The Unexpurgated Estuary of “Jaws”

The Edited Estuary Scene in JAWS

Deemed too gruesome for the final film, I’ve only glimpsed a bit of the original estuary scene in “The Making of Steven Spielberg’s Jaws” doc available on the Jaws Anniversary DVD.

The hapless boy scout leader (played by stuntman Teddy Grossman)  has fallen out of his little rowboat, been dragged under, lost an athletic (and still sneakered)  leg.  In the unedited version, we see him propelled by the shark, pushing  Michael Brody out of harm’s way as the fish pushes him out to sea.

Excessive gore aside, I read somewhere that Grossman was a bit too hammy in this scene which could be another reason Spielberg axed it.

It’s still my favorite part in the movie, even its edited form–the, sweet oblivious Grossman (“Hey, you guys need any help?)  trying to tell the boys how to tie a knot while the fin speeds toward him is full of pathos and terror.

I remember staring at a photo included in the JAWS log, (a childhood bible of sorts),  that showed Grossman with blood pouring out of his mouth as thick and dark as chocolate syrup, his eyes cast back at that towering fin escorting him to oblivion. There’s something weirdly religious about the martyrdom and the blood in this scene–the Christian sacrifice in the mouth of the  pagan God.

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