Jaws or Poetry is in the limitations

When Spielberg started Jaws, he had a mechanical shark built named Bruce. But it didn’t work anything like it was supposed to. This ended up being a great thing.

Jaws was the world’s first blockbuster because of what it couldn’t do

Me: What about Wednesday?
Her: (looking at calendar) I think I’m free Wednesday night.
Me: Cool, it’s a date. (laughing) This is like when we were first dating.

Planning out a date night with the wife, we discussed what film to see.

Years ago, summer was when Hollywood put out its shlock. Their very best films they brought out in wintertime – the holidays – and the dregs of what they had was reserved for the summer.

That is until Jaws.

famous poster
famous poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jaws was such a massive success that it actually created the modern meaning of the word, “blockbuster” as well as the entire summer movie season.

And the reason why it was a blockbuster was because of a mechanical shark named “Bruce” (after his lawyer!)

Bruce was built specifically for the film but the problem was that it was so experimental that it broke down constantly. All these scenes that Spielberg had envisioned in his head, Bruce couldn’t do.

And a pivotal scene was when a girl is attacked by the monster.

So Spielberg decided to not show the the shark/the monster/Bruce at all. Instead, you see the girl being yanked under and dragged about.

If you’ve seen the film, you’re seeing this scene in your head as you read this. I saw the film 25 years ago and still remember it vividly.

Partly because of that scene, and a number of other changes Spielberg made because Bruce was so persnickety, Jaws became that first blockbuster.

Art is in the limitations.

When I wrassle, there are a number of things I can’t do because of my injuries. And there are some things my fencing students can’t do because of injuries or physical limitations. So we find other things to do. Cool things. Artful things.

I’ve reached a point in my life where, when things don’t go my way, I think, OK, what can we do differently here? And more times than not, it’s better.

I suppose it’s a plus of being older. Which is good, because there are a lot of negatives.

Barber: You know, you should wear a hat.
Me: I do in the winter.
Her: Good. Hats make older people like you look distinguished. Plus you can hide your bald spot.


Location: looking for air conditioned rooms
Mood: steamy
Music: Well, might as well give it another day
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