From directing sharks to donating a Torah
It was 35 years ago today that a crowd of beach-goers in Martha’s Vineyard ran, screaming, from the water—over, and over, and over again—and were paid $64 each for doing so. A year later, Jaws would be a summer blockbuster, breaking box office records. Directing the beach chaos was 27-year-old Steven Spielberg. Though it was not his first film (he’d done several made-for-TV films and one feature), it was the one that put him on the map and won him his first Academy Awards (though not for best film).
Jaws is still scary, despite the poor shark effects. Even Spielberg thinks so. He told a reporter, “I haven’t shown Jaws to my 10 or 11-year-old, and I won’t. I showed Jaws to Sawyer when he was, I think, 13. Because then they use the argument, ‘Dad, I was bar mitzvahed last week. Everybody said today I’m a man, and you still won’t let me see Jaws?’ Sometimes the kids outsmart me.”
While Spielberg might be basking in this anniversary, however, The Wrap’s Richard Stellar is outraged at the mogul’s recent donation of a Torah to the nonreligious Motion Picture and Television Fund home for seniors, which, says Stellar, is currently getting well-deserved bad press for cutting down on care.