Today: April 10, 2024

Blues Brothers, The

Comedy, Musical, action extravaganza, they don’t make them like they used to.

Comedy, Musical, action extravaganza, they don’t make
them like they used to.

If you went into
a big-wig Hollywood producer’s office today and told them you want a huge
budget to make a comedy, musical road movie based on characters whose origins
were founded in Saturday Night Live you would most likely find yourself
unceremoniously escorted from the premises, and rightly so. This was not the
case back in 1980 when Dan Aykroyd
and John Belushi created their now
iconic characters of Jake and Elwood Blues. From its effortlessly cool opening
to its bonkers climax, The Blues Brothers has stood the test of time to be one
of the most original and entertaining films of any generation.

Newly released
from prison Jake Blues (Belushi) is coerced by his brother Elwood (Aykroyd) to
visit their old orphanage. There they are informed, by the strict Sister Mary
Stigmata (Freeman), that the home is going under and that it must raise five
thousand dollars or be shut forever. In a moment of religious enlightenment The
Blues Brothers realise they must ‘put the band back together’ in order to raise
the cash. The only snag is the band are scattered all over the place, and so
begins a road odyssey to assemble the band and play enough gigs to earn the
money. All this while the Chicago Police Department, a group of angry Nazis,
and a mysteriously angry Carrie Fisher
are hot on their heels.

It is fair to say
that the plot of the film is utterly circumstantial. What is imperative is the
mayhem, cool and outright fun it conjures. One minute we are involved in the
most ludicrous car chases known to man, still to this day nothing really comes
close to the vehicular carnage created, the next we’re jamming with some of the
most iconic names in Rhythm and Blues. Ray
Charles
pops up for a hand clapping number, Aretha Franklin steps in for a bout of Respect and even The
Godfather of Soul James Brown turns
up to show us the light.

What is so
remarkable is the film juggles so many genres at once without ever feeling
dominated by one. The comedy is fluid and constant but subtle, buried just
within the asides rather than in your face. The music comes naturally and is
never shoehorned in and the action is exhilarating, while literally driving the
plot forward. Director John Landis,
who would go onto make some of the most genre defining films of all time
including Trading Places (1983) and An American Werewolf In London (1981), never
loses sight of the fun that must be had by all. Editing down Aykroyd’s almost
324 page script the film feels remarkably tight. So much so that it demands
repeat viewing to catch all the built in gags you missed the first time.

Endlessly
quotable with a soundtrack that demands you run out and buy it, The Blues
Brothers is a film like no other. Who
needs spandex wearing hats when a pork-pie hat and Ray Bans make for the
coolest of cool. “Do You See The Light?” Hell, and indeed, yes.

To Buy The Blues Brothers On Blu-Ray Click Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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