I was checking the listings for Birmingham’s Electric Cinema today when I saw the following:
Electric Beach Party – Jaws & Roy Scheider Tribute
Summer comes early to the Electric with this special tribute to the late, great Roy Scheider and one of the scariest films ever made. The Electric Cinema Film Orchestra will return with a full 22 piece orchestra! £9 standard and £15 sofa with free Pina Coladas!
Sounds like fun and I’ll probably go. Jaws, after all, is one of my favourite films and Scheider’s death in February has got me thinking a lot about it lately. Jaws wasn’t the only great film that Scheider appeared in, of course, and his filmography included numerous supporting roles in undisputed heavyweights of 70s cinema like The French Connection, Marathon Man and Klute. He also turned up in films that, while not quite so critically acclaimed, have endeared themselves to me regardless. John Badham’s copter-based conspiracy thriller Blue Thunder
Scheider also starred in Peter Hyams’ criminally underrated sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey , 2010 , but had nothing to do with Steven Spielberg’s 1941 , Ridley Scott’s 1492  or the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four .
Having said all that, there’s no getting away from the fact that Scheider shall always be remembered for playing the role of Amity Island’s Police Chief Martin Brody . And so it should be. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched Jaws over the years and – like all my favourite films – it is part of who I am. Its images, scenes and characters have seeped into my subconscious mind, inform my imagination and have a tendency to manifest themselves in strange and unusual ways.
To put it another way, I like to quote it a lot.
For instance, when faced with the limited and often insufficient storage capacity of the average supermarket shopping basket, I’ll often blurt out a Brodyism and snarl: “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This invariably attracts strange looks from shoppers, shelf stackers and instore security staff, particularly when you say it in the Duty Free compartment of a cross-channel ferry.
While taking photographs of people, I’ve often substituted the traditional pose-prompt of “Watch the Birdie! or “Say Cheese!” with Chief Brody’s more ballsy shark-slaying aphorism: “Smile, you son of a BITCH!” That also tends to get a mixed response, particularly at Weddings.
Finally, I’ve also been known to blurt out “This was no boating accident” to describe anything that doesn’t strictly fit the traditional maritime definition of “boating accident“.
In land-locked Birmingham, that tends to include most things.