In an interview with AintltCoolNews, Steven Spielberg has revealed that a blu-ray edition of his classic shark-snacks-on-people film Jaws is currently being prepared. And that’s just half of the good news. The other half is that he will not be doing any digital retouching to the film, or any of his films, so fans will be able to see how it originally looked warts and all.
AICN’s Quint (obviously a Jaws fan himself), raised the issue to the director by noting some dissatisfaction with the DVD release’s remixed digital soundtrack in comparison to the film’s original mono track from its release in 1975. Spielberg replied -
[Tjhere's going to be no more digital enhancements or digital additions to anything based on any film I direct. I'm not going to do any corrections digitally to even wires that show.
If 1941 comes on Blu-Ray I'm not going to go back and take the wires out because the Blu-Ray will bring the wires out that are guiding the airplane down Hollywood Blvd. At this point right now I think letting movies exist in the era, with all the flaws and all of the flourishes, is a wonderful way to mark time and mark history.
Spielberg pointed to the DVD release of E.T., which featured some digital cleanup work as well as the replacement of guns with walkie-talkies in the hands of the federal agents who were pursuing the kids in the film's third act.
When people ask me which E.T. they should look at, I always tell them to look at the original 1982 E.T. If you notice, when we did put out E.T. we put out two E.T.s. We put out the digitally enhanced version with the additional scenes and for no extra money, in the same package, we put out the original '82 version. I always tell people to go back to the '82 version.
It seems that Spielberg has come to realize that what may look like outdated filmmaking techniques are actually part of the film watching experience.
I think the... good thing is that they [the audience] understand when they see a movie and they suddenly see something that obviously could have been done much better today and could have been corrected in the DVD/Blu-Ray transfer, they really appreciate seeing the strings attached.
If somebody put out George Pal’s War of the Worlds and took the strings off the machines I’d be very upset. When that machine crashes in downtown Hollywood, and you see the strings going from taut to slack, that’s the thing that allows me to both understand this movie is scaring the hell out of me and at the same time this movie is a creation of the human race.
That little taut-to-slack moment of those wires on that wingtip makes the original George Pal War of the Worlds work for me. It embraces my fears and it also alleviates them in the same breath.
I have to say that while Jaws is not my favorite Spielberg film, I am glad to see him adapting such an attitude towards his work. It shows a deeper understanding of his work and its relationship to the audience as well as how his films are in their own way historical documents on the state of filmmaking.