4th Of July Trailer Theatre: Jaws (1975)
My aunt took me to see this shark movie phenom in the summer of ’75 apparently heedless of the poster and announcer’s stern, “Some scenes may be too intense for young children.” I recall being excited to watch this as I was already a full-fledged monster kid though I had no idea what I was in store for — nor did the audience who repeatedly screamed en masse throughout the film. I wasn’t scared as much as traumatized by the thought of getting my little toe near the ocean again, much less a lake or the waterbed I had to sleep in that night. I remember being impressed by the tone, feel and direction of the film, and though I was too young to explicate such things, I could tell this was a new kind of Hollywood effort, a monster movie layered in the naturalism of the decade, with Steven Spielberg’s instinctual cinematic sense as the dynamic conduit to the audience. One can debate the industry/cultural effects of this summer blockbuster but the fact remains that JAWS is just a great film.