By Matt Taylor
Foreword Steven Spielberg
Moonrise Media – 2011
$49.95, 296 pages
I have been reading books about films since I was a kid. For example, I remember getting the coffee table style picture novelization of ALIEN when I was in middle school. There have been some real good ones over the years like; The Jaws Log, The Winston Effect, Taschen’s Michael Mann book and Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday The 13th to name a few.
Shortly after starting to read this book, it was obvious to me that this is the pinnacle of all books about a movie. JAWS: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard is a large coffee table style book that features hundreds of stunning never-before-seen photos and intricate revealing information about the production of Steven Spielberg’s ground breaking summer blockbuster.
The layout of this book is artfully designed as it takes you through the JAWS shoot in chronological order. Every important scene is covered with color, black & white photos gorgeously spread across slick paper stock. Production stories told from all sorts of people who lived on Martha’s Vineyard during the shoot are shared on 296 pages.
Plus you get newspaper articles included that were published during 1974 and Production Designer Joe Alves creates new schematics of the sea sled mechanism and some of his original storyboards.
When you hear of all the difficulties that came from shooting this movie on Martha’s Vineyard it’s a wonder it ever got finished and turned out as good as it did. The island was not prepared for Hollywood’s style of working. The shoot was battered by the every changing New England weather, powerful uncontrollable sea, untested mechanical sharks and boats not designed for such a long demanding shoot. Plus the politics of shooting in and around the Vineyard were massive and overcoming them took numerous people to satisfy, Also the production brought so much money to the area that locals were purposefully sabotaging the shoot so that they could continue to make money the longer the shoot ran on.
As a filmmaker myself, I cannot imagine the incredible pressure Steven Spielberg must have felt at such a young age and still be focused enough to make the masterpiece JAWS is. It’s a testament to his extraordinary talent and this book makes me appreciate the movie even more (it’s one of my five favorite films).
I give first-time author Matt Taylor in collaboration with avid JAWS collector Jim Beller a standing ovation for this book. They have gone to great length to make this complete and the final word on what happened on Martha’s Vineyard during the spring/summer/early fall of 1974.
Publisher Moonrise Media should be applauded for creating such a beautiful book. The typeset, layouts, re-production of photos are vividly rendered for everyone to enjoy for years to come.
In today’s world, we all feel the pressure of a delicate economy. When you are deciding what to spend your money on, we all think about it harder and aren’t so free with spending it foolishly. With thought in mind, I would whole-heartedly recommend getting this book. The price tag on the book is a little steep but it’s worth every single penny.
It’s not often you come across something made with such great care. The people behind this book put obvious passion into its making. The result is jaw-dropping. I was literally blown away each time I turned the page.
JAWS: Memories From Martha’s Vineyard is a juggernaut of publishing.