[media frenzy] Whet your appetite for JawsFest 2012 with Janet Maslin’s original 1975 Jaws review

Steven Spielberg, 1975: "I've always been a little afraid of the ocean." [And yes, there really was a Miami Phoenix.]

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Phoenix archives ...

Earlier this summer, it was as though it were suddenly 1975 again on the beaches of Cape Cod. Not because of retro bikinis or Beach Boys hits blasting from boomboxes. Instead, July marked the resurfacing of another pop culture icon from the Age of Aquarius: the Great White shark.

On July 7, a man kayaking off Nauset Beach was followed by a 12-to-14-foot shark; beach-goers reported seeing the fin cutting through the water. Not long after, the Cape Cod Shark Spotters pilot George Breen witnessed two others a mere 50 feet off Chatham beach. Officials claimed they came in search of seals, but we think they were just showing up early (and a little off-track) for JawsFest.

JawsFest, August 9-12, is a four-day tribute to the making of Jaws on Martha's Vineyard (a.k.a., the infamous "Amity Island"). When a pre-NYT Janet Maslin first reviewed Jaws for the Phoenix in 1975 , we knew it was an instant summer thriller -- and just as it haunted us the next time we wanted to take a dip, the movie left an indelible mark on its hometown.

READ: Janet Maslin's 1975 review of Jaws

This year, JawsFest pays homage to Spielberg's bloody blockbuster, with fans, cast and crew reuniting on the island for a jaw-some schedule of events: VIP attendees this year include screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, production director Joe Alves, and actor Jeffrey Kramer. Plus, Jaws diehards (Jawsies?) can participate in a treasure hunt built around filming locations, and see live re-enactments of some favorite Jaws scenes, a display of privately collected Jaws memorabilia, and an outdoor screening of the movie. (The festivities coincide with the August 14 release of the remastered Blu-Ray version of Jaws, featuring the documentary "The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws.")

In our 1975 interview with Steven Spielberg, the nascent auteur told the Phoenix that "Not much is really known about sharks." Seems we've come a long way in 37 years, if the "Shark Arts and Conservation" portion of JawsFest is any indication: shark experts Dr. Greg Skomal (who gave us helpful shark advice back in 2009) and members of Discovery Channel Shark Week will be on hand to help raise awareness of our cartilaginous friends.

READ: Janet Maslin's 1975 interview with Steven Spielberg

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