|Wed, Oct 18, 2017 05:17 PM
|Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
This n' That
02/13/2008 - When I heard Sunday that actor Roy Scheider had died at age 75, I immediately thought about the first time I saw his most famous film, Jaws. I say "first time" because I saw it several times after that, and it became one of my all-time favorite movies.
Scheider, of course, playing Police Chief Martin Brody and was the hero of the flick since he killed the killer shark just in the nick of time. Scheider also starred in the first Jaws sequel, and I guess he realized he should get out while the getting was good because Jaws 2 was the only Jaws sequel worth watching.
Back in 1975, when the film was made, the Sipp Cinema in Paintsville didn't get movies until several months after they were released. Although Jaws was released in the summer of 1975, it didn't swim to Paintsville until October, just in time for Apple Day.
My dad and I were among those in line when it opened at the Sipp, and it was the only time I can remember my dad accompanying me to the movies. I normally went to the movie by myself or with my friends, so my dad's attendance with me on that October night was special indeed.
I remember vividly sitting beside Dad and watching (and listening) to the opening credits. I told dad that the music from Jaws was the best score ever written, but he disagreed, saying The Godfather music was his choice. Of the many scary moments in the now-classic film, I remember best the Sipp audience's reaction to the scene in which Ben Gardner's head pops out of the bottom of the boat. Richard Dreyfuss wasn't the only one who had a coronary at that moment.
At the time, Jaws was the highest grossing film of all time, a title it would keep until Star Wars came along two years later. Jaws received four Academy Award nominations, but Scheider, Dreyfuss and co-star Robert Shaw were not among them. Neither was director Steven Spielberg, who was overlooked in one of Oscar's greatest mistakes in history. Jaws won three gold statues, for editing, score and sound.
Scheider also starred in another of my favorite movies, All That Jazz, four years later. He was an unlikely choice to play director Bob Fosse's alter ego, but he was very convincing and Oscar-nominated for his performance. He was also nominated in 1971 for his supporting performance in The French Connection.
I wouldn't consider Scheider one of my favorite actors, but I liked him and his movies. Jaws, on the other hand, remains one of my favorite movies, and Scheider spoke one of filmdom's most famous lines when he told his shipmates that they were going to need a bigger boat.
Thanks, Mr. Scheider, for helping make my childhood so memorable.
* * *
As a collector of 1970s movie posters and other memorablia, I was also saddened to hear of the death of a lessor-known movie professional last week.
John Alvin designed posters for hundreds of movies, including three that are among my collection — Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Silent Movie, which are all Mel Brooks films.
The Young Frankenstein poster was the first I bought at the Sipp Cinema, and it began a hobby that continues to this day.
Good posters can help draw millions of movie-goers to theaters, and I'm sure Mr. Alvin can be attributed to the success of the movies for which he designed art.
Luckily, his work will last forever.