Most people praise Jaws for the suspense it built up because the audience didn’t see the villain (shark) until the end of the movie.  However the directors vision originally included the shark throughout the movie, but the mechanical shark kept breaking forcing him to shot the scenes without its inclusion. Without the shark it gave the first time viewer the ability to create their own version of what the shark looked like and in most cases the audiences mind can dream up a personalized and more terrifying image then what is on screen. Much like we can dream up for what was in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, this technique also draws the audience because no mater what’s going on in the story audience members are drawn to the mystery of the unknown. Steven Spielberg actually wanted to re-shoot some of the sequences once the shark was up and running again but his editor Verna Fields put her foot down and strongly discouraged a re-shot. This situation reminds me of the midnight ride of Paul Revere he was actually arrested just outside of town and the second rider William Dawes was actually the one who completed the ride, much in the same way most people  overlook Vernas contributions to film. Jaws was the last movie Verna edited while Spielbergs career went on to included many more blockbusters suck as the Indiana Jones movies and E.T. So as in life as in directing sometimes its better to be lucky then skilled and it doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with good people, but partial credit for the success of Jaws should be given to a broken shark and Verna Fields the editor that understood suspense.

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