Ultimate fan movie documentary maker Jamie Benning is back with his latest “filmumentary.” After successfully inventing a new genre with his feature-length documentaries for George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy, and then following them up with one on Lucas and Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, he’s now chosen another Spielberg movie for his next project.
Inside Jaws follows the production of Spielberg’s second proper movie, Jaws, and is chock-full of Jamie’s usual smorgasbord of behind the scenes footage and photos, outtakes, deleted scenes and interviews with the cast and crew culled from nearly 40 years of archives, and edited together beautifully. As always, this gives the viewer a intriguing glimpse into the making of the movie, and even massive Jaws fans are sure to learn something new over the 2 1/2 hours.
This is the closest you’ll get to a Spielberg commentary track as he’s never released an official one, but it’s also so much more. We get to hear tales from not just just the director, stars and writers, but also the first hand accounts of many extras, labourers, stunt people and effects personnel — with many new interviews conducted especially for this work. We hear of the praise for actress Lee Fierro who played Mrs. Kitner, the mother of the boy eaten at the beach, whose impassioned speech to Chief Brody gained her a round of applause from the crew, although maybe not from Roy Schneider as his cheeks were probably sore from all the slaps she gave him. There’s more praise for Robert Shaw’s portrayal of Quint, both sober and drunk, and it’s always interesting to hear how much the actors themselves bring to their characters and the movies overall — Dreyfuss, for example, was the one to realize that cutting open a shark’s stomach would stink and added the appropriate reaction to his performance.
Other great moments include seeing the special tooth-shaped clapperboard used on some scenes, interesting animations showing how the scenes with Bruce (the shark) were made, and how the cinematographers got that great tracking-zoom shot of Brody on the beach. I didn’t know as much about this movie as I do about Star Wars and Indy, so it was fascinating to learn things like the fact that one of the biggest shock moments of the whole film was added after test screenings when Spielberg wanted more screams from the audience — and it was shot in a swimming pool! Or that a lot of the minor actors in the movie were actually local people — the doctor in the film was actually the real doctor in the town where Amity was created. It’s also quite freaky seeing a young Steven Spielberg — I’m only really used to him having silver hair.
Check out the full filmumentary below or head over to Jamie’s filmumentaries.com to see the rest of his work.