When I read in the newspaper that Jaws would be shown at a local pool, I had to go. The last time I saw it in its entirety was in a Madison, Wisconsin theater in 1975. When a bloated dead guy floated out of a capsized boat’s window, I kicked the seat ahead of me so hard, I bruised my leg. I didn’t want to take a bath for a week.
The idea of allowing people to swim while watching a film that terrified me forty years ago was too much. This was an adventure I didn’t want to miss.
When we arrived, we staked out our turf across the pool from the big screen. The showing was free so I expected a mob. A surfing music band played poolside to get us in the mood.
There were about as many people in the water as out of the water.
I thought swimmers would flee the pool and join the other half watching from the safety of the grassy slope after the 4th of July shark attack. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum… We all knew what was coming. Many brave souls bobbed on the water and continued to watch.
I had forgotten about the humor. In the beginning of the movie, Brody (Roy Scheider), freaks himself out after studying a shark book complete with photographs of attack victims. He orders his sons to climb out of their moored boat. His wife (Lorraine Gary), thinks he’s overreacting. She glances at the book then screams for them to “Get out of the boat!”
Later, Quint (Robert Shaw) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfus), compare scars on their arms and legs. Hooper says he has the old curmudgeon beat. He points to his heart and says, it was broken by a girl long ago.
The one-liners, “That’s one bad hat, Harry,” and, “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” by Brody, tempered the horror. The slower pacing subdued the tension. We needed the downtime to slow our beating hearts. “Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women.” Quint cracked me up.
As Jaws ramped up with violence, the pool emptied. Could you blame them?
I had expected the film to be grainy, the sound to be garbled and the crowd to talk through the whole movie. It was like watching at home, if I had a giant movie screen and a pool. There was something about seeing the screen reflected in the water that added an extra chill.
I found Movies in the Park’s Facebook page and suggested they make this an annual event. I don’t think it would be the same if they played, “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Will I take a bath this week? I think I’ll play it safe and stick to showers. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum…
This is a response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge half and half.
Have you seen Jaws? How long has it been? Could you swim with sharks?