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At least he would have been spared the sailboats. When Production Designer Alves first saw and admired the Vineyard's uninterrupted horizon line, it was winter. By the time Spielberg took to the water, it was July 1; the Vineyard is one of the most popular ports in the Northeast. Small craft sailed within feet of the camera, sometimes interrupting shots.
Between weekend outings and formal regattas, sails swamped the solitude integral to the suspense of the last third of the film. Back at Universal City, executives fretting about the budget suggested that the boats be written into the action. "We couldn't do it," Spielberg says. "You have three guys out in a rickety boat, hunting a killer shark. What kind of menace is there going to be if there is a family of four only 50 feet away, having a picnic on their sailboat?"
A sort of anxious resignation set in. A scene that looked relatively simple laid out on the director's storyboard, one that called only for Bruce to negotiate a left turn, might take two days to shoot. To combat ennui, Spielberg and Dreyfuss would sing comedy songs by Stan Freberg, a hero of their teen-age years. Spielberg also had a primitive projection room constructed on one of the boats. "Universal had only two films they could send us from their Boston office," Spielberg recalls. "We watched Ma and Pa Kettle On the Farm a lot."
Dreyfuss amused himself by dating up any available women who happened to sail by. Duddy Kravitz had just opened to excellent reviews, and apparently everyone on the island had seen American Graffiti. Dreyfuss stood ready to enjoy all the perks of movie stardom, and would seize an assistant director's megaphone to pitch woo across the water. "You know why I get so many dates?" he told the envious Spielberg. "Because I have a 40-ft. face."
The monotony and the impatience sometimes caused accidents. Carl Gottlieb fell overboard and was nearly decapitated by the boat's propellers. About to duplicate Rizzo's featminus the presence of real sharksDreyfuss was almost imprisoned in his cage. Wearing a steel-and-leather corset for protection, Shaw spent two days being ingested by Bruce. Roy Scheider took no chances for his own moment of truth, which was to take place in the cabin of the sinking ship. He kept his own hammers and axes close at hand in case the effects men did not move fast enough.
By the time these last scenes were shot in October, the movie was 100% over budget and over schedule. With a month of additional filming in the Pacific still ahead of him, Spielberg left the Vineyard for the first time in almost half a year. Many members of the cast and crew had taken holidays off the island, but Spielberg had stayed behind. "I was afraid if I'd left," he says now, "I never would have gone back." After the last day of Jaws shooting on the Vineyard, Spielberg climbed into a boat and headed for the mainland, shouting to cast and crew like a still bold but newly wise commander, "I shall not return!"