Directed by John Landis
Written by Dan Aykroyd and John Landis
The Blues Brothers is quite possibly the best action musical comedy ever made. Never in the history of cinema has there been so many laughs, so many great musical performances and so many car crashes combined all in one movie.
The film is the story of two men, Jake and Elwood Blues, who met and bonded as young boys at the St. Helen Of The Blessed Shroud Orphanage in Chicago, IL, as they attempt to raise the money needed to pay the orphanage’s property taxes so the county won’t repossess the building. Jake is inspired at a church service and realizes that he needs to get The Blues Brothers band back together, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. While Jake was in prison, they all went off and got other jobs. However, Jake doesn’t take no for an answer. He has seen the light and nothing can stop his determination to complete his mission from God, not the police, not a parole officer, not the Illinois Nazi Party, not the Illinois National Guard, not an assassin, nor even angry country musicians. Luckily, Jake has Elwood behind the wheel, whose driving skills rank him alongside the likes of Frank Bullitt and Popeye Doyle.
Along the way, there are fabulous musical numbers of gospel, soul, blues, big band and R&B featuring James Brown, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and of course, The Blues Brothers perform with their band, including some rock and roll and country and western songs. The soundtrack also features Sam & Dave, Elmore James, Louis Jordan and Fats Domino
John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd first appeared as The Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live. They started out warming up the audiences before the show and then performed on it. In 1978, comedian Steve Martin asked them to open up for him in Los Angeles. The event was captured and released on Briefcase Full of Blues, which went platinum and featured two top 40 hits. The success of the album and their own comedic careers gave them the clout to bring The Blues Brothers to the big screen. They enlisted the help of director John Landis, who Belushi had previously worked with on the hilarious National Lampoon’s Animal House. Landis took Aykroyd’s 324-page first draft and streamlined it into a workable script.
The 25th anniversary edition comes with both the original theatrical version, making its first appearance on DVD and the extended edition, which has appeared before. The sound has been remastered and the music sounds great.