Scott Simon talks with Marie Vega of Weymouth, MA and Lydia Mullan of Cambridge, MA about the movie “Jaws.” Both were first seen for our series, Movies You Missed.
SCOTT SIMON, Host:
It’s time for the movies you missed.
HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) Look at you, kid.
CLARK GABLE: (As Rhett Butler) Honestly, honey, I don’t give a damn.
MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could have been nominated.
BETTE DAVIS: (As Margo 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?
ESTELLE REINER: (As elderly female customer) I’ll take whatever he’s got.
OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sophia) I never thought I’d have to fight at home.
BRANDO: (As Stanley Kowalski) Stella.
SIMON: This week, watch out in the water – 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 Sider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw. A trio on the hunt for a massive great white shark terrorizes New England shores on July 4th. 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 Mullan, editor of a sailing magazine based in Cambridge. It’s called SAIL in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Thank you very much for being with us.
LYDIA MULLAN: Thanks for having me.
SIMON: First of all, I don’t like to put you on the spot, Marie. No, I don’t. That is the purpose of this section. 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. And so my mom forbade everyone to see the movie. And anything that had to do with sharks, we weren’t allowed to do because it would scare my brother.
SIMON: And Lydia Mullen, how did you avoid it?
MULLAN: Yeah, actually my mom was too (laughter). I took sailing lessons as a kid as part of, like, our local boat club. And my mom was really worried that if I watched “Jaws,” I’d quit because I’d be too scared. And I guess her plan worked because I’m still sailing and working at SAIL magazine now.
SIMON: Well, we asked you to see the film. Let us take it in turn, if we could. Maria, then Lydia, what did you think?
VEGA: I actually kind of liked it. I didn’t think I would. I think it holds up pretty well, comparatively. You know, I’ve seen other movies maybe later in life that don’t hold up. But this one seems to have. I really liked it.
MULLAN: Yeah, I was expecting it to be a little bit more, like horror and a little bit more violent, I guess. And there is a lot more plot than I thought there would be. I liked it too.
SIMON: Yeah, actually there’s a lot of plot.
MULLAN: (Laughs) There’s a lot of plot.
SIMON: Allegedly, they had all kinds of production issues with the mechanical shark that someone nicknamed 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?
MULLAN: 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 what a shark attack looks like specifically, but I think when it jumps on the boat and starts punching, it might look a little fake. But when it’s in the water, I think it’s pretty good.
VEGA: Yes, I agree. I – when the shark swims, it sure looks like a shark. But it was a little tough getting out of the water there. It was just like – you can tell it was animatronic at that point.
SIMON: It was also tiring, I should think – right? – getting out of the water.
VEGA: I guess (laughter).
SIMON: Of course, I was going – dun, dun, dun, dun – because everybody knows what you’re talking about. It’s a John Williams score, I believe, isn’t it?
(SOUNDBITE OF “JAWS” by John Williams)
MULLAN: It’s iconic. I think – I mean, even having never seen the movie, I recognized it. The whole thing was quite touching. And I think she also uses silence very well, in addition to her strengths. That’s – I mean, that’s one of the big things that I noticed watching the movie, was actually the sound of it.
VEGA: The same. It set the tone so well right from, like, the opening credits, even. You were already on the edge of your seat.
SIMON: I understand, Marie Vega, that you found the film very resonant for our time?
VEGA: I think so. I thought of it as a study of how people respond to emergencies and, you know, more recently, like the pandemic, you know? And it was really interesting for me to see the mayor’s reaction to the shark and trying to sweep it under the rug. And…
SIMON: Yes. Let’s not rush now and close everything.
MURRAY HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) Look, we depend on summer people here for our very lives.
RICHARD DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hooper) You’re not going to make it through summer if you don’t deal with this problem.
HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) And if you close those beaches, we’re done.
SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We won’t just have to close the beach. We should hire someone to kill the shark. I mean, we should tell the Coast Guard. We should get shark repellant.
DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) Sir, you must assign a shark research team.
SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We’re going to have to put in extra deputies because there’s nothing in the world that’s going to come here.
DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) You have to hit the whole harbor with 100 gauge…
SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We have to spend money to save what we have.
HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughan) I don’t think either of us is 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 swims up and bites you in the ass. Now wait a second, wait a second…
MULLAN: Yes. I mean, I didn’t necessarily think of it in those terms when I was watching it. But as Marie explains this, I think it’s absolutely true. Certainly, you know, there’s 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 to look through in the modern era.
SIMON: Lydia Mullan and Marie Vega, two new “Jaws” fans, thanks for being with us.
MULLAN: Thank you.
VEGA: Thank you very much. This was fun.
(SOUND OF MUSIC)
SIMON: And if there’s a movie you missed, you can tell us all about it by going to n.pr/moviesyoumissed.
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