Scene from Jaws: the USS Indianapolis

Think for a second about soliloquies in film, and then find me one that surpasses Quint’s narration of the shark infested horror of the USS Indianapolis from Jaws, you’ll be hard pressed. Jaws is a work of art of the highest magnitude, and the greatest aspect of the film has to be the casting of Robert Shaw as Quint, he is Captain Ahab writ large—something Gregory Peck could never pull off. In fact, if you atch enough Gregory Peck films you quickly realize he couldn’t really act—he’s too stiff and one dimensional. Which means Peck as Ahab in John Huston’s Moby Dick may be one of the bigger mistakes in film history, but that’s another story. And right now this scene is all about the great Robert Shaw!

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5 Responses to Scene from Jaws: the USS Indianapolis

  1. Jason P says:

    This is truly one of the greatest scenes in motion picture history. Wasn’t there some long running debate about who wrote it and how much Shaw improvised?

    Jaws is one of those movies that I never seek out to watch but can’t turn it off if I stumble on it.

    Anyway, thanks Reverend, and here’s to swimmin’ with bow-legged women!

  2. Brad says:

    The way the soft music echoes the creaking of the ship is brilliant, & I know it’s a common technique used in Jaws. Excellent first clip, trying to understand him through the strange accent makes the scene that much more riveting.

  3. Reverend says:

    @Jason P:
    Yeah, the debate as whether John Mileus’ re-write or Shaw improv was responsible for its genius, and I tend to think both. For Mileus was the mind behind Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn, where Shaw was nothing but brilliant in The Taking of Pelham 123, so i think it’s a throw up.

    @Brad:
    Yeah, the sound effects are awesome, but the way he says “the thing about a shark, they got black eyes, lifeless eyes, like a doll’s eyes” gives me shivers every time. The insertion of this scene into Jaws makes a great movie that much greater, and pushes me to a place I don’t want to go, namely re-examining the genius of Spielberg—which I have to do, and even stopped the formative 10 for fear of what might come. But it is high time I did.

  4. Like a doll’s eyes. A touch of uncanny valley.

  5. Brian says:

    Watched this for the first time in a while last night on TV. For a film reputed to have ushered in the era of the “blockbuster”, was struck by how much space for character and atmosphere there was… Virtually nothing in common with an “action” film today.

    Also struck how the music in many spots sounded more like a 1950’s adventure movie than anything from the past thirty years. Not so much the Williams theme, but the other stuff…

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