Jaws – Unwritten

From the movie JAWS there is a great example of unwritten dialogue.  One of the most famous lines in movie history was not even in the original draft script

The Shark is Spotted

In this scene, Capt. Brody (Roy Scheider) has been dropping chum to attract the White Monster.  Quint (Robert Shaw) has caught something on the fishing line and they’re reeling it in.  Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) is skeptical of Quint’s techniques and knowledge:

The leaders show above the water line. Brody is wide-eyed, waiting for that first look.

BRODY
The wire’s showing!

QUINT
(to Brody)

Unbuckle me — fast!
(to Hooper)
Grab the leader. He ain’t normal, this one…
they never —

HOOPER
It’s too wild, too erratic. It’s a marlin or a

stingray. It’s a gamefish.

Hooper snaps the rope onto the leader and holds on.

QUINT
Watch your hands —

(suddenly to Brody)
Grab onto this!

Before he realizes what’s happening, Brody is clumsily clutching at the big rod, appalled. Quint skips away for a flying gaff. He picks one, turns… That’s when the leader lashes free, sending Hooper crashing backward in a serious fall, and the rod whips at Brody’s forehead, drawing blood. Quint snatches up the rod and reels in. The wires have been bitten through.

QUINT
(to Hooper)

A marlin, or a stingray. Huh. Don’t ever tell me
my business again. Get back up on the bridge.

HOOPER
(stunned)

I’m okay…

QUINT
(to Brody)

Fasten the pole.

BRODY
What’s the point with hooks and Lines? —

QUINT
Don’t tell me my business!

(to Hooper, points)
Quarter-mile, that way. Full throttle.

Hooper shakes off his dizziness and obeys. Brody watches Quint rig up a new leader, hook up the same bait.

BRODY
(nursing forehead, gesturing at rod and reel)

How — if they’re gonna keep on breaking?

QUINT
What I do is trick him to the surface, got that?

Then I can jab him, understand?
(goes to flybridge, muttering)
Think I’m gonna haul it in as if he’s a catfish,
like everyone else does?

Brody goes inside to inspect his forehead.

ON BRIDGE – HOOPER AND QUINT

QUINT
(suddenly, pointing)

Over there!

HOOPER
What do you see?

QUINT
(still looking)
At least you handle the boat all right.
Stop. Here… Cut the engine.

Hooper cuts the engines as Quint swings nimbly down. He stands stock still on the main deck, motioning Brody to be silent. Then picking up the newly rigged rod, Quint softshoes it over to the chair. About to sit down, he freezes.

CLOSE – QUINT looking hard at something.

CLOSE – BRODY staring, eyes widening.

CLOSE – HOOPER moving in, surprised, interested, fascinated.

THEIR COMBINED POINT OF VIEW
We see the shark. First the fin… then the head and upper jaws, ten or twenty yards off the side of the boat. It finally submerges, its tail giving a final slap.

ANGLE ON QUINT
He puts his rod away and stares at it. And stares. And stares. Hooper is the first to break the silence.

HOOPER
20 feet, if it’s an inch…

QUINT
25 feet. And three tons of him there.

Hooper is nearly beside himself with a strange ecstasy. He leaps toward his gear.

QUINT
(quietly, to Brody)
I never saw one that big.

BRODY
What do we do? Get some help? Radio in?

The scene when the monster shark is first spotted, as seen in the movie:

Quite different.  More suspense.  Better.  

Added: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” 

CJ Rangel – Dec. 2012


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