- Series: Shooting Script
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Dey Street Books; Anniversary, Expanded edition (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062229281
- ISBN-13: 978-0062229281
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jaws Log: Expanded Edition (Shooting Script) Anniversary, Expanded Edition
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“The Jaws Log is like a little movie director bible. Whenever I’m having a bad day at work, I got back and read a chapter…and thank the Lord I’m not shooting on the ocean.” (—Bryan Singer, Director, The Usual Suspects, X-Men)
“Carl Gottlieb’s work is as entertaining as the movie it is about. In fact, you have not had the full Jaws experience until you have read, make that devoured, this wonderful book.” (-Rod Lurie, Director, The Contender)
“Like Jonah writing from the belly of the whale, Carl Gottlieb’s journal of the process of making Jaws comes from the unique perspective of one of the major players in the collaboration that resulted in Spielberg’s classic movie.” (—John Landis, Director, The Blues Brothers)
About the Author
CARL GOTTLIEB is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and author whose books include the bestseller Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby (with David Crosby). He lives in Hollywood, California.
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At some point, after the Jaws phenomenon died down, the book got tossed somewhere in the back of my closet, and never saw the light of day until many years later. When I rediscovered it, I was very glad that I had held onto it. I was now old enough to know exactly what this book was, and the purpose behind writing it. I then devoured it in a couple of sittings, and realized that the world can be eternally grateful that such an insider account actually exists about a movie that still resonates as one of the most popular films of all time, 40 years after it was released.
Carl Gottlieb was one of the screenplay writers of the movie. He actually has a bit part in the film as the newspaper guy, Harry Meadows (he’s the guy with ugly light-blue suit). Because Carl was so deeply involved in the movie, both on and off screen, he serves as an excellent recorder of the events that made this project into such a masterpiece. Because he’s a professional screenwriter it’s actually much more advantageous than what might seem. He has an incredible gift with the written word that manages to encompass this story on so many levels. History has shown us that this movie was an absolute nightmare to make, and Gottlieb records all of the trauma, yet his humor and light handed approach makes this book, like the movie, very enjoyable despite all of the setbacks and headaches.
In addition to a detailed account of the making of the movie, Gottlieb also gives us a very enjoyable exposition on the movie business as a whole. He begins this book by telling us how movie studios select scripts whenever there might be a best-seller on the charts in the book market. This was the case with Jaws, as it was a popular book for more than a year before the movie was released. He then details all sorts of issues that those in the business only know - scouting locations, casting key principles, nightmares with unions, trying to get an untested mechanical shark to work, and encouraging extras to pretend their enjoying themselves in 60 degree water, while make believing that it’s summer time.
Much of the details and anecdotes of the accounts are a bit dated 40 years later. When Gottlieb gives examples of “current” actors, methods, and popular movies, someone unfamiliar with the times of the 1970s may get a bit lost, but that doesn’t really hinder the book that much. In fact, this book was re-released around 2005, and Gottlieb goes back and adds several relevant end notes that help educate someone unfamiliar with the times. His end notes are very valuable, and worth a re-read if you’ve already read the original. We must remember that back in 1975, for example, nobody really knew who Stephen Spielberg was, and it’s a bit fun to read Gottlieb describe him as a “kid” (he was 26 when he made the movie).
This leads me to my one and only complaint about the new, expanded edition. The pictures from the original book are mostly gone. I’m not really sure why. Maybe the negatives were unavailable? The book does have a picture section with many photos not in the original book, but it’s a huge injustice not to have the original photos featured here. There was such a treasure trove of shots that, to my knowledge, were never seen anywhere else. So even if you do buy this expanded edition, I would still grab a dog-eared, weather beaten paperback if you come across one at a garage sale.
One wishes that every movie, or at least every great movie, had such a detailed, insider’s account of how it all came to be.
Pros: The book is fantastic! It's a unique, first hand account of life on Martha's Vinyard during the entire 5 months shooting of Jaws from someone who not only wrote the Jaws screenplay and appeared in the movie but literally shared a house with Spielberg that summer from May 2 - September 1974 when they finally wrapped.
It includes many details that are completely missing from other books and all the various documentaries out there: Where things were shot and how (the foggy night scene where Ben Gardiners boat was found by Scheider and Dreyfuss, for example, was originally shot during the day and starred the writer of this book!); the timeline of when the crew arrived and when things were shot; how a hundred local extras refused to go swimming when the beach scenes were originally scheduled to be shot during the month of May (water temp 48 degrees! - take a closer look at those scenes and you will see more than a few kids (buried in the crowd) with their arms wrapped around themselves, shivering); the dinners at Spielberg's rented house (with Scheider, Dreyfuss, Shaw, Spielberg and Carl Gottlieb) spent rewriting the script every single night, changing the narrative to accommodate the fact that the shark never really worked until 4 months in to shooting. The list goes on...
Think of this as what it is - a great companion to the documentaries, which fills in the blanks on the making of the film that changed movie making forever...
priceless. I had a hard time putting it down. Carl really gives you what it was like filming on Martha's Vineyard in 1974. Jaws is so interesting to me because of
all the puzzle pieces that had to come together to get this classic made. From the
building of the sharks to the problems Steven Spielberg had filming on the ocean.
This book is awesome.