Things happen fast on Amity Island. What else is there to do but get drunk and fool around?
Shortly after Chrissie’s partially denuded remains are found, Brody has Polly print up “Beaches Closed” signs, there is a town meeting at which Vaughn and the town merchants shoot Brody down and keep the beaches open, Alex Kintner and Pippet are killed, and thrill seekers from as far away as Connecticut and New Jersey come to collect the $3,000 bounty Mrs. Kintner has placed on the shark’s head, snout, beak, whatever.
We think Ben Gardner died on July 2.
As stated before, the movie lists Alex’s death on June 29 and Chrissie’s on July 1 or 2, which can’t be right. Brody’s police report on Chrissie’s death states July 1, but she couldn’t have died after Alex. Someone will have to amend his report.
Who could have known that technology would one day exist that would allow someone like me to advance the film frame by frame?
Most likely Chrissie died in the late 20’s of June, and Alex died on June 29. That way Mrs. Kintner’s slap of Brody is justified (“I’m sorry, Martin. She’s wrong”/”No, she’s not”) as well as her statement that she “just found out a girl got killed here last week and you knew it.”
Anyway, Ben Gardner is played by the late Martha’s Vineyard native Craig Kingsbury, who was acknowledged as a special salty mariner consultant to Robert Shaw’s Quint. It is Gardner who greets Hooper at the dock with:
Hope you’re not going out with those nuts, are ya?
…but who himself is seen soliloquizing on the open water in the midst of those same nuts:
Wait’ll we get them silly bastards down on that rockpile: there’ll be some fun; they’ll wish their fathers had never met their mothers when they start taking their bottoms out and start slammin’ into them rocks, boy. Get away from there, ya goddamn fool, you! What’s the matter with you? You wanna swamp us, ya crazy son of a bitch?
After the chaos of the day, Hooper persuades Brody—who, after all, can do anything because he is Chief of Police—to cut open the tiger shark caught by local yahoos. The pair then head off by Hooperboat to a place somewhere between Cape Scott and South Beach because, as Hooper says (despite the fact that Alex Kintner and Pippet died in broad daylight), “he’s a night feeder.”
It is then they find Ben Gardner’s boat, a shark tooth wedged in the hull, and Ben Gardner’s eyeless skull.
It is the next morning when a shaken but galvanized Brody and Hooper confront Vaughn, who informs them that “tomorrow’s the Fourth of July; it’s gonna be the best summer we ever had.”
Just not for Ben Gardner.