It would be easy to offer you appropriately themed movies for the Fourth of July. There is, of course, Independence Day, plus flicks like Yankee Doodle Dandy, or on a more serious note, Born of the Fourth of July. But what's the fun in that? You could come up with those yourself. I could be snarky and offer only British fare, which is actually very tempting, but I have something else in mind: Independence-themed chills.
The two films for this double feature are not centered specifically on the Fourth of July, but the date is important to both stories -- whether it's the tale of tourists and teeth, or parades and creepiness. Do you see where I'm headed? For this double feature, in honor of the Fourth of July, I give you: Jaws and Cape Fear.
Time, along with the Universal tour where Jaws pops out of the water, have dulled the frights, but the film can still pack a powerful punch -- especially if you can tap into the early fears that erupted in 1975. Ideally, this film would be watched on a lake, where you can float around, kicking your legs innocently on the surface of the sea's murky depths, but I guess the couch will do.
As for the Fourth, if you remember, it's all about the holiday. Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) is told that the body that has washed ashore could have been attacked by a shark, but the mayor doesn't want that news to get out and kill Amity's 4th of July tourism. Bloody bodies? Eh, who cares? Lost revenue?! Oh no! The sunning vacationers stream in, and are given the most unpleasant holiday surprise when Jaws comes to party as they wiggle their toes in the surf.
While Charlton Heston was considered for Brody, Jeff Bridges, Timothy Bottoms, Jon Voight, and Jan-Michael Vincent were all in the running for Richard Dreyfuss' Hooper.
Live shark footage was used, but a real white pointer (great white) was cut and "extended" for some close-up shots.
Amity Island is actually Martha's Vineyard.
Quint kills the fun.
Jaws in 60 Seconds
The best of Jaws.
"Show Me the Way to Go Home"
This selection is a little less Independence Day-based, but it isn't without its notable holiday scene. Cape Fear has the Fourth of July parade, and the scene of Robert De Niro's creepy Max Cady sitting on the Bowden's fence while fireworks burst behind him. (And hey, this film also has its own important boat scene.)
Where the fear of Jaws came in the epic, iconic music and menacing shark, the chills of Cape Fear are more realistic. What would you do if you shoddily defended a rapist who was sent to jail for 14 years, and spent his time plotting his revenge -- payback he immediately begins to partake in after his release? It's a simple and totally understandable fear -- and one that is not so easy to fight.
To play Max Cady, Robert De Niro paid a dentist five grand to make his teeth look bad. It cost him 20 grand to fix it. And, he was actually tattooed -- but with vegetable dyes that fade with time.
Steven Spielberg was originally set to direct the film.
Martin Scorsese really wanted Harrison Ford to play Sam Bowden, while Reese Witherspoon auditioned for the role of Danielle Bowden. Oh, what a different movie that would've been.
On the Collector's Edition disc, you can see a behind-the-scenes look at the Fourth of July parade.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are."
An example of film noir.