Friday 20 May 2016

A Psychoanalytical Approach to "Jaws", Gender & a Tribute to Lalo Schifrin

"We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark." (via)

"Although it might seem strange to ponder the gender of a mechanical Great White, parsing out Bruce the Shark's gender allows us to glean new insights into the overall metaphors featured in Jaws (1975) and its sequels. By examining the gender roles of both Bruce and the protagonists, we can further dissect the film’s central conflict of man (and, by proxy, progress) versus nature and decipher the message Jaws ultimately sends about masculinity in society." Savanna Teague
There have been discussions about the role of gender in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws". According to Bryan S. Ghingold, Spielberg introduces the shark as an "über-male", gives him the "Male Gaze" instead of giving it to the audience and by doing so subverts "the spectator's male pride". The "über-male" shark's body is called a "most phallic representation", the mayor an "example of a metaphorically castrated male", the oceanographer as the opposite of a "pinnacle of masculinity in American cinematic psychology", the shark hunter a person who is overcompensating for his shortcomings "by surrounding himself with the symbolically masculine jaws" (via). But things get even more complicated as "Jaws does not label its finned foe as either gender" making both possible: Bruce, the shark, (the shark was named Bruce jokingly after Spielberg's lawyer only during the production of the film) is read as a representation of masculinity or encompasses the "monstrous feminine" (via).
"In either gender reading of Bruce, the conclusion of Jaws affirms the dominance of masculinity (and a particular idea of masculinity) as the key to maintaining order in civilization. While women are threatened by, or victims of, the shark menace, the quest to overcome the primal danger and the blind natural instinct of the shark is a male adventure. On the one hand, this may suggest that Jaws tells us men are in charge of forming our modern society. On the other, it may imply that men are most in need of overcoming this reckless primal nature within themselves." Savanna Teague
No matter which gender and what role it plays, one thing is clear: The music...

The film's score was composed by John Williams, the second most nominated individual (50 Academy Award nominations, 22 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards) (via).
::: Original theme: LISTEN
The soundtrack was released in 1975. In 1976, genius Lalo Schifrin released his brilliant discofied version of Jaws.
::: Lalo Schifrin's Jaws(!): LISTEN
The same year, the official BBC troupe danced to Schifrin's disco cover at the Top of the Pops.
::: BBC dancing troupe: WATCH

photographs via and via and via and via and via