film that while spectacular in showing how much terror one shark can do, it can also lead to not being able to swim, even in an indoor swimming pool, without the fear of what could be lurking below.
The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52041-2004Jun18.html
The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1975/06/21/movies/moviesspecial/21JAWS.html?_r=0
Image 1: http://cdn1.bostonmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/061015_Jaws_main.jpg
Image 2: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4f0lj-K4x1E/T6lg6nQVXLI/AAAAAAAABQE/-YXwjL-N_HU/s1600/Jaws+screen1.jpg
Image 3: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-pfgyB4O75GE/UDb2vVrAeNI/AAAAAAAAA2c/1tnBYUyuWYk/s1600/jaws%2Bboat1.png