Despite there being many films that swim around in the genre, JAWS will always be the definitive “Shark” movie. Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece is the one they all inspire too, an all out action and horror movie rolled into one, that finds love in each new generation.
There are so many moments in JAWS that will live forever in your minds. From the opening attack on poor Chrissie Watkins, to that head popping scene that frightened a generation and how could anyone forget that music theme.
But the one scene that stands out does not involve a rubber shark at all, but of a simple piece of dialogue by the wonderful and much missed Robert Shaw, whose Quint, delivers a true story that leaves Broody and Hooper speechless and in awe….
“Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, chief… just delivered the Bomb, the Hiroshima Bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. The vessel went down in 12 minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know how you know that when you’re in the water, chief?
You can tell by looking from the dorsal to the tail. What we didn’t know was our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. They didn’t list us overdue for a week. Very first light, chief, sharks come cruisin’. So we formed ourselves into tight groups, you know kinda like old squares in a battle like you see in a calendar, like the Battle Of Waterloo, and the idea was the shark comes to the nearest man and you pound and holler and scream and sometimes the shark’d go away.
Sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you…right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at you he doesn’t seem to be living…until he bites you…and those black eyes roll over white and then…aw, then you hear that terrible high pitched screamin’, the ocean turns red, and in spite of all the poundin’ and hollerin’ they all come in and they…rip you to pieces…”
You know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men. I don’t know how many sharks there were, maybe a thousand. I do know how many men, they averaged six an hour. Thursday mornin’, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player. Boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep. I reached over to wake him up. He bobbed up, down in the water, he was like a kinda top. Upended. Well, he’d been bitten in half below the waist.
At noon on the fifth day, a Lockheed Ventura swung in low and he spotted us, a young pilot, lot younger than Mr. Hooper here, anyway he spotted us and a few hours later a big ol’ fat PBY come down and started to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened. Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.
Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”