Man Bites Shark (& Other Curiosities)
IF THE fact that Jaws has now surpassed the U.S. earnings (it’s not yet been released abroad) of any film before tempts one to consider the social significance of its phenomenal success, a little contact with the film itself should put a brake on all such cogitation. To be sure, the film is, in Robert Chappetta’s nice phrase, “a stress movie to relieve stress,” offering us all a few hours of relaxing diversion in worry about sharks as an escape from worrying about mortgage payments and grocery bills. But depressions and recessions come and go, while an audience’s appetite for the horrific has been a fairly steady thing for at least the past few centuries.
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