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The Bite is Coming



Next year, when Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie Jaws When it celebrates its golden anniversary, no doubt, it will be remembered as the movie that created the summer blockbuster. It was also the first film to be shot largely on the ocean and the first where the music score played a significant role. It significantly altered the way that Hollywood would henceforth promote films (heavy TV advertising), and it caused studios to seek out numerous similar projects—high-concept action films that often included non-human monsters. But before Jaws Peter Benchley wrote a novel that was immensely successful and has become synonymous with Spielberg. Today, the film remains highly regarded, while the novel has been forgotten or isn’t as appreciated. 

The novel was published on February 1st, 1974, although its 50th birthday party isn’t likely to be terribly extravagant. Benchley died in 2006 at the age of 65, and his cultural footprint is nowhere near as large as Spielberg’s. The biography of Spielberg is also very different. Spielberg was born in Phoenix, Arizona and grew to be a Jew. In the late 1960s, Spielberg was a poor student and dropped out of Cal State Long Beach.

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