Movies You Missed: “Jaws”: NPR

Movies You Missed: “Jaws”: NPR

Scott Simon talks to Marie Vega of Weymouth, MA and Lydia Mullen of Cambridge, MA about the movie Jaws. Both saw it for the first time for our Movies You Missed series.


It’s time for movies you missed.


HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Here’s looking at you, kid.

CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Honestly, honey, I don’t care.

MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could have been a contender.

BETH DAVIES: (As Margot Channing) Fasten your seat belts.

CUBA GOODING JR.: (as Rod Tidwell) Show me the money.

ROBERT DE NIRO: (As Travis Bickle) Are you talking to me?

ESTEL REINER: (As an older female customer) I’ll take what she’s got.

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sophia) I never thought I should fight in my own house.

BRANDO: (as Stanley Kowalski) Stella.

SIMON: Be careful in the water this week – dun, dun dun.


ROY SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) You’re going to need a bigger boat.

SIMON: “Jaws,” 1975, directed by Steven Spielberg, of course, starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. A trio on the hunt for a great white shark terrorized the New England coast on the 4th of July. Jaws invented the modern blockbuster. Almost everyone in the world has seen it, except Marie Vega, a health insurance worker in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Thanks for being with us.

MARIE VEGA: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: And Lydia Mullen, editor of a sailing magazine in Cambridge. It’s called SAIL in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Thank you very much for being with us.

LYDIA MULAN: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: First of all, I don’t want to put you on the spot, Marie. No, I do not have. That’s the purpose of this segment. How did you miss Jaws?

VEGA: When I was a kid, my younger brother was terrified of sharks and was absolutely convinced they lived under his bed. So my mom banned all of us from watching the movie. And anything involving sharks we weren’t allowed to do because it would scare my brother.


VEGA: (Laughter).

SIMON: And Lydia Mullen, how did she avoid it?

MULAN: Yes, actually my mother was too (laughter). I took sailing lessons as a child as part of our local boat club. And my mom was really worried that if I saw Jaws, I’d leave because I’d be too scared. And I guess her plan worked because I’m still sailing and I’m still working at SAIL magazine.

SIMON: Well, we asked you both to see the film. Let’s take it in turn if we can. Marie, then Lydia, what did you think?

VEGA: I actually kind of liked it. I didn’t think I would. I think it’s holding up pretty well, comparatively. You know, I’ve seen other movies maybe later in life that didn’t hold up. But this one seems to have. I actually liked it.

MULAN: Yeah, I was expecting it to be a little more, like, horror and a little more gory, I guess. And there’s a lot more plot than I thought there would be. I liked it too.

SIMON: Yeah, there’s actually a lot of plot.

MULAN: (Laughter) There’s a lot of plot.

SIMON: They reportedly had all kinds of production issues with the mechanical shark that someone named Bruce. You know, so much, obviously, in the CGI world has been invented since then. But did the special effects hold up for both of you?

MULAN: Yeah, I thought the shark – especially when it’s in the water and swimming, I think it still looks pretty realistic. I don’t know exactly what a shark attack looks like, but I think when it jumps on the boat and kind of just starts thrashing around, maybe that looks a little fake. But when it’s in the water I think it’s pretty good.

VEGA: Yes, I agree. Me – when the shark swims, it definitely looks like a shark. But it was a little stiff coming out of the water there. It was just like – you could tell it was animatronic at that point.

SIMON: It was also tiring, I should think – wasn’t it? – comes out of the water.

VEGA: I imagine (laughter).

SIMON: I, of course, would go – tum, tum, tum, tum – because everybody knows what you’re talking about. I think it’s John Williams music, right?

VEGA: Huh.


MULAN: It’s iconic. I think – I mean, even if I’d never seen the movie, I recognized it. The whole thing was pretty exciting. And I think he also uses silence very well, in addition to the strong points of it. That’s – I mean, that’s one of the big things that I noticed while watching the movie was actually the sound of it.

VEGA: The same. It set the tone so well even from the opening credits. You were already on the edge of your seat.

SIMON: I understand, Marie Vega, that you find the film very resonant for our time?

VEGA: I think so. I looked at it as sort of a study of how people respond to emergencies and, you know, most recently, like the pandemic, you know? And I was really interested to see the mayor’s reaction to the shark and the attempts to sweep it under the rug. And…

SIMON: Yes. Let’s not rush now and close everything.


MURRY HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) Look, our lives depend on the summer people here.

RICHARD DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hooper) You’re not going to have a summer unless you deal with this problem.

HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) And if you close those beaches, we’re done for.

SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) Not only will we have to close the beach. We’ll have to hire someone to kill the shark. I mean we’ll have to tell the coast guard. We’ll have to get some shark repellant.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) Sir, you need to contract with a shark research group.

SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We’re going to have to put in extra replacements because there’s nothing in the world that’s going to fit in here.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) You’ve got to ring this whole harbor with 100 caliber…

SCHEIDER: (as Martin Brody) We’ve got to spend money to save what we’ve got.

HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Waugh) I don’t think any of you are familiar with our problems.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) I think I’m familiar with the fact that you’re going to ignore this particular problem until it comes up and bites you in the ass. Now wait a minute, wait a minute…

MULAN: Yes. I mean, I didn’t necessarily think of it that way when I was watching it. But as Marie explains it, I think it rings true. There’s definitely, you know, a group of people who are sounding the alarm and people aren’t listening to them – I mean, I guess in terms of the pandemic, but also in terms of climate change, and also in terms of many of our other crises. So, yeah, I think it’s an interesting lens through which to look at modern times.

SIMON: Lydia Mullen and Marie Vega, two new Jaws fans, thanks for being with us.

MULAN: Thank you.

VEGA: Thank you very much. That was fun.


SIMON: And if there’s a movie you missed, you can tell us all about it by going to


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