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Robert Shaw Week

by Randy Fuller Dec 13, 2020

Pairing‌ ‌wine‌ ‌with‌ ‌movies!‌  ‌See‌ ‌the‌ ‌trailers‌ ‌and‌ ‌hear‌ ‌the‌ ‌fascinating‌ ‌commentary‌ ‌for‌ ‌these‌ ‌movies‌ ‌and‌ ‌many‌ ‌more‌ ‌at‌ ‌Trailers‌ ‌From‌ ‌Hell.‌  ‌This week, we find wine pairings for three films starring the late Robert Shaw.  Whether you know him as Henry VIII, Doyle Lonnegan or Quint, he was a special talent and deserves a special toast.  After all, he has a pub bearing his name in his home town near Manchester – however it is currently closed during the pandemic.

In 1973’s The Hireling, Robert Shaw plays a chauffeur who flips for the upper-crust woman in the back seat of the Rolls, Sarah Miles.  Set in post-WWI England, all the characters seem to be dealing with one post-traumatic depression or another.  Shaw does not get the girl – that might have been considered “jumping the shark.”  That opportunity comes along in the next movie.

Chauffeurs and wine go together like pub crawls and designated drivers.  SoCal wine lovers can book a car to drive you to drink in Santa Barbara, Solvang, the Santa Ynez Valley and even Temecula.  We’ve all seen limos hogging the parking lots at our favorite wineries.  When the world reopens someday, take a wine country ride and leave the driving to someone sober.

In Jaws, Quint chugs and crushes a Narragansett beer, a feat that was tougher in ‘75 than it is now because today’s Narragansett cans are 40% lighter.  Get your hands on a case of the Rhode Island brew and chug a few for Quint.

Steven Spielberg put Peter Benchley’s book, Jaws, to celluloid in 1975.  Shaw plays a professional shark hunter, which has to look odd in the “occupation” blank on the tax returns every year.  It has to be a tough way to make a living, too.  Think how many shark-tooth necklaces you have to sell just to pay the note on your boat – even though you need a bigger one.  Shaw reportedly didn’t like the book and wanted to pass on the role of Quint.  His wife and secretary convinced him otherwise, as they did with From Russia With Love.

In 1965, Shaw joined an all-star cast for Battle of the Bulge.  Sporting names like Henry Fonda, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, and Charles Bronson, the movie was filmed in Ultra Panavision 70 and shown in 70-millimeter Cinerama.  Shaw plays a heavy, a German officer who heads up a Panzer tank division for the attack on American forces.  His remark that “petrol is blood” comes true when his tank gets blown up by a fuel barrel.  The movie came under criticism for taking liberties with the actual facts of the battle.  Hey, what did you expect?  It’s a movie!

Get a wine that smells like petrol – gasoline to U.S. folks – for Battle of the Bulge.  An aged Riesling often shows what is called the “petrol note” in wine circles.  You’ll find great Rieslings from the Alsace region.  France and Germany have a history of fighting over the small area, but you won’t have to fight too hard to get an expressive Riesling wine.  It’s worth it.