CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"The Blues Brothers" DVD is the perfect tonic for these days...

Though the 25th anniversary edition of "The Blues
Brothers" was released the day Hurricane Katrina
slammed into the gulf coast, the film is the perfect
tonic for current events. Given the somber opening to the
toe tapping grand finale, "The Blues Brothers" takes
the viewer from sad to glad with musical stops along
the way through Gospel, Rhythm & Blues, Country
Western, Rock n' Roll and Big Band. This double
sided DVD features the original theatrical version and
an extended version of the film. The additional
fifteen minutes includes some ex positional padding and
extended musical performances by John Lee Hooker,
James Brown and the Blues Brothers Band.

Joliet Jake Blues (the late John Belushi) is released
from jail and is greeted by his brother, Elwood Blues
(Dan Aykroyd), a motor head and a fine harp player.
The Blues Brothers learn that their old orphanage is
about to be closed down. During a Baptist Church
Service, Jake receives the Holy Spirit. In order to
save the orphanage, the Blues Brothers recruit their
old band to produce a musical extravaganza and a fund
raiser for the orphans.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies used the same
cornball plot to string their elaborate musical
numbers in the barn. "The Blues Brothers" does the
same thing with the difference involving surrealism
and exaggeration. Between a variety of musical numbers, Director John
Landis stages some of the best car chases ever and includes an elaborate gag
involving a Red Pinto floating in mid air over the
Chicago skyline.

This film revived the careers of James Brown, Cab
Calloway, Aretha Franklin and John Lee Hooker.” The
Blues Brothers" marked John Belushi's last appearance
in a good movie. The majority of the "Blues Brothers"
surviving cast reunited 18 years later in the
underrated "Blues Brothers 2000" which introduced John
Goodman, Joe Morton and J. Evan Bonifant as new
additions to the Blues

Growing up in Canada, Dan Aykroyd had a love
for American music created in Chicago and Memphis.
With the help of Keyboardist Paul Shaffer, Aykroyd and
Belushi recruited guitarist Steve "the Colonel"
Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Matt "Guitar" Murphy
with a fabulous horn section represented by Sax player
“Blue” Lou Marini, trombonist Tom "Bones" Malone and Frank
Sinatra's trumpeter Mr. Fabulous, Alan Rubin, to
become members of the Blues Brothers Band. While
already backstage legends to the music industry, these
performers earned some spotlight as members of the
Blues Brothers Band.

Profiting from his passion, Aykroyd (along with John's
brother, Jim Belushi) became an investor in the
restaurant chain, "House of Blues," which features
Southern cuisine and live musical entertainment. This
chain of 10 restaurants in North America (including
Orlando) house the International House of Blues Foundation (IHOBF) IHOBF features Blues Ambassador Scholarship and the Blues SchoolHouse
program for area schools. With limited arts funding in education, it is
refreshing to see responsible corporations step up and provide a
venue for such fun activities and growth.

The lesson of the Blues is that everyone faces
tragedy, hopelessness and despair; it is how one
reacts to these challenges that one truly learns to
live life. One can look at the drug induced tragedy of John
Belushi or One can marvel at his playfulness, physical prowess
and vocal characteristics.” The Blues Brothers" features an
infectious enthusiasm of the artists that dares the viewer from
not feel better.
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