How to dance like the blues brothers

The Blues Brothers: 11 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The John Belushi Movie

Every person has a different choice for the perfect comedy movie, and my personal choice, since as far back as I can remember, has been the 1980 classic in which John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd got to bring their blues-loving, brotherly alter egos to the big screen. A true fan may already know how these characters came to be, but I would be willing to bet that you will be amused, surprised, and even startled by some The Blues Brothers behind-the-scenes facts we found.

The story of orphaned brothers “Joliet Jake” Blues and Elwood Blues truly began on the stage of Saturday Night Live, where John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd performed some classic cuts as the now iconic characters as part of the SNL cast’s original Not Ready For Primetime Players in the late 1970s. This would eventually lead them to land an actual record deal, start a concert tour, and conceive an idea for a feature film. Aykroyd and The Blues Brothers director John Landis would collaborate on the screenplay which sees the titular duo reunite and set out to put their band back together in order to complete a mission from God.

After more than 40 years, the passion for The Blues Brothers and its music remains stronger than the anticipation that many film-goers have for some upcoming 2021 movies they have already waited a while to see. However, that probably still does not measure up to the passion that went into making the movie, considering all of its various problematic circumstances. Don’t you wanna hear all about that, and more about went down on the set, in the following 11 behind-the-scenes facts? Hit it.

The Blues Brothers Band Musicians Played Themselves In The Movie

When Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi began taking their Blues Brothers personas more seriously, they rounded up some of the genre's finest musicians (including guitarist Steve Cropper and saxophonist "Blue Lou" Marini) to tour with them. A making-of featurette found on The Blues Brothers 25th Anniversary Edition DVD (and subsequent Blu-ray releases) tells the whole story of their formation and later casting in the film. With the exception of Paul Shaffer (also known as David Letterman's long time bandleader), who had a prior commitment, every member of the original band appears in the movie as slightly fictionalized versions of themselves.

Aretha Franklin Had Trouble Lip-Synching Her Blues Brothers Number

Appearing in the film as highly fictionalized versions of themselves were various music legends, including the late Aretha Franklin, to whom The Blues Brothers director John Landis wrote a tribute for The Hollywood Reporter, mentioning her only on set issue was lip-synching her performance of "Think." In the previously mentioned featurette, Landis cites this as a struggle many of film's professional singers could relate to, as they rarely sang a song the same way. As a result, John Lee Hooker's street-side serenade was performed live and James Brown sang gospel in the church with a pre-recorded choir backing him.

Dancers For Ray Charles’ Blues Brothers Number Were Random Bystanders

Another legendary The Blues Brothers appearance is that of Ray Charles as a music shop owner who convinces Jake and Elwood to buy his keyboard by playing a rendition of "Shake a Tail Feather" on it so mean it gets strangers dancing outside. Funny thing about those dancers: they were really just strangers the crew found on the streets of Chicago. As John Landis explains in a video for the AV Club (via Yahoo!), since John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were not great dancers, he figured he could make them look better by hiring non-professional dancers.

Cab Calloway Wanted To Perform His Recently Cut Disco Version Of Minnie The Moocher

Probably my personal favorite musical performance in The Blues Brothers is by Cab Calloway, who stalls the crowd at the Hollywood Palladium before Jake and Elwood arrive with a rendition of his signature hit "Minnie the Moocher" that sounds just like it did in 1931. However, as John Landis recalls in the DVD featurette, the jazz pioneer had actually wanted his character, Curtis, to perform a disco-style re-recording he had recently done and was very unhappy when the director refused. Considering the film is, in essence, a celebration of classic music from yesteryear, I think most would agree that Landis made the right call.

John Belushi Injured His Back Shortly Before The Blues Brothers Climactic Concert

Once Jake and Elwood finally do make it to the concert, it goes off without a hitch and sees the lively pair dancing and doing cartwheels across the stage. What makes the performance even more impressive is the fact that John Belushi had actually sprained his back riding some kid's skateboard earlier that day. Sean Daniel of Universal Pictures told Vanity Fair that the best orthopedist in the area was forced to postpone his trip to Palm Springs that Thanksgiving weekend and then "wrapped and injected" Belushi so he could plow through the exciting Blues Brothers sequence.

John Belushi Once Disappeared From The Blues Brothers Set Out Of Nowhere

A skateboard injury is not the only time John Belushi caused an issue on the set (or off the set, more accurately), as a story from Dan Aykroyd during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Myers would reveal. One late night, during a break from filming the shopping mall police chase scene, Belushi randomly disappeared from The Blues Brothers set and when Aykroyd went looking for him, the result was hilarious:

So I saw this path kind of leading out of the weed-strewn parking lot into a suburban neighborhood nearby, and, ‘I’ll just try that.’ I walked down this path, and I walked into the neighborhood. I looked and all the houses were dark. But halfway down one of the streets, there were lights on. And I thought, ‘Well, I don’t know. I’ve got an instinct here, and I’m going to try.’ And I knocked on the door, and the guy said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘We’re shooting a movie over here. ’ ‘Yeah, I know’ ‘And we’re looking for one of our actors.’ ‘Yeah, I know, Belushi. He came in here about a half an hour ago, he raided my fridge, he’s asleep on my couch.’ He’s the guest that never left.

Since the night that, surprisingly endearing, Blues Brothers production story was born, Dan Aykroyd would forever refer to his onscreen brother, John Belushi, as "America's Guest."

Dan Aykroyd Proposed To Carrie Fisher On The Blues Brothers Set

One of the funniest running gags from The Blues Brothers is how the siblings manage to continuously survive the murderous rampage of a mysterious woman, played by Carrie Fisher, whom Jake left at the alter years ago. However, it was actually Dan Aykroyd who made the late Star Wars actress his fiancée shortly after filming, as she would reveal to the Chicago Tribune in the following interview excerpt:

I was engaged to Danny Aykroyd. On Blues Brothers, he proposed in the trailer on set. He was forcing me to eat because I was very thin in those days -- no longer -- and I inhaled a Brussels sprout, and I started choking. He thought I was laughing, and then he saw that I was dying, and he did the Heimlich maneuver, and then like 10 minutes later he asked me to marry him, and I thought, I better marry him. What if that happens again? We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot. But then I got back together with Paul Simon.

Upon her untimely death in 2016, Dan Aykroyd would pen a loving tribute to his former flame, proving there were no hard feelings for the split. In the end, we really cannot blame the Princess Leia actress for her decision anyway, especially since the last guy who had saved her life (on film, anyway) turned out to be her brother.

The Blues Brothers Once Held The Record For Most Cars Destroyed On Set

Lives that could not be saved, however, on the The Blues Brothers set were the many, many cars used during production, and when I say "used," I mean to completion. According to an inside look on its epic car chase through the streets of Chicago from Yahoo!, the film would hold the record for most cars destroyed on a movie set with a reported total of 103, only to be surpassed two years later with the 150 totaled vehicles in The Junkman. Ranking right above the original film is the 1998 sequel Blues Brothers 2000 with one more car fatality than its predecessor.

A Deleted Scene Explains The Bluesmobile’s Magical Qualities

While most of the films innumerable car deaths are played for laughs, the tragic collapse of the Bluesmobile after enduring bridge jumps, backflips, and all kids of impossible things brings a tear to your eye. Dan Aykroyd reveals in the featurette, which you can also watch by purchasing The Blues Brothers DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon , that a scene was actually shot explaining how the old police car gained supernatural abilities from being kept in a power transformer room under a train. John Landis would eventually cut it from the theatrical release, feeling a magic car needed no explanation.

The Blues Brothers Cast And Crew Used Cocaine To Stay Awake During Night Shoots

Providing what could be some insight into John Landis' perspective on magic cars is Dan Aykroyd's testimony from a 2012 Vanity Fair article about the frequent uses of cocaine that occurred on the Blues Brothers set. It is well known that John Belushi was an addict, which eventually cost him his life 1982. Yet, he was only one of many from the cast and crew using the drug on set, including Aykroyd, who explained that it was actually included in the film's budget to keep things rolling while shooting late at night.

The Blues Brothers Was Deemed A “Catholic Classic” By The Vatican

I suppose that the on-set drug use was something that the Vatican was unaware of when they named The Blues Brothers a "Catholic classic" in 2010. In honor of its 30th anniversary, the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, placed the R-rated comedy among the ranks of The Ten Commandments, The Passion of The Christ, and It's a Wonderful Life as movies they would recommend to followers of the faith. Despite the film's depictions of very troublesome activity, who can argue against giving such a title to a story about two men on a mission from God?

More than four decades after the classic film hit theaters and almost as long since the death of John Belushi, the music still has not stopped for The Blues Brothers, and not just with the movie's enduring popularity. The band still exists and has played many shows since, led by Dan Aykroyd and, in the place of John, his little brother Jim Belushi.

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.

The Blues Brothers: How John Landis choreographed chaos and destruction on a blockbuster scale


Simon Hucknall

21 June 2021


Universal Pictures/John Landis

In the lexicon of “serious” car-flavored films, the 1980 release of The Blues Brothers may barely register on many people’s radars, but when its automotive star—a 1974 Dodge Monaco—is introduced as having “…a 440 cubic inch plant” and “…it’s a model made before catalytic converters, so it’ll run good on regular gas,” you just know that the beating heart of the story will click with gearheads.

And it certainly does. Co-written by Dan Aykroyd and director John Landis, The Blues Brothers was born out of the eponymous comedy pairing that found fame on Saturday Night Live. In the film, Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues, aka John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, are “on a mission from God” to put together their band after an enforced hiatus, while Jake atoned in Joliet Correctional Centre for robbing a gas station three years before to pay their wages. Justification for much of the film’s ensuing chaos and destruction (a record 104 cars were destroyed) is saving the Calumet City Orphanage where the pair was raised.

Througout the film, Jake and Elwood and their trusty ex-police steed incur the wrath of seemingly every Chicago authority possible. “Dan Aykroyd chose the 1974 Dodge Sedan for the Bluesmobile,” John Landis told me when I interviewed him some years ago. “Obviously, part of the reason is that model was an extremely popular police car of the ’60s and ’70s.

The car is not so popular as it goes about terrorizing families shopping at a mall in one of the film’s first chase scenes, which opens in a Toys “R” Us store, with the film’s stunt coordinator, Gary McLarty, holding up a stuffed toy and asking, “… do you have a Miss Piggy?” As if on cue, the Bluesmobile ploughs through the shop, scattering toys and pedestrians in its wake, pursued by a stream of Dodge police cars. Shot in the disused Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, the production team faithfully recreated an entire retail village through which the convoy bulldozed. “New Oldsmobiles are in early this year,” says Jake, as the rear wing of their Monaco arcs through a GM showroom, taking out an entire plate-glass frontage, before exiting through a JC Penney’s shop-front.

“All of the cars involved in the stunts were rigged in one way or another,” Landis told me. “There were several Bluesmobiles designed specifically for individual gags (stunts). Solid steel crash cages were put in all the vehicles. In the principle Bluesmobile driven by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s stunt doubles, Tommy Huff and Eddie Donno, all four wheels had individually controlled brakes to allow the sharp twists and turns the car performed.”

The twists and turns weren’t the sole preserve of the stunt men, either. The Blues Brothers has a dazzling array of dance scenes and stars to go with its toe-tapping soundtrack. Between the scenes of automotive mayhem, some of the many musical highlights include James Brown leading a gospel choir, Aretha Franklin performing “Think,” and Ray Charles singing “Shake Your Tailfeather.”

But for those more interested in the four-wheeled stars, the most memorable scene starts with an epic final chase and these words from Elwood: “It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. ” In total, 40 stunt drivers were employed along with 60 ex-police cars (costing $400 each) for the pursuit into the Windy City. “We had a 24-hour working auto shop in Chicago …” Landis told me. “There were essentially 20 “crash cars” that were used over and over again … We would just change the decals and Mars bars (light bars). By the end of shooting the bodies … were almost solid Bondo!”

The final chase incorporated some of the most dangerous stunts, and no process shots. In one scene, as Jake and Elwood drive along Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive, the camera truck towing them at 70 mph (so they appeared to be driving) blew a tire: “… the piece of film is in the movie,” said Landis years later in a TV interview. “You can see on John Belushi’s face a little more than acting—like, ‘I’m going to die!’”

Authorities gave permission for the lead cars to be driven at over 100 mph along the city’s Lake Street as they make their way to the council offices with the orphanage’s tax money, but Landis thought the rushes looked “speeded-up,” so he had to introduce stunt pedestrians walking alongside to provide perspective.

But no perspective was needed when the car belonging to the head of the Illinois Nazis, which has joined the police pursuit of Jake and Elwood, jettisons from the end of a partly-built flyover to the strains of “The Ride of the Valkyries.” For dramatic effect, the actual car was dropped from a helicopter at 1200 feet, for which the producers had to obtain a certificate of un-airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Authority.

While The Blues Brothers was 1980’s tenth-highest grossing film, it wasn’t until years later—with the onset of video and CD—that it found an even larger audience and became the hit that it is today. Miss it at your peril.

Favorite movie. The Blues Brothers

Two musical criminals raised in a Catholic orphanage learn that their place of origin will be closed unless the headmistress pays a $5,000 property tax. Since the orphanage doesn't have that kind of money, and since the director refuses "dirty" donations, the heroes decide to re-assemble their blues band and honestly earn $ 5,000 by performing concerts. When they, inspired by the new plan, return home at night, the traffic police try to detain them, because the rights of the youngest of the heroes were taken away for numerous violations of the rules. During the chase, the hero behind the wheel reassures his partner: “They won't catch us. We work for the Lord God."

Expensive musical comedy about out-of-fashion R&B, conceived and filmed in the disco era. When she was preparing for hire, many in Hollywood believed that this project was doomed to a loud and shameful failure. However, the filmmakers believed in their triumph. And they made one of the best and most successful comedies of the decade. Their 1980 film was named after their favorite musical style, The Blues Brothers.

When a Hollywood actor plays a musician, it usually doesn't say anything about his musical ability or taste in music. That's what acting is, to imitate people with other talents and other interests than the performer. But it also happens that an actor in such a role simultaneously plays another person and himself. That is, he shows his musical taste and demonstrates his musical skill. In fact, he shows who he could become if he preferred music to acting. And the audience readily rewards genuine, not imitated talent.

The Blues Brothers is just such a case. First of all, this is the brainchild of Canadian comedian Dan Aykroyd, who dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest as a teenager, but in his student years he prayed much more often on a musical altar than on a church altar. His "temple" was a club in his native Ottawa, whose owner, a prominent Canadian producer and promoter Harvey Glatt, often brought famous American bluesmen to perform. In most other parts of the country, such music was not very popular, but Ottawa is the capital not only of Canada, but also of the Canadian intelligentsia, and many citizens went to Glatt's club as if they were working.

Aykroyd was one of them. Once he even played drums with the legendary Muddy Waters, the father of modern Chicago blues (Waters' drummer did not come to the club that night). And although Aykroyd chose a career as a comedian, "black music" remained with him forever. When he started making good money with the American-Canadian comedian troupe Second City, he bought a night bar in Toronto and filled the jukebox to the brim with blues and soul records.

It was in this bar that Aykroyd met his American colleague, comedian John Belushi (older brother of actor Jim Belushi). It was at 1973, when Aykroyd was 20 and Belushi was 24. By that time, John had played two years in the Chicago troupe Second City and moved to New York to work in the comedy radio show The National Lampoon Radio Hour. He came to Canada to drag some promising comedians to the States, and first crossed paths with Aykroyd backstage at the Canadian troupe Second City. It was "love at first sight," and Belushi came to Aykroyd at the club the same day to persuade him to leave for New York.

Belushi's offer was rejected by Aykroyd (he had a long-term contract with Second City), but that day they discussed not only professional matters, but also musical tastes. When Belushi admitted that he hardly listens to the blues, Aykroyd was shocked: "You live in Chicago, the world center of the blues, and you listen to hard rock ?!" And he promoted Belushi with such fervor that he soon became almost as ardent a fan and collector of the blues as Aykroyd.

Talking about blues and rock on that fateful day, the newly-made friends confessed to each other that they always wanted to not only listen, but also play music. Belushi spoke about his love of singing (during his school days he performed in an amateur rock band), and Aykroyd about his ability to play the harmonica. The Canadian also revealed that he has a vague idea for a musical-comedy performance centered on two blues criminals from Chicago. Belushi said that if something came of this idea, he would not mind performing with Aykroyd on stage. Aspiring composer Howard Shore, a future three-time Oscar winner for the music of The Lord of the Rings, who was present at this conversation, joked that the guys should call their number “The Blues Brothers”. Comedians remember these words.

At that time, this conversation did not have any significant consequences, except for Belushi's gradual transition from hard rock to blues. But two years later, in 1975, when Aykroyd and Belushi became members of the first cast of the American television sketch show Saturday Night Live (“Saturday Night Live”), the blues project began to take shape.

After moving to New York, Aykroyd first rented a night bar, and this informal place became the rehearsal space for the Blues Brothers. The main source of inspiration for comedians was the Canadian "white" blues group Downchild Blues Band, beloved by Aykroyd, formed in the late 1990s.60s by the Walsh brothers. Donnie Walsh played guitar and harmonica, while Richard sang. At the same time, he, like John Belushi, was a charismatic fat man. The Downchild Blues Band was the perfect prototype for the comedians' show. But, of course, copying the band's overall concept was just the beginning.

Whereas members of the Downchild Blues Band dressed informally at concerts, Aykroyd and Belushi decided to perform in formal black suits and ties. First, they wanted to show that their characters are serious about their music. Secondly, this is how, deliberately formally, black musicians from the recent American past dressed, so that white listeners would not perceive them as trash. Of course, Aykrod and Belushi's music was, by definition, "blue-eyed" (that is, "white") blues. But the partners believed that they should not parasitize on the heritage of the great "black" bluesmen, but draw attention to their music and their traditions. In particular, the Blues' hats and sunglasses were a nod to the hat-wearing, glasses-wearing legendary bluesman Johnny Lee Hooker.

In order not to embarrass themselves during solo performances, friends honed their musical skills, performing in clubs as part of several New York blues groups. In parallel, they came up with the mythology of the Blues brothers - Chicago orphans who grew up in an orphanage under the supervision of a blues-loving black caretaker. That's why Jake and Elwood Blues became addicted to "black music" and that's why they went down the wrong path - orphans in America often associate with criminals. However, they still want to make an honest living and therefore give concerts where they dance like crazy and "promote" their favorite sound.

Over time, Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels allowed Aykroyd and Belushi to perform musical numbers as the opening act before the show began taping. However, he believed that the Blues Brothers did not deserve airtime. Finally, on January 17, 1976, Aykroyd and Belushi were put on the air, but only on the condition that they sing in bee costumes. Michaels believed that otherwise the audience would not laugh, and this he considered the main task of the show.

Only two years later, the producer allowed the Blues Brothers to perform the way they wanted to appear before the audience. By that time, Aykroyd and Belushi were so popular with the show's viewers that they didn't have to be laughing hard to get applause. It was enough that they play and sing groovy rhythm and blues compositions.

In the same 1978 Belushi began to recognize in the face not only viewers of Saturday Night Live. Filmed for $ 3 million, John Landis's farcical comedy "The Menagerie" collected 142 million at the box office and made the actor the most popular performer. After that, comedian Steve Martin, the future hero of "Dirty Scoundrels", asked the Blues Brothers to act as an opening act in his solo show.

Thanks to Martin's suggestion, the Blues Brothers turned from a duet with session musicians into a full-fledged band. Aykroyd and Belushi used the connections of Paul Schaeffer, the bandleader of Saturday Night Live, to persuade nine professional musicians, including Schaeffer, to perform regularly with them. Few of these performers agreed immediately, but Belushi proved to be a master of persuasion. He was so stubborn that it was impossible to refuse him for a long time.

The Blues Brothers' live performances at Steve Martin concerts were recorded and released on LP. Thus was born the band's debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, which sold 3.5 million copies. It remains one of the most successful blues records of all time. The combination of popular "white" artists with time-tested predominantly "black" hits (the group played covers of songs from the 1950s and 1960s) proved irresistible. For nothing that the blues at that time was not fashionable for a long time.

The "mythology" of the Blues brothers (white orphans, Catholic orphanage, black caretaker...) was described in the liner notes to the album. In addition to Aykroyd and Belushi, they had a hand in Judy Belushi, the wife of the actor, and aspiring music journalist Mitch Glazer - by the way, Mickey Rourke's school classmate.

The success of The Blues Brothers was so obvious that Aykroyd and Belushi decided to go ahead and make a movie about their heroes. After a short but fierce war between the studios, Universal won the right to invest in the Brothers, having previously paid for the Menagerie. Subordinates convinced the head of the studio with just four words: "Belushi, Aykroyd, Blues Brothers." Together with the studio, the partners received a director. The director of the Menagerie, Landis, who was already familiar with Belushi and the future creator of American Werewolf in London, agreed to stage the film.

To launch the project, a “real trifle” was needed - a script. Glazer refused to help this time, and Aykroyd had to work alone (Belushi's comedic talent was of a different system). The situation was aggravated by the fact that before that Aykroyd not only did not write screenplays, but also did not hold them in his hands, so he had no idea what was required of him.

Apparently deciding that it was easier to cut than to add, Aykroyd rolled over 300 pages in two months - three times more than a typical Hollywood script. It was not a very coherent mishmash of reasoning, jokes, musical numbers and action scenes, as well as many flashbacks. The text spoke in detail about the life of each of the musicians of the group before their entry into the ranks of the Blues Brothers. It was impossible to film this "something", but Aykroyd's work had enough unexpected ideas from which it was possible to assemble a full-fledged movie.

Landis did just that. For three weeks, he cut, glued and added, until he finally turned chaos into order. He was helped by the fact that the storyline was invented earlier, during the development of the mythology of the Blues Brothers. She said that the brothers are trying to honestly earn $ 5,000 to prevent the closure of the orphanage in which they grew up. Like, the headmistress does not accept their help when Jake and Elwood offer to simply steal money, and they have to earn money by giving concerts with their group. Landis' problem was just to logically thread Aykroyd's many scenes onto this plot skewer.

Why did the film have to include not only musical performances, but also car chases? Firstly, because the Blues were still not ordinary musicians, but criminal musicians who, even if they wanted to, could not help but irritate the police. Aykroyd and Belushi wanted their characters to appear free-spirited despite their formal costumes, and Landis supported them wholeheartedly.

Secondly, the filmmakers were aware that old-fashioned music and jokes in between concerts alone would not win over the film audience. Those who have enough music will buy an album or go to a live performance. Moviegoers needed something more spectacular, and the writers of The Blues Brothers decided they would show Elwood (Aykroyd's character) as a super driver who could escape any police chase. At 1970s on-screen rebellion was often associated with reckless driving, and for the Blues, this was just right. After all, those who do God's work cannot kill and maim people. But you can run away from the authorities.

Finally, Landis just wanted to make a big movie, and Aykroyd and Belushi wanted to be in it. At least in order to wipe the nose of competitors and squeeze more money out of the studio. So one of the first arguments with the producers was whether it would be possible to spend $12 million on the film, as Universal wanted, or $20 million, as Landis wanted. In the end, the director won. Recall that at that time 20 million was a colossal amount. The epic first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, cost $18 million.

In exchange for a huge budget, Universal wanted to get the picture as quickly as possible. Therefore, the script was more or less completed by the end of April 1979, and filming began already in July. The casting that preceded them was quite unusual. Since almost all the roles except those of the members of the Blues Brothers (Aykroyd, Belushi and eight musicians - Schaeffer left the project, as he had many other things) were episodic, Landis decided to hire as many celebrities as possible to perform cameos. Of course, he was most interested in blues stars, who could be hired relatively cheaply - at the end of 19In the 70s they were considered "illiquid".

So Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, the already mentioned John Lee Hooker and Cab Calloway got into the picture. The latter, the famous jazz singer and musician, portrayed the caretaker Curtis, who once made bluesmen out of the Blues Brothers. His character was named after blues musician Curtis Salgado, who had a hand in the musical "education" of John Belushi. All the musical stars, except for Hooker, not only played in the film, but also performed in a large musical number with a choir and dancers. Studio bosses thought it would be better to hire young and up-to-date black musicians, but Landis insisted that it would be absurd to make films with classic hits without classical vocalists.

Non-musical cameo appearances by Dan Aykroyd's then-girlfriend and Star Wars star Carrie Fisher (Jake Blues' crazy ex-girlfriend), Canadian comedian John Candy (jail officer), character star Kathleen Freeman (headmistress nun), TV comedian Henry Gibson (the Fuhrer of the persecuting neo-Nazi heroes), Star Wars puppeteer Frank Oz (jail officer), popular singer Stephen Bishop (police officer), future popular children's comedian Paul Reubens (a waiter in a French restaurant), former top model Twiggy ( "stylish lady") and director Steven Spielberg (a city clerk who accepts money from the brothers) who appears at the very end of the picture.

The filming of The Blues Brothers took place mainly in Chicago, the city where the film takes place. The filmmakers were familiar with the mayor of the city, and he provided them with every support, even when it came to blocking the streets for the epic final chase. Naturally, it was possible to work on such scenes only on Sundays, when the closure of the central streets did not disrupt the entire city life. The hypermarket race was filmed in a real but abandoned Dixie Square Mall building, which, thanks to the filming of The Blues Brothers, has become a cult among fans of abandoned and crumbling buildings. This hypermarket was closed at 1978, and demolished only in 2012. The most real was, of course, the drawbridge in South Chicago, which the characters jump over in a car at the beginning of the film.

For filming car scenes, the filmmakers bought 73 decommissioned police cars at auction for next to nothing. 13 of them in different scenes portrayed the "Bluesmobile" (the car of the main characters), and the rest of the cars were filmed in the chase episodes. Almost all of them by the end of filming were broken or completely destroyed. To shoot the scene in which the neo-Nazi car flies off the unfinished overpass and goes on a long flight, the Ford was dropped from a helicopter from a height of about one and a half kilometers. This required special permission from the aviation administration, since there was a risk that the car would not fly vertically down, but would glide onto one of the buildings surrounding the crash site. In addition to dozens of cars, the final scenes featured 500 extras, 15 horses and three Sherman tanks.

It would seem that on the set of a film like The Blues Brothers, complex stunts and mass scenes should have become the director's main headache. But in reality, Landis suffered the most from only one person. John Belushi was by then so heavily addicted to cocaine that he regularly did not show up for filming or came in such a state that he could not work.

In general, at that time in Hollywood, many took cocaine, and the Blues Brothers even had a secret budget line for money allocated for the purchase of illegal stimulants (how would you work 16 hours a day without them?). But Belushi did not know the measure and could not stop, and many encouraged this. Some liked to watch what he was doing while high, while others liked to show off to their friends: “I snort coke with a Hollywood star!” Landis, on the other hand, tore his hair out, because each lost shooting day flew into a pretty penny, and the deadlines set by the studio became less and less feasible. Once the director caught a star with a whole mountain of cocaine and in his hearts flushed all the powder down the toilet. In order to rein in Belushi at least a little, a special “anti-drug” bodyguard had to be hired for him.

Aykroyd and Fisher were also abusive at the time, but not to the same extent as Belushi. Landis, on the other hand, was a complete teetotaller. His stimulants were a love of art and regular slapping by studio bosses.

Universal executives were not only worried about the fact that the shooting was delayed, and the budget grew by leaps and bounds. Belushi and Aykroyd left Saturday Night Live to play the Blues Brothers, and their popularity quickly began to fade. In addition, Steven Spielberg's comedy "1941" with Belushi in a key role, released during the filming of the Blues Brothers, failed at the box office, and a dark joke went around Hollywood: "John Belushi was born in 1949 and died in 1941." The less commercial stars the Brothers' comedians seemed to be, the more the producers thought it was the disco era and that the R&B film itself would not sell, no matter what musical celebrities were singing in it.

In the last weeks of filming, the group worked not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles, and Belushi managed to “build” there so that he would not disrupt the work because of the high. However, just before filming a big concert scene, the actor decided to ride a skateboard. The fun quickly ended with a fall and a severe knee injury. The producers had to hire the city's best orthopedic surgeon to get Belushi back on his feet for at least a day with injections. After all, he had to not only stand on stage, but also dance (more complex acrobatic numbers of the Blues were performed by stuntmen).

When the picture was finally completed, it was on a budget of nearly $30 million—one and a half times what the studio had planned to spend. Everyone in Hollywood said that Universal had spent too much money and that the picture would fail. The proprietors of the American cinema chains added fuel to the fire. Some of them stated that they would only show a film about black music in cinemas in black areas. They say that white Americans will not go to such a movie - simply because unfashionable black artists sing there. Instead of the usual 1,400 theaters for the time, which participated in the wide release of blockbusters, The Blues Brothers was bought to be shown in only 600 theaters.

Studio accountants have already begun to estimate how many millions of dollars the studio will lose. But the Blues Brothers had the last laugh. The film was released on June 20, 1980 and quickly proved that no racists can stop viewers rushing to meet with jokes, chases and incendiary blues. By the end of the rental, the picture collected $ 115 million, and later it became a long-playing video hit. It wasn't a triumph of triumphs, but the studio was quite pleased. The soundtrack album also performed well. Unlike the Blues Brothers' first disc, it didn't make it to No. 1 on the charts, but a Top 20 hit is also a nice result.

The picture was not awarded any significant awards, and its main prize was the unfading love of the audience. In 1998, Landis and Aykroyd tried to repeat their success with the sequel Blues Brothers 2000, but the film, shot without the participation of Belushi (the actor died in 1982 from an overdose), was perceived by everyone as a cynical exploitation of the old hit by former celebrities. With a budget of $ 28 million, the new tape earned only 14 million.

If the Blues Brothers 2000 fans tried to forget immediately after the release, then picture 1980 years in the USA, Canada and some other countries are still remembered, and the words “We work for the Lord God” remain a popular quote even now. This phrase was put into the mouth of Elwood Blues by the director personally, who was ironic about Dan Aykroyd's almost religious attachment to blues propaganda. But although we cannot say for sure whether Aykroyd was working for God or the devil at the time, it is clear that his mission was a success. With the filing of the Blues Brothers, the musicians who played in the film regained their former glory and popularity, and the blues was finally recognized not only as a “black”, but also as a “white” musical classic. Apparently, Aykroyd still worked for God - does the devil care about the merits of the elderly masters?

Jailhouse rock - The Blues brothers

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Jailhouse rock

Prison rock

The warden threw a party in the county jail
The prisonband was there and they began to wail
The joint was jumping and the place began to swing
You should have heard those knocked out jailbirds sing

Let's rock
Everybody let's rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock

Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone
Little Joe was blowin' on the slide trombone
The drummerboy from Illinois went crash boom bang
The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang

Let's rock
Everybody let's rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They was dancing to the jailhouse rock

Well number 47 said to number 3
You're the cutest jailbird
I ever did see
I sure'll be delighted with your company
Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me

Let's rock
Everybody let's rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock
Let's rock!

Sad Sack was sittin' on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin' all alone
The warden said Hey buddy don't you be no square
If you can't find a partner use a wooden chair

Let's rock
Everybody let's rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock

They were dancing to the jailhouse rock
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock

They were dancing to, dancing to, dancing to, dancing to
Dancing to the jailhouse rock
Oh they were dancing to, dancing to, dancing to, dancing to
Dancing to the jailhouse rock
Everybody on the whole cell block
They were dancing to the jailhouse rock

Dancing to the jailhouse rock. ..

The warden threw a party at the county jail.
The prison band was there and they started playing.
The guys played rhythmically and the prison began to swing.
You must have heard these crazy criminals singing.

Let's dance rock'n'roll,
Everyone, let's rock'n'roll.
Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.

Spider Murphy played the saxophone,
Little Joe blew the trombone.
Drummer from Illinois made a rumble, rumble, thud,
The whole rhythm group was from The Purple Gang 1

Let's rock and roll,
Everyone, let's rock and roll.
Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.

Number 47 said to number 3:
"You're the best criminal I've ever seen

I'll certainly be glad to have your company,
Come out and play prison rock with me"

Let's rock and roll roll,
That's it, let it be rock and roll.
Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.
Let's dance rock'n'roll

Blockhead sat on a stone,
Huddled in a corner, whimpering all alone.
The warden said, hey man, don't be a bitch.
If there is no one to dance with, take a wooden chair.

Let's dance rock'n'roll,
Everyone, let's rock'n'roll.
Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.

They danced to prison rock
They danced to prison rock
They danced to prison rock
They danced to prison rock0107 Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.

They danced to, they danced to, danced to,
Danced to prison rock
Oh, they danced to, they danced to, danced to,
Danced to prison rock
Everyone in the cell
Danced to prison rock.

Danced to prison rock...

The author of the translation is Olga1983
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The Blues Brothers: Music from the Soundtrack

The Blues brothers

Tracklist (3)

  • Peter Gunn theme
  • Jailhouse rock

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