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As edited by Spielberg and the remarkable Verna Fields (who also cut American Graffiti and The Last Picture Show), everything finally paid off. "If you look carefully," Fields points out, "you will see blue sky in one segment of a scene, cloudy sky in another, choppy seas in one scene, glassy in another." No one will feel detached enough to notice. The movie moves like gang busters, so fast that none of the mismatches really show. Even Bruce looks like a star. "Except when he heaved himself out of the water—when he had a plastic look —I was quite surprised by how genuine he seemed," confessed Documentary Film Maker Peter Gimbel, who was familiar with the real thing from his own film, Blue Water, White Death.

Like all the best thrillers—with which this movie is good enough to keep company—Jaws relies on both the immediacy of illusion and the safety it provides. The menace so cunningly created and enlarged comes close enough to have caused loud screams and small tremors of terror at pre-release screenings. Yet Jaws is vicarious, not vicious, a fantasy far more than an assault. It is a dread dream that weds the viewer's own apprehensions with the survival of the heroes. It puts everyone in harm's way and brings the audience back alive. And in Jaws, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

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