JAWS: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard [Book Review]
Just when you thought it was safe to go to your Coffee Table!
We are in the twilight of what I have been affectionately calling the Year of Jaws. In January, many fans, including yours truly, suffered through a major loss when Universal Studios Orlando closed down the Jaws ride permanently. Helping fin-atics get through this hardship was news of the Jaws Blu-ray being released over the summer, which included the highly anticipated documentary The Shark is Still Working. While that documentary definitely worked, there were many portions cut from the running time and left more to be desired.
Enter Jaws: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard from fifteenth-generation Martha’s Vineyard resident and film enthusiast Matt Taylor. It is a lengthy read but an endlessly entertaining journey worth the time to learn about the not-so sexy facts behind the film’s production. As one who has read The Jaws Log religiously since childhood and has seen every documentary or behind-the-scenes featurette ever created, I can honestly state that this coffee table book is the bigger boat that true Jaws fans need.
While I expected a retread of the inspiration behind Jaws, bringing on novice Spielberg, the mechanical shark’s operational issues, and all of the other cataloged history which makes the production just as storied as the film itself, Memories brings anecdotes and photos from several locals and cast members that have never been printed or seen in any of the film’s documentaries.
If anything, this book fills that desire that TSISW left for fans I mentioned – the memories from the viewpoints on top of anyone not named Spielberg, Dreyfuss, Scheider, and Zanuck. To have as realistic a feel of the area as possible, Spielerg hired a majority of locals with zero acting experience to achieve that initiative. For those folks, this was probably the most exciting event to happen at their lovely Martha’s Vineyard and their surroundings are a constant reminder of being a part of one of the greatest films ever made. And these anecdotes can be read in the many pages of Taylor’s triumph.
The personal recollections are the heart and soul of the book, but in all honesty, the pictures are the main attraction. Taylor and fellow photograph complier Jim Beller’s, of the awesome JAWScollector.com fame, requests to the locals were responded with tons of photos sent back in to them – mostly ones that were stashed away in attics and storage chests. This is fans’ first look at some great pictures of Bruce the mechanical shark in and out of the ocean as well as alternate angles of some of the films’ greatest scenes.
The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” could never be truer than with this handy Jaws companion. That being said, any Jaws addict or film lover should own this book, which will provide countless hours of enjoyment. So toss out the same old, same old borefest coffee table books and pick one up with bite!
For more information on the book, including some preview photo stills and ways to order it, please visit the official site.
This review is based on the softcover version.