Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema: Roy Scheider in Jaws

Here are a few reasons for Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema being Roy Scheider’s iconic reaction shot to the monstrous great white shark in Jaws:

  1. It’s Shark Week, so only it seems apropos.
  2. When I was home sick on Monday, I decided to re-watch Jaws because sometimes it’s important to shake it up and stray from my usual sick-day viewing requirements.  Variety is the spice of blah, blah, blah.  Also, it’s Shark Week, so that too seemed apropos.
  3. Mostly, though, I’m firmly of the mind that believes Roy Scheider’s reaction in the above image is fabulous, and this is the most important reason, so let’s take a quick respite from living every week like it’s Shark Week and discuss, shall we?

When you consider how finicky Bruce, the animatronic great white shark featured so prominently in the film’s last act, was throughout filming, it’s a testament to both Steven Spielberg and his cast at how much they were able to convey with so very little, and Roy Scheider’s look of pure dread is a fine example of this minimalism.  Sure, I get that it’s an actor’s job to convey emotions that aren’t necessarily there, and terror–particularly in horror movies–is one of those emotions, so obviously Today’s Fabulous Image in Cinema is basically Roy Scheider just doing his job, but what a job he’s doing, y’all!

Remember when he says, “We’re going to need a bigger boat”?  Maybe it’s just me, but between the panic-stricken focus in Roy Scheider’s eyes and the way his cigarette seems to droop from his mouth like he’s gone slack-jawed from bewilderment, his above look is that iconic line distilled into sincerely evocative FACE.  Sure, this is a far cry from the usual over the top camp I so adore, but if the way Roy Scheider’s face so perfectly conveys the dread and astonishment of seeing a massive shark firsthand doesn’t qualify as some sort of fabulous, we’re going to need a bigger hat (for me to eat).

Oh, and do be sure to click to enlarge and appreciate the it-doesn’t-always-have-to-be-camp-to-be-fabulous fabulousness of it all.

UPDATE (8.6.10): As my friend Laura noted, this post was initially riddle with errors referring Roy Scheider as Roy Schneider and–most embarrassing–Rob Schneider.  This is just another reminder that when I brain fart, I brain fart the Worst.  Things have since been corrected, but let’s be clear: this post devoted to the respected and beloved actor, and not the man responsible for Hot Chicks, or that awful yellowface performance in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

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