Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars
One of the most influential books ever written about the daily ins and outs of making a movie, Carl Gottlieb’s “The Jaws Log” is a behind the screen account of the creation of one of the most popular, both critically and at the box office, films of all time: Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, “Jaws.”
A friend of Spielberg, Gottlieb was hired by the director to work on the script of the film during filming. As Gottlieb was also an actor, with appearances in such films as “M*A*S*H” and the Barbra Streisand comedy “Up the Sandbox,” he was also assigned the role of Amity’s newspaper editor Harry Meadows, a role that was quite sizeable in Peter Benchley’s source novel. The book begins with the conception of the film and ends with the successful sneak previews that “Jaws” enjoyed prior to opening on June 20, 1975. As Gottlieb says in his introduction, “This is how I saw it.”
Having sold over 2 million copies since it was first published (and by the stack of copies on my bookshelf I can honestly say I’m a proud part of those 2 million), “The Jaws Log” has influenced whole generations of filmmakers since its release. Among the directors that have sung it’s praises: Rob Reiner, John Landis, Rod Lurie and Bryan Singer. As someone that was on the set daily, Gottlieb is well equipped to recount and share the inside tales that have captivated fans for almost four decades.
As this is “the Expanded Edition,” originally published shortly after the 25th Anniversary of “Jaws” was celebrated in 2000, the book contains an introduction by Peter Benchley and an additional 25 page “Afterward” by Gottlieb updating many of the stories in the book. If you’ve never read “The Jaws Log” before, you are missing one of the best documents EVER published on the creation of a film. If you’ve only read the 1975 original, prepare to take a trip down memory lane while collecting a whole new array of memories to treasure forever.