JAWS, 25 feet and all three tonnes of him, will be making his first UK appearance with a live orchestra this October. The film, first released in 1975, is being screened at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra – surely that should be Orca-chestra - filling us equally with the thrills and foreboding of the classic John Williams score.
The Royal Albert Hall has played host to numerous live Spielberg/Williams films before including Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and Jurassic Park, but this, this is something special. I’ve seen the world premiere of both Back to the Future and Aliens in the very same building but Jaws was always the ‘big fish’ to tick off my list seeing it live and the music is such a real intrinsic part of the film, the music IS the shark.
And although I’d heard that it was going to get played in the US the first I heard about it was when Empire magazine posted something on their Facebook accompanied by Susan Backlinie with a pained expression, I’m guessing she didn’t get tickets by her look.
In my head at least my reaction played out with the reverse zoom and simultaneous dolly shot with Chief Brody on the beach.
Obviously securing tickets was going to be the next hurdle, ready, waiting and poised for the 10am launch of them. What if the site goes down, surely it can’t stay down with three hits of the refresh button.
Busy, it will be like the fourth of July out there in the fray for tickets, which went for release on March 2nd. Sure, the day may have been World Book Day but for me it was world booking day.
To paraphrase the always impeccably dressed Mayor Larry Vaughn, You yell barracuda, here I sit. You yell tickets for Jaws live at the Royal Albert hall, we’ve got a panic on our hands on the second of March.
At 42 years of age it still is no slouch in the cinematic delivery department. And there really is nothing like seeing Jaws on the big screen, I say see it, it is more of an experience. The ocean seems deeper, bluer, the Orca seems even more isolated, Ben Gardinner’s head popping out to say hi makes you jump (still) even higher. It is just a far more intense experience and Robert Shaw owns the film with his performance as Quint even more than ever.
Scheider and Dreyfuss are no slouches for sure and the way the threesome ping off each other is a joy to behold but Quint has never been so dominant, so alive. He chews scenery like the shark chews his boat, the Orca, at the end of the film and his eyes, his eyes are just so piercing a blue that they make Daniel Craig’s look practically dull in comparison.
It confirmed to me that more classic Shaw films should be viewed on the big screen but also left a genuine feeling of loss, for the man, Shaw died only three years after the release of Jaws, and for cinema generally as he carved such an impression up on the big screen, seen as he should be and not on a box.
So, if you have only ever seen Jaws on the small screen – yes, and I’m still counting your 55-inch TV with wireless subwoofer as small – you have never witnessed Jaws in its true glory until you have seen it on the writ large. We’re gonna need a bigger screen, so what better way to see it than with a live orchestra and on Europe’s largest cinema screen. It really is going to be like some sort of pseudo religious experience.
And when ‘Bruce’ returns for his noon feeding (actually it is screening at 2.30pm and 7.30pm) it will matter not that most of us will have seen it hundreds of times, know exactly what shot or line of dialogue comes next, we will all be in awe of Jaws in this unique experience. To paraphrase Chief Brody at the end of the film as he blows the Great White Shark out of the water as it races toward him, we will all be smiling like sons of bitches as we clap and cheer.
Tickets bought, I’d best send my anchor suit to the dry cleaners. Now, can anyone recommend a good hotel?
Yeah, you walk staight ahead!
Jaws in concert in screening at The Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 21 October, at the time of writing you can still get tickets here:
Comment below and tell us which track/piece of the music you're most looking forward to hearing!
By Dean Newman
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