Monday, June 20, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "The 'Jaws' Log" by Carl Gottlieb

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon had a summer sale on Kindle books, and this was one of them. Just $1.99. I'd never heard of it, but the reviews were good. While I wouldn't say that reading it was a transcendent experience, it was an entertaining one. Gottlieb was brought on as the third writer to take a whack at the script, and had a bit role as the newspaper reporter in the movie, meaning that he saw quite a bit firsthand, from pre-production through the long, long, long shoot on Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 1974, and onto pickups and looping back on the Universal City lot.

No real tales told out of school, although the ebook is the 30th anniversary edition, so there are some footnotes that explain some of the dated references, update readers on changes in movie making technology, and sets the record straight on exactly how much John Milius contributed to the script. (Answer: Not a lot. "I'll find him for five, I'll kill him for ten" is the only line written by Milius that Gottlieb says made it into the final draft. And while he concedes that Milius may have come up with the idea of the characters comparing scars on the Orca, the speech about the U.S.S. Indianapolis was the work of Robert Shaw himself, who took every draft and every version that had been done (Spielberg had apparently shopped it around to several people to try and make it work), and worked at it until he finally got the thing to sing.)