Steven Spielberg's Jaws remains just as captivating today as it was in 1975, with filmmakers regularly attempting to recreate many mysterious elements that all came together to make the film a massive success. The filmmaking on display isn't the only reason audiences still dissect the film for clues, with author Joe Hill theorizing that one sequence could hold clues to a murder that took place in 1974 that is still unsolved.
In 2015, Hill attended a screening of the film with his family shortly after having read Deborah Halber’s The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases. The author, who is the son of Stephen King, recalled the case of the "Lady of the Dunes" whose body was washed on shore in Provincetown, Massachusetts roughly 100 miles from where Jaws was being filmed.
One scene in the film depicted a large number of extras arriving on the fictional Amity Island, with one extra standing out to the author for fitting the description of the Lady of the Dunes. Both the victim and the extra were between 25 and 49, weighing roughly 145 pounds, and wore a blue bandana. The unidentified victim was found wearing Wrangler jeans, with Hill positing that this would likely be in a woman's wardrobe at the time.
Hill originally published his theory on his personal Tumblr account, giving the full disclaimer that he may have merely been caught up in the moment after devouring The Skeleton Crew, but given the immense production taking place in the small town, it wouldn't be impossible for everyone nearby to show up for the film.
“I’ve heard it said that everyone who was out on Cape Cod in the summer of 1974 appears in the movie Jaws, ” Hill shared with the Washington Post. “I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, but there’s a nugget of truth. People knew there were movie stars on Martha’s Vineyard. The possibility that a person would make a stop on the island and appear in the movie is not unreasonable.”
The author pointed out that there are still a number of extras who appeared in that scene who are alive and well in the coastal community, so anything that could spark their memories about that day could prove helpful to identifying the victim.
“Two astonishing things happened on Cape Cod in the summer of 1974,” Hill recalled. “One is that Steven Spielberg filmed Jaws, and other is that someone murdered this woman in the dunes outside Provincetown and got away with it. Anything that stirs people’s memories could potentially be productive.”3comments
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[H/T Washington Post]