I was particularly looking forward to this film as, like The Godfather, it’s one of those classic films that I have never seen before, not because I didn’t want to see it, but because the opportunity never quite seemed to present itself.
You probably already have a good idea what this film is about. Shark terrorises beach, eats a few people, heroes chase down the shark to stop it terrorising any more people. There’s a subplot during the first half of the film in which Chief Brody (our good guy, who smokes, because back then good guys were allowed to smoke, unlike now, where only bad guys smoke) wants to close the beach to save lives, meanwhile the Mayor (whose name I don’t know, so let’s call him Major Johnson) is more concerned about the money that the town would lose if the beach wasn’t open on the 4th July, their most popular day of the year. They eventually come to a compromise, whereby the beach stays open, but everyone goes out of their houses at 8pm on a Thursday to bang saucepans and boo the shark. Implausibly, the Mayor eventually realises the error of his ways, instead of stubbornly defending his decision long after it’s proven dumb.
The film had a much lower body count than I expected – only 5 human deaths in total throughout the entire film, which by the standards of a modern disaster movie, is barely enough to register. But there’s suspense throughout, and some very funny moments, and an utterly ridiculous salty old seadog character who has an accent that precisely places him as being from almost everywhere.