To coincide with the 30th anniversary of the now-classic Steven Spielberg film, a new expanded edition, in hardcover for the first time, of one of the best "making of" books of all time.
Steven Soderbergh, Bryan Singer, Rod Lurie, John Landis, Steve Martin, and Rob Reiner are among the many filmmakers who concur, more than 30 years after its first publication, that The Jaws Log by screenwriter Carl Gottlieb deserves an enduring place as a "modern classic" on filmmakers and filmmaking.
The only book on how 26-year-old Steven Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's #1 bestselling novel into the phenomenal movie it became, Gottlieb's chronicle of this extraordinary year-long adventure was first published in 1975, generating 17 printings and selling more than 2 million paperback copies. Long out of print, a new, expanded paperback edition was published in 2000 to mark the movie's 25th Anniversary, featuring a 22-page behind-the-scenes photo album, a new afterword by Gottlieb updating readers on the fates of thefilmmakers, and an introduction by Peter Benchley.
Now, on the occasion of the movie's 30th Anniversary, The Jaws Log is available for the first time in an affordably-priced hardcover edition with a new foreword by the author.
This updated version of the making of Speilberg's superb film Jaws is a great piece of nostalgia for me. I last read the original version when I was at school in the late 1970s, so understandably I remember very little of it except that it was a good read. This was one of the first real "making of a movie" books, long before all those endless documentaries you find on blurays these days. The only other one I remember reading when I was still at school was Roger Moore's book on the making of Live & Let Die. The Jaws Log is a great read & discusses how the film was made from every area possible. Like the film itself it really stands the test of time.
Creo que lo que más me interesa destacar de este libro es que es ideal para quienes hayan amado "Jaws" o "Tiburón" con su vida, como es mi caso. Extrañamente, mi amor por los tiburones nació a partir del día en el que vi la película. Años atrás, mi temor por estas criaturas era tan enorme como un Megalodón (ni siquiera era capaz de meterme a la pileta en la noche por temor a la indeseable visita de un escualo, se los juro), pero con el tiempo empecé a entender muchas cosas sobre estos hermosos animales, y "Jaws" terminó por darle broche de oro a la cuestión. Sé que sonará raro, pero es que la película me impactó tanto que nunca más volví a ver a los tiburones de la misma forma. Tanto vigor, tanta voracidad, tanta monstruosidad y persistencia en una sola criatura... Normalmente uno espera que luego de ver a un tiburón gigantesco que come a quien se atreva a entrar a su territorio, sea motivo de temor a dichos animales, o incluso a sumergirse al agua. A mí me pasó al revés.
Y naturalmente, mi interés por la película y por los tiburones en general fue creciendo cada día más, y cuando me encontré con este libro me prometí leerlo un verano, cerca del agua. Estas vacaciones me lo traje conmigo y amé la experiencia al 100%. Lo único que quizá deba advertir al respecto es que es un libro exclusivamente técnico de cine, una crónica sobre cómo se realizó la película, los elementos que se utilizaron, los desperfectos en el tiburón mecánico, entre otras curiosidades de esa índole. Quizá lo recomendaría más para amantes del cine o de Tiburón en específico.
A must for any Jaws fan; novel or film. I was grinning from ear to ear while reading this incredibly detailed rendition of the film making process. It's funny, clever and carries a deep insight into every step of the Jaws production - from getting the rights to novel, the difficulties overcome during shooting and all the way through to the premiere of what is now one of the most successful and famous blockbusters in the world.
I like this kind of book, written from the viewpoint of someone who was actually there, and in this instance the actor and scriptwriter Carl Gottlieb. Like Bob Balaban's reflection on the making of Close Encounters, which I heartily recommend, this is a film that I really, deeply love. As I child of the 70's and a teen of the 80's of course I loved Star Wars and later Raiders, but it was these two films that had the larger, and more long term impact.
Back to the review. This is a really interesting book, as much for the insight into all the other details that are part of the making of a film. We may know the tales of drunken actors on set, or affairs between stars but this book really delves into the detail - the locals stealing the props and equipment overnight, the massive delays caused by sailing boats in the background of shots on the sea, the logistics of moving a 12ft Tiger Shark from Miami to Martha's Vineyard...
It also gives a good insight into those early moments of obtaining the rights to a, then, unpublished book, choosing a director and crew, working the script into something resembling a shooting script, getting the actors you want, and what to do when you can't (let alone the stars who wanted in - Charlton Heston as Brody anyone??). The detail is here, written from a direct source right up to the point when the film was handed over to the Studio as finished.
And this is where it gets really interesting because the book was written before the release and the subsequent notes written 25 years later, tell you, to some relevant degree, what happened next. They knew that the film was good, but had no idea as to what it would become. The best example I can offer on this is the USS Indianapolis speech - barely mentioned in the text, it has it's own section in the notes because they had no idea how iconic this speech would become. Also, I would say it wraps up any argument about who wrote it...
So overall I enjoyed this book, because I love the film. If you do too then you should read it. If you don't but have an interest in cinema then it's worth looking as an understanding of how films were made before our digital age.
No, the title does not refer to a ginormous shark turd, although Steven Spielberg and his cohorts worried that their trouble-plagued production of Jaws was crap and might possibly lay a big shark turd at the box office. The results proved otherwise, and this book is one of the choicest examples of its type: a spirited behind-the-scenes "making-of" account about the vagaries of movie production. I remember quite well how much I enjoyed reading this more than 30 years ago, on the heels of seeing the movie--no mean feat in itself because it took a lot of pleading to get my parents to allow me to see it (I generally was not allowed at that tender age to see R-rated monster movies; "too scary; might give you nightmares," and such). So, of course, when we saw the movie, it was my dad--and not me--who nearly jumped to the ceiling when the corpse head popped out of the sunken boat.
Hablar de ‘El diario de Tiburón’, lo es de una detallada pero amena, sin pelos en la lengua a la par que diestra y sui gerenis narrativa acerca del pre, in y post confección del aclamado, genial y ya clásico film.
El autor de la obra y guionista reclamado por Spielberg para rescatar un primer guion algo fallido en visualización y puesta en imagen, Carl Gottlieb (actor y profuso escritor de shows de TV), describe con frescura, descaro y cierta socarronería, los devenires de lo que resultó ser un rodaje algo tormentoso, que se alargó en el tiempo y presupuesto debido a las inclemencias climáticas y de la zona, sus problemas técnicos, de filmación, obras, reglamentos y población local. Pero sobre todo ello, muestra el entusiasmo y determinación, pese a las dificultades, de un equipo totalmente involucrado en la causa (con un joven, con chispa y aún entusiasta Spielberg a la cabeza) que se obstinó en sacar adelante un film en el que creían firmemente; mediante el rodaje a pie de ‘cañón’, realizado con mimo y artesanía (mediante el montaje diario, la corrección y añadiduras del guion, entre otros). Pese a ello, hay cabida para las anécdotas, los líos y algunas que otras escenitas de personal contratado, con sus más y menos. De su escrito trasluce la intensidad del grupo de rodaje, que vivieron codo a codo, sacando lo mejor, pero también lo peor en una situación casi de reclusión isleña, debido a la exigencia natural de la finalización de la película y del ambiente familiar (en un principio divertido), repleto de veladas ebrio- filosóficas, impregnadas de la esencia del rodaje diario, que acaban por colapsar mentalmente a mencionados individuos; sin excepción. Los más exigentes y puristas en lo referente a lenguaje cinematográfico, no crean que deben pasar por alto la obra (a tenor de lo mencionado), ya que no se decepcionarán pues a través ella, Gottlieb detalla cada paso pormenorizado de pre y post producción, incluyendo descripciones sobre los oficios y tareas precisas en ello, con sus denominaciones y lo que implican.
Así que, es una obra muy recomendable, por ofrecer una visión de primera mano, fresca, engañosamente simple pero detallada, peculiar y honesta de lo que supuso la creación de la legendaria película de asesinos marinos, top uno de Blockbusters.
I read this after rewatching Jaws recently. It's a movie I fell in love with as a kid and continue to enjoy whenever I see it. The Jaws Log is by one of the writers of the screenplay and actor in the movie, Carl Gottlieb. He worked on the movie from early in the process until its release. This book is a record of his experience. The making of Jaws and the struggles behind it are legendary. This book covers those experiences, the high-expectations the studios had for the adaptation of a very popular book, the mechanical shark and reality behind movie making and special effects, man vs nature, etc... There are a few moments that reveal some of Spielberg's ideas and decisions - like referring to the movie as an "adventure" story when it was time to create the musical score. Overall, it's an easy read and a fun way to add to one's love and appreciation of Jaws.
This is a great book about a great movie. The making of Jaws has become a famous story, and Gottlieb does an excellent job of taking us right behind the scenes and giving us enough movie-making context to understand the technicalities discussed. It's fun to read about how the producers originally thought they could just hire an animal trainer to teach a great white shark the needed stunts; it's eye-opening to understand how much this movie changed movie-making (not to mention swimming habits) for decades to come. A great read!
I consider Jaws to be one of the greatest American films, but I discovered Gottlieb's book later in life. I love reading about the creative process - often arduous - behind making movies, and I've come to the conclusion that some of the best and well-loved movies emerged from chaotic circumstances.
Gottlieb recounts his experiences with warmth and wry humour, and I recommend The Jaws Log to all fans of the film.
This was fun, Goldman-esque but relating to only one movie - Jaws, of course. There´s plenty here for anyone interested in the movie, Spielberg, or Universal and the studio system in the early seventies. Of course, it was Jaws which launched the whole summer blockbuster syndrome which continues to this day and it´s fascinating to see just how controlled and planned the whole thing was - from before Benchley´s novel was even published. The fun, of course, was in how out of control everything got when it came to trying to film the 'third act' of the picture on the open sea with 'Bruce', the Orca and a (sinking) raft of actors and crew. Meticulous, entertaining and informative. And easy to digest in one sitting.
I really enjoyed this book, being a rabid fan of the original novel as well as Steven Spielberg's film. As a former film student, I loved the examination of the film-making process. The inventiveness which had to be put into play in order to push against the obstacles of time, budget, and constantly-malfunctioning special effects is a true testament to the talent involved in making "Jaws," and explains why this film has become such a success. Fans of this film never seem to get enough information about its creation, and this is an insider's peek that is as entertaining as it is insightful. I highly recommend it!
I read this book for a work program and really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories from the writing of the novel all the way through the wrapping of the film. The original book was written shortly after the movie debuted and this is the 25th anniversary edition, so I appreciated the updated footnotes. On the other hand, the book is still pretty out of date. Still, you literally feel like you are in the middle of the action during the filming of the movie.
Great little book, though much of it was covered in the extras on the Jaws film and the subsequent documentaries of the movies. Nice insights and details that may not have been covered like how they got Shaw for the part and other little tidbits. Good companion to the film.
Before the days of supplemental pseudo-documentaries on DVD and Blu-ray, there were, much like movie novelizations, making-of books. But it was rare to get one written by someone actually associated with the production itself, certainly someone so intimately involved as Carl Gottlieb, co-screenwriter of and supporting actor in Jaws.
The Jaws Log was first published shortly after the release of the movie, so the recollections are still fresh and often quite candid. And this thirtieth-anniversary edition contains updated footnote annotations with yet more of Gottlieb's firsthand observations and insights, these through the prism of time and perspective. So, it's the best of both worlds.
The information in this behind-the-scenes account will be less insightful to first-time readers in 2022 (the time of this writing), as the troubled production of Jaws has been exhaustively chronicled elsewhere in the nearly half-century since its initial release, and even the "insider practices" of Hollywood that Gottlieb illumines are now quite commonly known to general audiences in the Digital Age of on-demand information (and even many of those are now outdated, given how seismically Hollywood's business practices have shifted since that time).
As such, The Jaws Log remains an entertaining read -- and still worth it for Jaws fanatics -- but for aspiring filmmakers, there's far more raw inspiration to be found in Robert Rodríguez's indie-cinema bible Rebel Without a Crew, or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player (studied here), which details the making of El Mariachi (1993). More of an outsider's account of the filmmaking process than Gottlieb's "Hollywood insider" text, Rodriguez has a lot to teach us about what it means to be creative -- and how to best practice creativity.
Reading The Jaws Log, in fact, I couldn't help but wonder how Rodriguez, whose lean-and-mean DIY style was a consciously calculated response to the wasteful/bloated business practices of Hollywood, might've gone about meeting the constant technical challenges the production of Jaws presented. I wouldn't mind getting a new edition of The Jaws Log with his marginalia!
A must for any Jaws fan (movie or book!) or anyone who has seen the recent play "The Shark Is Broken" A fascinating insight into the legendary film that launched the summer blockbuster, and the odd insight into Hollywood! I read it in two sittings, it would have been one if my train journey was long enough! Recommend.
"Well, on location with Jaws, everyone understood the prisoners' reform movement completely. It was an indeterminate sentence instead of a fixed schedule, and it worked on people's heads."
The Jaws Log is absolutely a book that, as someone who has made film a major part of my life and writing about film and making films occasionally as a professional, I wish I had read years ago. It sounds like a putdown but this is a book that is completely accessible to a layperson who doesn't know how movies are made and I mean that as a major plus. Carl Gottlieb isn't some stodgy intellectual laying out pseudo-philosophical/political treatises on the meanings of the Shark and the town or mayor or what the Orca represents or any of that stuff - he's the guy who co-wrote The Jerk with Steve Martin and his personality comes through as an amiable but clear-eyed figure looking inside and sort of out as a reasonably talented guy who got brought in by his buddy Steven to do a rewrite on the Jaws script after he made some basic suggestions.
At the same same he doesn't dumb down the process; on the contrary he finds so many stories and anecdotes and bits of pieces of what goes into making a movie - and in the case of Jaws what happens when you can't make the film as you'd like because of that "sonofabitch (bleep)" Shark also named after the director's Lawyer - that keep one riveted. A good example is a simple nugget about how some of the crew tried and were eventually stopped by the production manager to make a profit off of wet suits. Another is the story around the local fisherman guy on Martha's Vineyard who was recorded on tape to use as influence Robert Shaw for Quint due to his particular language and dialect (also the only man to be arrested for drunk driving Oxen across a field wtf). Or how Roy Scheider finally snapped. Or how in the hell Spielberg managed to keep his cool... until he left and almost had a nervous breakdown.
But Jaws Log isn't all doom and gloom either; for all of the horrors involved with filming out of the ocean, and contrary to what i had always thought not all the problems were due to the Shark malfunctions (ie boats that would get in the shots, some inclement weather, the Orca actually sinking sinking when it wasn't supposed to), it's a book about how joyful and creative the filming process can be - or I should say the book shows that it can be that when things are going right, and other times it can be hell and it helps to have someone who knows what they're doing (or with the director the film in his head). You get to know the technical terms and processes in ways that are not complicated and it makes sense how some things play out and others have to be changed and altered. That any film can get completed may be a miracle, and Jaws is like on the mountIntop of all of them.
About 50 years ago, an author wrote a well-received book about a town terrorized by a great white shark. Hollywood adapted the novel and turned the project to a promising young director, and the resulting film changed the movie business (for better or worse). This book tells the story of how the movie was made.
Carl Gottlieb was one of the writers brought in to work on the Jaws screenplay and was a bit player in the film, and was thus was a witness to much of the production. He provides an interesting view into the moviemaking process and the many factors that can affect production, as well as a history of the making of the first summer blockbuster. And what a history it was, with the production going way over schedule and budget due to many unforeseen circumstances, including a troublesome mechanical shark (no CGI back then, kids).
Carl writes a fascinating story accessible to the average reader; he does a great job of getting across that making a movie isn’t all glitz and glamour, especially when filming on location. Much has changed about the industry since Carl wrote his book, and the 25th anniversary edition contains lots of endnotes covering such changes, as well as updates on the people involved (in case you were wondering how things turned out for that young director- what was his name, Steven Spielberg?) It’s a quick read (in spite of how long it took me), and it’s a lot of fun. If you’re someone who enjoys movies and would like to read a good case study of a movie being made, this’d be a good book. Highly recommended!
This is as stellar behind the scenes account of all the work and challenges that go into making a film. So if you're a fan of Jaws, or interested in movie making in general, or if you've ever worked in film or television (I was an AD for many years)...this is a must read.
The expanded edition has great endnotes (I think from around 2000, 25 years after the book was originally published), so there are some great updates given to pieces of the story.
My only criticism of Gottlieb is I think he's a little harsh on/dismissive of the below the line/general crew, in spots. For example, the crew not wanting Spielberg and others to skeet shoot off the side of the boat during lunch is beyond reasonable, and anyone who thought that was an okay/safe idea, for a work place, is a poor judge. Gottlieb seems to side with Spielberg. But, Gottlieb is the writer of the picture (as well as an actor), so his above the line bias/mentality is a true part of film/television making, so in a way it does accurately show that the relationship dynamics in play are complicated.
First off, let me say that the book and the movie “Jaws” are one of my top 10 favorite films and book. I originally read this book, “The Jaws Log” back in 1977 after having originally seen the film for the first time. I just ordered another copy of this book, to re-read it, after all these years. This book is an insightful backstory of how the “Jaws” film was made, written by the screen writer and actor in the film, Carl Gottlieb. Basically, this book will appeal to the many “Jaws” fans and those film fanatics (myself included) that love to read about the making of certain films. Like many other fantastic films of the 1970’s (The Godfather, The Exorcist, Apocalypse Now), the film “Jaws” went thru production problems galore, ran over budget, and almost had its director fired, all of this and more is well documented in this book, by the guy that was there on the set. Highly recommended.
This is a very detailed and entertaining account on the production of the masterpiece Jaws. The 30th anniversary expanded edition that I read contains long endnotes to comment upon something or update us about a certain person. I’m glad I read this on Kindle, it would have been horrible to flip back and forth in a physical book.
The author does a great job at giving us plenty of details without boring us with mere facts. There are a lot of funny anecdotes spliced between important events and even some quick explanations of certain industry terms or practices.
I personally wasn’t too interested in the pre-production, I wish it’d been a bit shorter. The production on the other hand flew by and before I knew it the book was over. The last fourth of the book are notes and credits.