Why the Jaws Shark Looks Fake and How That Works to the Film’s Advantage

Consequence of Sound

It’s no secret that one of Jaws’ greatest strengths is that we don’t get a good look at the antagonistic shark until the third act. You know the story. The thing kept malfunctioning and forced Steven Spielberg to find creative ways to represent the monstrous fish (affectionately dubbed “Bruce” by the cast and crew in honor of Spielberg’s lawyer) without actually showing it: the ominous theme music, lots of POV shots, yellow floatation barrels, the wreckage of a collapsed dock. It was accidentally Hitchcockian, a word that now seems more associated with Spielberg than Hitchcock himself.

But let’s be honest: After the big reveal, we actually do see the leviathan quite a bit and from many different angles. There are the frequent head shots whenever Bruce pops his snout out of the water, the actual shark footage to depict the beast underwater, and the grand finale where the shark breaches itself…

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