Jaws’ Quint was already quite surly in the theatrical cut, but a deleted scene from Steven Spielberg’s classic would’ve made him even harder to like.
A deleted scene would’ve made Jaws‘ Quint much harder to like. While Steven Spielberg’s classic remains a great all-around movie over 45 years after its 1975 release, a major reason Jaws works so well is the trio at its center: police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), consulting oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and grizzled shark hunter Captain Quint (Robert Shaw). They’re three very different men from very different backgrounds that lead very different lives. Yet, it’s these differences that make it so much fun to watch them bond at sea as they pursue a monstrous great white.
While all three men are technically doing their jobs while hunting for Jaws‘ hungry shark, Brody and Hooper also have a level of heroism about them, mainly going after the creature so it won’t claim the lives of any more of the New York City adjacent Amity Island‘s citizens. Quint, on the other hand, is basically a mercenary for hire. He’s primarily hunting the shark to make a lot of money, with a secondary goal of once again proving himself dominant over one of nature’s biggest predators.
Quint isn’t necessarily a bad person, and can be likable at times, such as when drinking with Brody and Hooper. What Quint is, though, is something of a jerk. He makes his entrance into Jaws by raking his fingernails down a chalkboard, and has no issues giving Brody and Hooper a hard time when it’s clear they know nothing about shark hunting. He also becomes so obsessed with taking down Jaws that he nearly gets his comrades killed, does ridiculous things like destroying the Orca ship’s radio, along with causing his own death. A deleted Jaws scene would’ve added to that by having Quint be needlessly cruel to a child who was just trying to play the clarinet.
The Jaws deleted scene in question would’ve offered an earlier look at Quint, and seen him out and about in Amity. He heads into a store to buy piano wire that he claims is for choking fish, as one does, but while there, he also sees a boy attempting to play a clarinet. The boy clearly isn’t very good yet at this point, and Quint is nice enough to make him feel even more awful by mocking his off-key playing. Quint loudly hums the intended notes, leading the child to eventually give up and stop playing. However, at the very least, this deleted scene is easier to stomach than the nightmarish deleted scene where Jaws eats a child.
While Quint’s actions in this particular scene hardly make him a monster, he definitely once again comes off as callous. Adding to things is that no impression is given that he knows the kid, meaning that Quint just decided to casually taunt a child while he waited, for no other reason than his own amusement. That doesn’t exactly paint him in a great light as a person, and Spielberg was wise to leave it out of Jaws‘ final cut, lest Quint tip over the line from likable scoundrel to outright misanthrope. At the same time, it’s good that the clarinet scene was made available for viewers to see, as it’s still a good little bit of acting from a clearly amused Shaw.
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