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We got a report in from the premiere of Jaws documentary THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. After being in the works for years, THE SHARK IS STILL WORKING finally premiered. I heard from many readers that were attending before the event, but so far only one review has come in. I'm interested in others if you were there. Anyway, this sounds like it holds up from my first viewing of a longer, rough cut... in other words, a Jaws nerd's dream. Here's "happydude" with his thoughts on how it plays out!

Hola friend(s). I'm a long time reader first time reporter and full-time Jaws nerd. Maybe not crazy enough to don fake mutton-chops and a mustache (outside of the bedroom anyway) but crazy enough to alienate those who love me. I attended the Official World Premiere of The Shark is Still Working last nite here in Los Angeles and thought you might be interested in impressions from someone who's been following this production closely from the beginning. First off, this is considered by many in the know to be the be-all, end-all bible of the making of Jaws full of new revelations even for those who eat, breath, and sleep this movie. Bottom line? It is. With some reservations. The finished product was a lot shorter than previous reports though it still clocked in at around 2 1/2 hours- longer than the actual film itself. Apparently to get the run-time down a lot of unlicensed footage was removed. I'm assuming this was mostly actual footage from the production that went unused in the film since there was plenty of footage from the actual movie. This was my biggest disappointment since when I first heard about this movie I began dreaming of seeing outtakes of the many attempts at getting the Indianapolis speech down- long-time Jaws fans will know the lore behind this. There was some deleted material but, and I may be wrong, no 'official' deleted material that wasn't also included on the 30th and 25th anniversary dvd's. What the film had a-plenty, was home movies and deleted material from other sources- one of the holy grails of which is the Alex- Kinter-meets-his-demise material. And a scene that actually revealed the 'karate-ing of the picket fences.' The behind the scenes footage was also pretty great: see Spielberg's mock (but kinda not)-despair in Hollywood as the Academy Award nominations are announced and he's shafted for Best Director. There were plenty of stories that I hadn't heard before. Dreyfuss talks a lot and candidly about his relationship with Robert Shaw. Roy Scheider had a couple of great anecdotes about Shaw's antagonism of Dreyfuss. These are things you need to hear from the horse's mouth, so I won't spoil them here. In fact all of the talking heads material and interviews were a lot more candid than we've heard before. Much of Spielberg's interviews were new takes on familiar stories as were Scheider's. Dreyfuss was Dreyfuss and always a hoot, but I'm sure most of the folks who will be seeing this don't ever need to hear him mimic a p.a. claiming 'The shark is not working' again. Now: the not-so-great (and there's very little): I could have done without most of the Jawsfest material. It's great to see the Amity locations today, but I didn't necessarily need to see fellow nerds on-stage with Deputy Hendricks at a live event quoting all of his dialogue back to him. Although as I write that I admit it does sound pretty terrific. This is the definitive behind-the-scenes on Jaws, even more in depth than the Bouzereau doc from laser-disc days and fans will want to seek it out. Though how they'll be able to see it is still, from what I understand, up in the air. If Universal does the right thing, this will be a bonus feature on the next release, though I'd certainly recommend it as a stand-alone if that's the route these folks have to take. If you use this, call me happydude.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 8, 2009, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Hi There

    by Kevin Mayle

  • May 8, 2009, 4:43 a.m. CST

    Hello Again

    by Kevin Mayle

    Just saw that I could be 1st and not say FIRST!

  • May 8, 2009, 4:44 a.m. CST

    Goodbye

    by Kevin Mayle

    I'll go back to sleep now

  • May 8, 2009, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Yeah,

    by Cagliostro

    I could deal with not hearing Dreyfuss do that bit again. Still can't wait to see this one though.

  • May 8, 2009, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Hope this will be a tribute

    by blakindigo

    to the late Roy Scheider—a fine actor and gentleman.

  • May 8, 2009, 4:50 a.m. CST

    twitterific

    by BlackJackBauer

    http://twitter.com/MrBlackBauer follow the great black jack bauer

  • May 8, 2009, 5:03 a.m. CST

    Dying to see this

    by Brody77

    But for UK fans it's not looking likely. Come on, get a dvd release! (and where's the Jaws blu ray?)

  • May 8, 2009, 5:07 a.m. CST

    Where going to need

    by Trannyformers_Apologist

    ...a bigger boat.

  • May 8, 2009, 5:15 a.m. CST

    WE'RE Going to need a bigger boat--

    by DrunkyMcLush

    If you're going to moonlight as a fan, you'd better be able to correctly quote that famous line.

  • May 8, 2009, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Really want to see this.

    by Boba Fat

    Quint, were there outakes on the earlier cut that have never surfaced before?

  • May 8, 2009, 5:24 a.m. CST

    so basically - its nothing that special is what I got

    by Jugdish

    It sounds like a mish mosh of all the other docs- thats a shame cuase this could have been special.

  • May 8, 2009, 5:47 a.m. CST

    They went for Fellini!

    by zapano

    I remember seeing footage of a gutted Spielberg losing out on a best director nomination. It was fascinating to see Spielberg's impression that Fellini got the nomination at his expense.

  • May 8, 2009, 6:31 a.m. CST

    "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

    by F-18

    is the actual line.

  • May 8, 2009, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Mr Spork beat me to it. Quote it right.

    by Brody77

    Still the best film ever made, even with the dodgy shark.

  • May 8, 2009, 7:25 a.m. CST

    He's in the cah....

    by Amazing Maurice

    not too fah, from the yahd.

  • May 8, 2009, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Along with Alien and a few others...

    by GetEveryone

    Jaws is one of my favourite films.

  • May 8, 2009, 8:03 a.m. CST

    But it never fails to amaze me...

    by GetEveryone

    how many non film buffs see it as a laughing stock. Any time I mention Jaws as being one of my favourites, people question it and laugh. Ridiculous.

  • May 8, 2009, 8:17 a.m. CST

    I def want to see this

    by Arteska

    but it still seems weird that any such thing would be longer than the movie itself. The other thing that irritates is that the movie works so well in virtually every sense that the smallest details of it (like the Indianapolis scene) are elevated and celebrated to absurd proportions. It's a great story conceit and it's absorbing in the context of the movie but there are tons of wannabes that act like a movie cannot exist without something precisely like it. The lesson that the creative process leads to things like this, and don't start with them, is completely lost on too many.

  • May 8, 2009, 8:18 a.m. CST

    doesn't

    by Arteska

  • May 8, 2009, 8:41 a.m. CST

    GetEveryone

    by yodaismyhomie

    Jaws is like Rocky in that respect. People make fun of people choosing either fun because of the endless sequels that were just grabs at money. However, the first film in both series is a masterpiece. Perfectly written, directed, and executed. Great stories which pull you in, have you holding to your chair and leave you satisfied. I just showed Rocky to a 20 year old girl who had never seen any of them (I don't think she had even heard of them)...she LOVED the first movie. I'm working on Jaws next!

  • May 8, 2009, 9:25 a.m. CST

    So......

    by HorrorFan81

    We'll get to see this someday, right? Been hearing about it for a long time.

  • May 8, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    BEST MOVIE EVER!

    by cupp555

  • May 8, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Went to the screening

    by jersey_d

    An extremely thorough and well made doc. Answers any questions you might have had about the film, no matter how mundane. I enjoyed the hell out of it, but some in the audience started to squirm after the first hour or so. By the time it got to the Jawsfest footage, watches were being checked regularly.

  • May 8, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Just tell me

    by Abominable Snowcone

    when and where I can order the DVD, for God's sake. This movie has existed for like, three years, but has been hampered by distribution details. Get a deal, and get it OUT to us!

  • May 8, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    JAWS

    by vcathell

    Where's my life jacket? Can't wait to see this one!

  • May 8, 2009, 10:53 a.m. CST

    THEY SHOW SPIELBERG'S CABIN!!

    by Sir Perior

    I too was at the screening. It actually started with a short about a dead kid fishing. Then the jaws filmmakers (documentary as well as the original feature) stepped onstage for a lengthly and unorganized to the degree of awkwardness quasi Q+A except there were no Qs. Finally the film started while lines for the next showing started to form outside. The documentary is all the first reviewer said it to be. And I fully agree with the notion that the Jawsfest footage can be trimmed. I understand the documentary got started at Jawsfest so the filmmakers might feel a special connection to this material but it is booooring. A very trimmed version of that sequence at the beginning (to underline the origins of the documentary) or at the very end (to emphasize that indeed the shark "is still working" today) would improve the perception of this footage greatly. Which brings me to the only other major issue: the film has no structure to it. It's more like a dozen vignettes patched together. No red threat excpet for the obvious Jaws theme. There's other bits that can be trimmed if not omitted, like the stuff on Jaws memorabilia collectors or the anecdotes we heard before. But overall a valiant effort that deserves some form of distribution.

  • Then send one dollar to Happy Dude! <p> Great name.

  • May 8, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    I'd like confirmation....

    by Geomancer21

    That any of the stuff cut from this film is stuff we haven't seen or heard before. And how much of what is left is like that. That would be the stuff i'd be interested in seeing.

  • May 8, 2009, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Gotlieb, Alves, Chapman and Kramer were there...

    by JuanSanchez

    At the Saturday 9:45 screening. Very cool to see them all. The venue sucked, but the doc was good if too long. Just need to cut the Jawsfest segment down.

  • May 8, 2009, 2:08 p.m. CST

    I was there as well...

    by DarthCorleone

    I sat right behind Gottlieb. It was impressively comprehensive in scope; I love Jaws, but I'm not sure I need to think about the movie (outside of actually watching it) for a long while. I agree with the sentiment that the movie did drag a bit, although that might have been partially because of the late start. (Those poor midnight folks after us started their showing at least an hour late and must have been there until well after 3.) My other issue is that it was redundant in spots (sometimes literally - they actually used the exact same Kevin Smith soundbite twice), especially with respect to the depiction of Jaws hysteria. I realize this was more about the cultural impact than the making-of process (which most Jaws fans are already well-versed in), but the stuff I dug the most was the information related to the behind-the-scenes stuff that I had not heard before. Still, I enjoyed enough of the stories about the locals and the crazy Jaws fans to recommend it.

  • May 8, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Thanks from TSISW

    by JGelet

    Thanks a ton for every bit of feedback. The fortunate things about our still not having a deal secured, is it is still not too late for us too make our documentary better. The venue in Los Angeles was our very first opportunity to screen it to a large audience, and we're taking everyone's reactions very seriously. It seems to be overwhelmingly agreed that Jawsfest and prop stuff are bogging TSISW down, so we'll be taking a long look at those sections and seeing if we can improve them. Keep the comments coming with as much honesty as you want. We're happy to hear the negative as well as the positive because it may help us get it right. -James Gelet Writer/Producer, TSISW

  • May 8, 2009, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Thanks for your feedback on TSISW!

    by ErikHollander

    Hey everyone! Erik Hollander from TSISW here to say thanks for the comments, critiques and general jibber jabber about our Jaws doc. We had a blast in LA at the premiere showings, and yes, are aware more than ever, that there is a length issue that we must deal with. Of course, we've heard it from many reviewers up 'til this point, but this was the first time we've shown it to a "captive" audience. The film was never intended for theatrical release, rather, as a stand-alone two-part DVD - in which case, length was not as much an issue. However, we have heard the voice of the people, and the customer is always right, as they say. Even die-hard Jaws fans have commented on the film's length - which was trimmed from (believe it or not) an overwhelming 3 hours 5 minutes to 2 hours 19 minutes - which is the version that played this past weekend. We are looking into a further cut for the next festival, with the hopes of including deleted segments on a DVD release when the thing gets distribution. It is patently apparent to me now that a documentary about a single film should NOT be longer than the film it explores. One of the balances we've had to deal with is making a film that caters to the die-hard JAWS fan base (it's original intent) but caters to a general audience as well. This has not always been easy in terms of what to include and what to discard. Zealous Jaws fanatics want new material - the minutiae that has never been addressed in previous docs (of which there have been many) whereas the same old tested and true stories about the production, etc. tend to be what general audiences like to see. We have been so close to this project for so long, and are such geeks ourselves, that it is hard to see the big picture as well as others like yourselves can. We embrace your comments and concerns and are thankful for them as we wish to craft the best possible end-product (one that hopefully will appeal to both groups) Please keep being transparent and giving us your thoughts as to how we can improve TSISW. Truly, Erik

  • May 8, 2009, 2:37 p.m. CST

    JGelet...

    by DarthCorleone

    Just in case I sounded a little too negative or tepid in my feedback, I should stress that I enjoyed the movie and all the anecdotes therein. I think another polish or two would help, but I do think at least part of my reservations had to do with the fact that it was a late night and I'm getting old. Thanks so much for putting on the event. It was very cool to see all those guys in person, and you did and are doing a great job honoring the film.

  • May 8, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST

    And thanks...

    by DarthCorleone

    ...to Erik as well. I can tell that you guys are worthy stewards of this project. :- )

  • May 8, 2009, 2:56 p.m. CST

    DarthCorleone

    by JGelet

    No need to worry about being too negative or tepid. You weren't. We receive and appreciate your positive points as well. But at this point, we truly are more thankful for honest tough love than unqualified compliments.

  • May 8, 2009, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Thank You

    by jmichaelroddy

    Dear AICN talkbackers! Thank you for all of your feedback, both positive and constructive for our film. This documentary was made by four guys who love film for people who love film. It has been exhaustive and a true labor of love. Hopefully we will be able to share this film with all of you. Please watch the LA United Film Fest fo future screenings. J. Michael Roddy Producer

  • May 8, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Jaws, StarWars, Raiders, Back to the Future, etc

    by romanocc

    They don't make em like they used to, as these summer blockbusters have stood the test of time. What makes these movies great is that they all have characters the audience cares about, and the effects or action were secondary. Summer movies today rely on CGI and action and I usually don't give a rats ass about the characters. Mid 70's to mid 80's, the golden age of Summer Blockbusters!

  • May 8, 2009, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Also read The Jaws Log book

    by ChittyChittyGangBang

    By Carl Gottlieb.<p> It has some good stuff in it as well. I actually found it a few minutes ago and saw this talkback.<p> Wierd timing.<p> Funny story was about how they shot the scene with the shark they think is the one that killed Alex Kitner. They shot over a few days and the stink was pretty bad, as the shark's organs basically fell to the bottom of the mouth as the shark just hung there.<p> A few days later somebody left a dead fish (or shark) at the production office's doorsteps as a payback.<p> Great details like that in the book.<p> That said, I really, really want to add this movie to my collection.

  • May 8, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST

    I love

    by There_will_be_Dickblood

    Jaws

  • May 8, 2009, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Attended the 1 am screening

    by Flames gotta Eat

    and I wasn't a big fan of this doc. I appreciate that the film makers are checking the talkback and actually listening to the feedback from fans because this movie is made by fans for fans. But yes it was too lengthy, I agree the Jawsfest stuff should be completely removed because it's not interesting or involved enough compared to the rest of the film. I'm glad this is meant to be a DVD because it really has no business being in a theatre. To me it is a good doc you'd find on a Jaws Blu-ray and that's it. I'm a big Jaws fan but I just wasn't that captivated. It just doesn't have the production quality of a feature doc, or at least a focused enough direction. I actually enjoyed the Bouzereau doc a lot more. Quint got me all excited a year ago for this film, saying it had ALL of these new stories about the production, but I honestly didn't find much new material here. Especially not enough for a feature length. In all fairness, maybe it was due to the fact that I didnt get out of that theatre til 3:30 am. But do I really need to know where Quint's (the real one) foot-board thing has ended up?

  • May 8, 2009, 5:41 p.m. CST

    I WANT TO SEE THIS!

    by jawsfan

    and have since I first heard about it. Get it out there any way you can. I can't think of any other blockbuster film that will ever deserve this kind of attention and passion 30+ years on. The "Transformers" movies will make a pile of cash, but will anyone really give a shit about them more than two seconds after leaving the theatre? I think not.

  • May 8, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST

    When is this being released wide?

    by Turd Furgeson

    Or when is it coming to DVD?

  • May 8, 2009, 10:52 p.m. CST

    I have the anniversary edition box set on laserdisc

    by cornponious

    And I thought all the extras and docs on that set were impressive. Can't WAIT to see this. I'd love to see this play at the Kentucky Theatre in Lexington, KY. Would LOVE that.

  • May 9, 2009, 12:56 a.m. CST

    I'm going to see if the.....

    by DrMorbius

    ...shark is still working, at Universal Studios, next week. Should I write a review?

  • May 9, 2009, 3:01 p.m. CST

    ABOUT FRIGGIN TIME. NCLUDE EVERYTHING ON BLU RAY

    by Proman1984

    Now include EVERYTHING on the ULTIMATE 'Jaws' Blu-ray release.

  • May 9, 2009, 3:12 p.m. CST

    And yes do include the review, DrMorbius

    by Proman1984

    Please do.

  • May 9, 2009, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Is there any mileage looking at TV as distribution?

    by J.B.M.A.

    I understand that clearances and copyright would be a possible issue, but I do wonder if some channels wouldn't snap this up, especially given that they didn't have to pay for it's production in these lean times. I could see Channel Four here in the UK loving this...

  • May 10, 2009, 12:26 a.m. CST

    UMMMM!!!

    by DrMorbius

    I meant the actual ride at Universal Studios! I was making a funny!!!

  • May 10, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST

    More of Alex Kinter's demise?

    by Drath

    What the hell, a more graphic shot of the kid being shredded underwater? I need to see that about as much as extra shots of Linda Blair with the crucifix. Thanks, but no.

  • May 11, 2009, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Alex Kinter's demise! Woohoo!

    by RidgeShark

    I think I read somewhere that the extra material on Alex Kinter's death was cut out so the film wouldn't be rated R. Can't wait to see it.

  • May 18, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    And I'm Back

    by Kevin Mayle

    No one will ever read this, but I posted the first three talkbacks to this post, and now the last one. Who cares, right?

  • May 19, 2010, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Dude, you should book ahead of time

    by orcus