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The Darkest Moment In ‘Jaws’ Had Nothing To Do With *That* Shark
Steven Spielberg briefly ruined the ocean for me, thanks to his 1975 classic Jaws, in which a giant great white shark terrorizes the sleepy New England beach town of Amity Island. It's hard not to develop a phobia of sharks after watching a two-hour bloodbath where a rogue fish devours five people, and one dog.
Watching it again as an adult, I now realize the true horror of the film doesn't play out in blood-soaked waters, but inside the cabin of a fishing boat, over drinks:
The scene begins innocently enough. Inside the Orca, Quint, the boat's captain, played by an acerbic Robert Shaw, regales marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and the town's police chief, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), with sea stories of how he earned his scars.
To anyone who's drunkenly shot the shit with old friends, it's a relatable moment, from the highs, to the inevitable alcohol-fueled lows: The audience is reeled in as the characters drink, swap tales, boast, and quip. But when Hooper asks Quint about a scar on his forearm, the salty fisherman, hired by Chief Brody to hunt and kill the shark, at first appears to evade the question — hinting at the troubling memories about to spill forth.
Quint reaches out, gently pats Hooper's arm, remarking that the scar is all that remains of a now-removed tattoo of the USS Indianapolis. Hooper's expression goes stiff, and it stays that way for next several minutes as Shaw delivers his iconic monologue detailing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis:
What makes the scene so haunting — aside from Shaw's perfect delivery, down to the character's empty eyes and sour smile — is that the story is based on real life events.
Throughout the nearly four-minute speech — which Shaw helped edit down from a ten-page draft to just five — the actor gets only a few details wrong: the date of the sinking, and the size of the crew.
The real-life events occured on July 30, 1945.
The Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis was returning from a mission in the Philippine Sea to deliver parts for the atomic bomb that would later be dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Of the nearly 1,200 crewmen aboard the USS Indianapolis, an estimated 200 went down with the ship when it was struck by a pair of torpedoes from a Japanese submarine just after midnight.
The Indianapolis sunk so suddenly that survivors recalled leaping into the ocean, or in some cases, simply stepping over the side to escape, with one telling the San Diego Union Tribune: “I didn't jump off the ship ... The ship left me."
It was a harrowing five days before the survivors were rescued. Adrift at sea, the crew faced drowning, thirst, exposure, and sharks; Roughly 600 more men would die in the days that followed. Of the 1,196 crew, only 316 were rescued.
Back inside the cabin of the Orca, Quint describes the experience in graphic detail and with haunting imagery:
And the thing about a shark is he's got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn't even seem to be livin'… 'til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin'. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin' and your hollerin' those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.
The scene served as a way to explain how the cantankerous, brooding sailor came to be that way. And it's the remorse and pain Quint expresses that fuels the monologue. In two separate instances, Quint recounts the number of men lost, and the mission, once at the beginning:
“We'd just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in 12 minutes."
And again at the end: “Eleven hundred men went into the water. 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest... Anyway, we delivered the bomb."
The effect, is that we know the value of the mission isn't lost on Quint, but he's keenly aware that it's what ultimately spelled the crew's doom.
“What we didn't know, was that our bomb mission was so secret, no distress signal had been sent," Quint says. “They didn't even list us overdue for a week."
The circumstances of the sinking and fate of the crewmen remained a mystery to the greater public for long after — and many were only made aware of the disaster after Jaws hit theaters.
Much like Hooper and Brody in the scene, the speech leaves you unnerved and wishing for dry land.
Former Marine Commandant tells Trump that pardoning troops accused of war crimes 'relinquishes the moral high ground'
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Associated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."