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Review: The Blues Brothers, 25 Years Later and Still Going Strong

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audience
The Blues Brothers, while wonderful on TV, is so much better on the super-sized screen of a movie theater. That won’t stop me from picking up the 25th Anniversary edition (out today) of the movie on DVD. The extras alone should be well worth the money.

The special one-evening-only screening of The Blues Brothers included a pre-movie panel with John Landis (director, co-writer, and fan of the Blues Brothers Band), James Brown (“have you seen the light?”), Steve Cropper (one of my schoolgirl crushes for oh-so-many years), Henry Gibson (his performance as Head Nazi was perfect), and Thom Mount (who was President of Universal Studios when Blues Brothers was made and oversaw production on the film). Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues) beamed in via satellite.

henry gibson
The panel, hosted by Gordon Meyer of “Hollywood’s Master Storytellers“, shared many memories of John Belushi (Joliet Jake Blues), the making of the movie, the music, as well as updating the audience on some of their current projects. At one point, James Brown asked Dan Aykroyd about filming a movie together, with Jim Belushi, down in Louisiana. The Blues Brothers III, perhaps? Ah, speculation abounds. Regardless of whether or not there’s another sequel on the way, it’s safe to say that any project that brings the talents of Aykroyd and Brown to the screen would be a real treat for fans.

james brown
Watching the movie on the big screen again (yes, I’m very much old enough to have seen it in a theater when it first came out – several times, in fact) took me right back to those teen years. I clearly recall my fascination with Cropper and John Lee Hooker back then. Okay, it hasn’t diminished a bit on either count, but we’re talking about the movie, right? Right. The performances by the Blues Brothers Band, Hooker, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Walter Horton, and James Brown (and a host of others) served to solidify my love for blues, classic R&B, and soul. I mean, I grew up on the music of the 60’s and 70’s. I know I’m not alone in saying that The Blues Brothers stoked the blues fire within me. And maybe that’s the best thing about the movie – that the actors and musicians cultivated an interest in the blues, sort of an extension of the blues revival that occurred several years earlier.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing on the DVD will be the deleted scenes. To be included is a scene that explains the magic of the Bluesmobile. I could tell you about it now, but that would ruin the surprise.

Enjoy The Blues Brothers – 25th Anniversary Edition now available on DVD. While you’re at it, go grab some blues CDs, too. Trust me, it’s good for the soul.

All photos courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment and FilmMagic.com

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