Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: "You're gonna need a bigger boat" edition!

The other night I decided to watch both JAWS and JAWS 3 as I hadn't seen either one in a long, long time. I kind of like JAWS 2 the best of the three and have seen it so many times. The reason for wanting to pop in those movies was this first book featured below. I've been reading it off and on for the last several weeks. Also, there are two other equally fascinating and very different reads on the first big summer blockbuster, the phenomenon that is Steven Spielberg's JAWS (1975).


By Patrick Jankiewicz

Softcover; 236 pages; B/W

The author has fashioned a damn fine read on one of the scariest movies of all time. The first 130 pages is devoted to Spielberg's sea beast horror epic. Excerpts from many key contributors behind the making of the picture are included as well as the authors own observations. But the book itself isn't limited to the first JAWS picture, this tome also covers the other films in the series as well as countless minutiae about the four films themselves. Everything you ever wanted to know about this series is covered in depth.

But this great little book isn't simply relegated to the JAWS series. There's also chapters on related merchandising and the influence the films had on other forms of media including comics and television and other movies as well. Another section covers movies that were either very similar, or down right shameful rip offs (We're looking at you Enzo G. Castellari). There's also a section on scripts that were never made into their proposed JAWS entry.

The various pictures seen here are shots from the movies themselves, photographs of the production cast and crew, lobby cards, bubblegum cards and comics to name some of the images found inside. There's only one small error found in the rip off section. In the small space given to TENTACLES (1976), Bo Svenson is listed as one of the stars, but it's actually Bo Hopkins. JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE is a great book, one for any JAWS fan and one for the shelves.

This next book I used to have the original pocket book which was given to me by a relative. It was my absolute favorite book at the time and it contained some delicious photos showcasing the behinds the scenes making of the movie. This is....


By Carl Gottlieb

Hardcover; 224 pages; B/W

I remember flipping through this book dozens of times marveling at the many photographs and especially one which perplexed me for years. It was a photo of a scene that was ultimately scrapped and reshot in a less violent form. The scene in question is the death of the man in the boat. Originally, the shark was going for Michael Brody and this fisherman got in the way and the shark took off with him with Mike hanging on; the man bleeding profusely from the mouth. It was removed and replaced with the shot of him having his leg hit the ocean floor instead. That photo is nowhere to be found here and several others I recall being in the original edition have been replaced with other, equally interesting behind the scenes pics. The description below is verbatim from amazon and sums up this hardcover Anniversary edition best...

The only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's #1 bestselling novel into the phenomenal movie it became, Gottlieb's chronicle of this extraordinary year-long adventure was first published in 1975, generating 17 printings and selling more than 2 million paperback copies. Long out of print, a new, expanded paperback edition was published in 2000 to mark the movie's 25th Anniversary, featuring a 22-page behind-the-scenes photo album, a new afterword by Gottlieb updating readers on the fates of the filmmakers, and an introduction by Peter Benchley.

Gottlieb's book is like a diary from the pictures beginnings all the way up to its release. Every aspect of the production is covered in detail. A must own for any JAWS fan. I only wish I still had that original pocket book edition.

Finally, it's one last trip back to the beach with this Bloomsbury Movie guide...


By Nigel Andrews

Softcover; 183 pages; color & B/W

Andrews book covers even more information on Spielberg's killer fish movie and includes even more great behind the scenes photos including one of the deleted scene mentioned above regarding Mike Brody, the man in the boat and the shark. There's also storyboards reproduced inside for key scenes from the movie. The book also covers (as does the one at the top of the page) the slight controversy surrounding the Indianapolis speech and just who wrote it, or who contributed to it.

Also, among the many chapters, the aftermath of JAWS and the changes in movies made in its wake are discussed by the author. One of the books best attributes is the section where Roy Scheider speaks about his involvment with the movie. His anecdotes cover the film from start to finish and a small bit of his part in JAWS 2. All in all, this book is also a highly recommended read and fits comfortably beside the above two entries on the book shelves.


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