The cult classic 1975 film directed by Steven Spielberg, which is now streaming on Foxtel Now (as well as its two less-memorable sequels), shows character Alex Kintner enjoying a day at the beach on Amity Island on the July 4th holiday weekend.
It’s already a confronting scene, as we watch from the eyes of the great white shark as it approaches Alex from below, with the iconic music grumbling in the background.
And then, Alex disappears into a billow of blood as the hundreds of beachgoers scramble to shore.
But this scene was almost far more graphic, with a feature-length documentary The Shark Is Still Working revealing we were initially going to see in great detail the shark swallowing Alex.
Cheers to the editor who chopped that footage out.
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The scene was shot by second-unit director Joe Alves, as production on the film was near completion and Spielberg, who was only 28 at the time, had left Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts where the movie was shot.
Unfortunately, the deleted scene has never been released to the public, but we managed to find some snippets of it in the documentary, which shows a dummy was brought in as the stunt was filmed.
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While it’s not known why it was cut, it is said either it was too graphic or that Spielberg didn’t want to reveal the shark’s full appearance until later in the film.
The American actor who played Alex 44 years ago, Jeffrey Voorhees, detailed to The New Daily in a 2014 interview the gruelling process behind shooting that scene.
Voorhees was 12 at the time, in what was his first and only acting gig.
“It wasn’t scary filming the scene because the shark was just a big machine. Spielberg said to me, ‘OK, you are going to swim out on this raft and then we will say cut!’.
“Well, the water was freezing cold during the shoot.
“I was then told that they were going to put half of my raft on top of the mechanical device and then blow it up with all this fake blood going up in the air.
“As that was happening I was to go underwater and stay underwater for as long as I could.
“They tried it for the first time and it blew up and I went underwater and they yelled, ‘Cut! Your arm was sticking out of the water Jeff, we are going to have to try it again’.
“But it took five to six hours for all the blood to clear out of the water before we could do the shot again.
“After about five attempts filming the scene they got two guys in wetsuits with oxygen tanks to pull me down and give me air while I was underwater. That’s the take that made it into the film.”