Jaws (1975) – The Indianapolis Speech Scene

I recently caught Jaws on the TiVo and watched it through a few times. I hadn’t seen it through in decades. I had it on VHS as a teenager and it was one of those films I would turn to again and again. I actually made a comic book out of it, pausing the tape and writing down the dialogue. I did this with a few of my favourite films.

What struck me most I think, upon watching it this time was the lack of polish, something you get used to with Spielberg films of late. I think this was only his third feature(?) and he was still in his mid-twenties at the time. It has the multi-layered chaotic dialogue style he uses in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (a film he was writing as he filmed this one). In both cases this form of naturalistic dialogue style offsets the fantastic subject of the film. In CE3K’s case it was multi coloured UFOs and here it is the notoriously unrealistic shark. The point is though, as outmoded the effects are compared todays super CGI realism, you inevitably get pulled into the story, the film making is so strong.

One example of this storytelling is Quint’s Indianapolis speech which comes midway through the all-at-sea who is hunting who section. It provides a pause, but intensified and deepens the tension. Robert Shaw’s performance is extraordinary and there are many tales of how the speech came about.

Here’s Spielberg talking about how the scene came about:

I owe three people a lot for this speech. You’ve heard all this, but you’ve probably never heard it from me. There’s a lot of apocryphal reporting about who did what on Jaws and I’ve heard it for the last three decades, but the fact is the speech was conceived by Howard Sackler, who was an uncredited writer, didn’t want a credit and didn’t arbitrate for one, but he’s the guy that broke the back of the script before we ever got to Martha’s Vineyard to shoot the movie.

I hired later Carl Gottlieb to come onto the island, who was a friend of mine, to punch up the script, but Howard conceived of the Indianapolis speech. I had never heard of the Indianapolis before Howard, who wrote the script at the Bel Air Hotel and I was with him a couple times a week reading pages and discussing them.

Howard one day said, “Quint needs some motivation to show all of us what made him the way he is and I think it’s this Indianapolis incident.” I said, “Howard, what’s that?” And he explained the whole incident of the Indianapolis and the Atomic Bomb being delivered and on its way back it was sunk by a submarine and sharks surrounded the helpless sailors who had been cast adrift and it was just a horrendous piece of World War II history. Howard didn’t write a long speech, he probably wrote about three-quarters of a page.

But then, when I showed the script to my friend John Milius, John said “Can I take a crack at this speech?” and John wrote a 10 page monologue, that was absolutely brilliant, but out-sized for the Jaws I was making! (laughs) But it was brilliant and then Robert Shaw took the speech and Robert did the cut down. Robert himself was a fine writer, who had written the play The Man in the Glass Booth. Robert took a crack at the speech and he brought it down to five pages. So, that was sort of the evolution just of that speech.

Steven Spielberg

 

see also The Last Speech of Tom Joad.

Far Flung Flora and Fauna

German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel dedicated his life studying far flung flora and fauna, drawing each of their peculiar specificities with an immense scientific detail. Haeckel made hundreds of such renderings during his lifetime, works which were used to explain his biological discoveries to a wide audience. In addition to these visual masterpieces, Haeckel also discovered many microbes, and coined several scientific terms commonly known today, such as ecology, phylum, and stem cell.

 

 

A new book from Taschen titled The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel outlines the 19th-century artist-biologist’s most important visual works and publications across a hefty 704 pages. The compendium includes 450 drawings, watercolors, and sketches from his research, which was in large support of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Most notably the book contains the Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature), a collection of 100 prints of varying organisms originally published between 1899 and 1904.

You can learn more about the collection of illustrations and Haeckel’s discoveries on Taschen’s website. (via Fast Co. Design) (via Colossal)

Gwithian Sands, 2016.

aka: INTERMITTENTLY REGULAR #365 SKETCH PROJECT UPDATE 153-157

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153/365 13.08.16 Godrevy Light House from Gwithian Sands. V-ball. Notebook: Myrtle
154/365 13.08.16 Lifeguard point, Gwithian Sands. V-ball Notebook: Myrtle
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13.08.16
Lifeguard point, Gwithian Sands.
V-ball
Notebook: Myrtle
155/365 Seagulls, other sea birds and one hunting dog. Gwithian Sands 16.08.16 V-ball Notebook: Myrtle
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Seagulls, other sea birds and one hunting dog.
Gwithian Sands
16.08.16
V-ball
Notebook: Myrtle
156/365 St. Ives from Gwithian Sands, on the afternoon of the 8th August 2016. Pilot V-ball and Berol Colour Fine. Notebook: Myrtle.
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St. Ives from Gwithian Sands, on the afternoon of the 8th August 2016.
Pilot V-ball and Berol Colour Fine.
Notebook: Myrtle.
157/365 Sand dyne, Gwithian Sands. 17/08/16
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Sand dune, Gwithian Sands.
17/08/16

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