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"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

By Bruce Chadwick

originally published: 10/25/2022

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

“You’re going to need a bigger boat” -  Police Chief Brody

“Da…da..da..dum. Da …da…da…dum”

The scare-your-pants-off movie Jaws, enormous shark and all, is coming back to New Jersey this weekend as a concert movie at three cities, The Count Basie Center in Red Bank at 8 p.m. Friday, Newark’s Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday and New Brunswick’s State Theater at 3 p.m. Sunday.

In it, you’ll once again see the money minded Mayor, the good-hearted chief of police, the shark expert, the chief’s loving wife, his adorable kid and…

WWWHHOA !!! – the Shark !!!!!!

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

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Jaws is  the latest in the long line of film concerts presented by the New Jersey Symphony. It will be the 1970s film, with music provided by the Symphony, conducted by Nicholas Hersh.

The conductor, Hersh, a free-lance orchestra leader who has conducted for orchestras all over the country, can’t wait for fans to tumble into their seats and start getting scared.

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

“It’s amazing how a film nearly 50 years old is so successful. You even know how it ends and you watch it, and just love it,” said Hersh

He’s right. I saw it in a movie theater in New Jersey when it first opened and was terrified by it. I didn’t go into the water again for 20 years. It is on some cable movie television stations just about every day, along with its several sequels.

“People love the movie,” said Hersh, who first waw it when he rented it from Blockbuster when he was a young man.

What is the lure of a film concert? I mean, we’ve all seen the film, unless you were held captive in a mountain hideaway all these years. We all know how it ends, right?

Hersh smiles. With film concerts, there is something special. “Jaws is a perfect example. The music, by the great composer John Williams, is not only wonderful, but really intense. That da,,da,,da,da dummm” beat drives you crazy, Talk about ominous. You know fear is straight ahead and you can’t wait to get there,” said Hersh.

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

He is a veteran film concert conductor. He has conducted orchestras playing the scores to various Harry Potter movies, several Star Wars movies and even The Godfather (leave the gun, take the conolis).

“The music  is secondary to the film when you see it in a theater or on TV, but when you see a film concert like Jaws, the music is first. You really listen to it. When you do, you see how the composer matches the musical notes to the personality of the actors or the scene. In a film concert, you get the very best, everything the music has to offer,” said Hersh.

And the music makes the drama. “This is true in Jaws. Throughout the film you hear that constant musical run of the da.da.da.da dummmmmmm note, telling you, musically, that there is danger up ahead.”

The other big attraction for the film/concert version of Jaws is the real shark attack. Last year 47 people were attacked and bitten by sharks in the U.S, about one third who were attacked and bitten worldwide. People have been attacked off the Jersey Shore, the  beaches of Long Island and the beaches of Cape Cod. The news media sensationalize all of the attacks. There have been numerous TV documentaries about shark attacks.

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“The news of attacks on TV is a constant reminder that we can all get attacked if we’re not careful and that it happens, and happens a lot,” said Hersh.

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

A film concert also provides a ‘community setting” for a film, said Hersh. “It’s one thing to sit alone at home and see Jaws on TV, or with your wife and kids, but it’s an entirely different thing to see it with friends and neighbors together at a big theater,” he said.

And there is ‘the moment’ in a film when the audience erupts with passion and pleasure. I waw the N.J.  Symphony film concert of the film Casablanca. In the middle of the film, the free French in Rick’s Cafe drown out the Nazis singing their national anthem with passionate rendition of the French National anthem, Le Marseilles.. When the free French finished, the entire audience burst into sustained applause.

"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

There is the greed factor in Jaws, also. The Mayor should close the beaches, but does not want to because fear of a shark attack will kill his vacation business.

“All of those things will be true this coming summer, and twenty summers after that,” said Hersh.

The conductor also thinks that the Jaws film concert is giving new life to an old fear. “We have had sharks in the water since prehistoric time. We have always been afraid of them, but movie showings of Jaws, and this Jaws film concert, really puts new interest in shark attacks.

So, will there be shark attacks next summer at the Jersey Shore?




"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!

Photos of Jaws copyright by Universal Studios and other relevant production studios and distributors. Photo of NJ Symphony by Fred Stucker.

Bruce Chadwick worked for 23 years as an entertainment writer/critic for the New York Daily News. Later, he served as the arts and entertainment critic for the History News Network, a national online weekly magazine. Chadwick holds a Ph. D in History and Cultural Studies from Rutgers University. He has written 31 books on U.S. history and has lectured on history and culture around the world. He is a history professor at New Jersey City University.



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