Movies You Missed: “Jaws” : NPR

Movies You Missed: “Jaws” : NPR

Scott Simon talks with Marie Vega of Weymouth, Mass., and Lydia Mullan of Cambridge, Mass., about the movie Jaws. Both first saw it in our Movies You Missed series.


It’s time for the movies you missed.


HUMPHREY BOGART: (As Rick Blaine) I’m looking at you, kid.

CLARK GABLE: (as Rhett Butler) Frankly, my dear, I don’t care.

MARLON BRANDO: (As Terry Malloy) I could have been a contender.

BETTE DAVIS: (As Margo Channing) Fasten your seat belts.

CUBA GOODING JR: (As Rod Tidwell) Show me the money.

ROBERT DE NIRO: (As Travis Bickle) You talking to me?

ESTELLE REINER: (As an older woman) I’ll have what she has.

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Sophia) I never thought I’d have to fight in my own home.

BRANDO: (as Stanley Kowalski) Stella.

SIMON: Be careful in the water this week – dun, dun dun.


ROY SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) You’re going to need a bigger boat.

SIMON: Jaws, 1975, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, of course. A trio of great white shark hunts terrorized the New England coast on the 4th of July. Jaws invented the modern blockbuster. Almost everyone in the world has seen it, except Marie Vega, a health insurance worker in Weymouth, Mass.

Thank you for being with us.

MARIE VEGA: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: And Lydia Mullan, editor of a sailing magazine in Cambridge. In Cambridge it is called SAIL.

Thank you very much for being with us.

LYDIA MULLAN: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: First of all, I hate to put you on the spot, Marie. No, I’m not. That’s what this segment is about. How do you miss Jaws?

VEGA: When I was a kid, my younger brother was terrified of sharks and was absolutely convinced they lived under his bed. And that’s why mom forbade all of us to watch the movie. And we weren’t allowed anything to do with sharks because it would scare my brother.


VEGA: (Laughter).

SIMON: And Lydia Mullen, how did you avoid it?

MULLAN: Yeah, actually my mom was too (laughter). As a child I took sailing lessons as part of our local boat club. And my mom was really worried that if I saw Jaws I would throw up because I was so scared. And I guess her plan worked because I’m still sailing and still working for SAIL magazine.

SIMON: Well, we asked you both to see the movie. Let’s take it one at a time if we can. Marie, then Lydia, what do you think?

VEGA: I loved it. I didn’t think I would. I think it holds up pretty well in comparison. You know, maybe later in life I’ve seen other movies that don’t work out. But this one seems to have. I actually liked it.

MULLAN: Yeah, I was expecting it to be a little bit more like horror and a little bit more gore. And there’s a lot more plot than I thought there would be. I liked it too.

SIMON: Yeah, there’s actually a lot of plot.

MULLAN: (Laughter) There’s a lot of plot.

SIMON: They reportedly had various production issues with a mechanical shark that someone nicknamed Bruce. Of course, so much has been invented in the CGI world since then. But did the special effects work for both of you?

MULLAN: Yeah, I thought the shark, especially when it’s in the water and swimming, still looks pretty realistic. I don’t know exactly what a shark attack looks like, but I think when it jumps into the boat and kind of starts thrashing around, maybe it looks a little fake. But when it’s in the water, I think it’s pretty good.

VEGA: Yes, I agree. Me – When a shark swims, it really looks like a shark. But getting out of the water was a bit stiff. It just looked—it was animatronic at the time.

SIMON: Was tired too, I should think – right? – after getting out of the water.

VEGA: I would imagine (laughs).

SIMON: Of course I went – two, two, two, two – because everybody knows what you’re talking about. I believe this is a John Williams score, isn’t it?

VEGA: Yeah.


MULLAN: It’s iconic. I think – I mean, even without seeing the movie, I recognized him. The whole thing was pretty exciting. And I think he makes really good use of the silence without the loud spots of it. It’s — I mean, that’s one of the biggest things that I noticed while watching the movie was actually the sound of it.

VEGA: Same. He set the tone so well just from, like, the opening credits, even. You were already on the edge of your seat.

SIMON: I understand, Marie Vega, that you found the film to be very contemporary?

VEGA: I think so. I looked at it as a study of how people respond to emergencies and, you know, more recently, a pandemic. And I was really interested to see the mayor’s reaction to the shark and trying to, like, sweep it under the rug. And…

SIMON: Yes. Now let’s take our time and close everything.


MURRAY HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) Look, our lives depend on summer people.

RICHARD DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hooper) You won’t have a summer if you don’t deal with this problem.

HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaughn) And if you close those beaches, we’re done.

SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We’re not just going to have to close the beach. We’ll have to hire someone to kill the shark. I mean, we’ll have to tell the Coast Guard. We’ll have to get some shark repellant.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) Sir, you have a contract with the Shark Research Commission.

SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We’re going to have to put in additional deputies because there’s nobody in the world who can come here.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) You’ve got to light up this whole harbor with 100 tracks…

SCHEIDER: (As Martin Brody) We have to spend money to save what we have.

HAMILTON: (As Mayor Larry Vaugh) I don’t think any of you are familiar with our problems.

DREYFUSS: (As Matt Hopper) I think I’m familiar with the fact that you’re going to ignore this particular issue until it swims up and bites you in the ass. Now wait, wait…

MULLAN: Yes. I mean, I didn’t necessarily think that way when I was watching it. But the way Marie explains it, I think it’s absolutely true. You know, there’s definitely a group of people who are ringing the alarm bells, and people aren’t listening to them — I mean, with the pandemic, but also with climate change and many of our other crises. So, yeah, I think it’s an interesting lens through which to look at modern times.

SIMON: Lydia Mullan and Marie Vega, two new Jaws fans, thanks for being with us.

MULLAN: Thank you.

VEGA: Thank you very much. It was fun.


SIMON: And if you missed a movie, you can tell us all about it at


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