This 1980 masterpiece realized two dreams in one movie: it brought beloved Saturday Night Live-based characters to the big screen, and (through some of the greatest–and most numerous–musical cameos in film history), it introduced the blues to a brand new generation of music lovers.
The Synopsis: Jake and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi) are on a "mission from God" to save their church. In order to raise the necessary $5,000, they reassemble their band, and go on tour. Adding to the delightful and energetic film is a multitude of musical cameos from renowned musicians, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles among others.
Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Blues Brothers
1. Joliet Prison in Joliet, IL, allowed the Blues Brothers crew to film on its grounds. It took three days to shoot the various facilities at the location, and real prisoners were even signed on to work as extras in the film.
2. The warden (Frank Oz) is better known by his fictional alter egos; he’s the voice behind ‘Miss Piggy,’ ‘Cookie Monster’ and ‘Yoda.’
3. Blues Brothers represented a milestone for its two stars; it was the first time John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd had co-starred in a movie. (Aykroyd was initially supposed to co-star with Belushi in Animal House, but had to quit the film when Saturday Night Live wouldn’t grant him a leave of absence.)
4. As an undergrad, writer Aykroyd studied criminal psychology; he used this knowledge to help him create realistic backgrounds for "Jake" and "Elwood."
5. Aykroyd himself decorated the dashboard of the ‘Bluesmobile’ — a ’74 Dodge Monaco — with cigarettes and gum wrappers.
6. Jazz legend Cab Calloway returned to the screen after 15 years for his role in Blues Brothers
7. Although musicals usually feature pre-recorded vocals that are lip-synched on camera, James Brown sang live throughout shooting. "We found that he couldn’t sing the same way twice," recalled producer Robert Weiss.
8. The Blues Brothers duo was conceived the same night Belushi met Aykroyd. Saturday Night Live’s bandleader, Howard Shore, suggested the name.
9. "I’m proud to say we were the first movie to trash a mall," said director John Landis, and according to producer Robert Weiss, finding a mall to demolish was surprisingly easy. "This was an abandoned mall," said Weiss. "It was one in a million." Originally called the Dixie Mall, the deserted shopping center was located in nearby Harvey, IL., and had been closed to the public for over a year.
10. The Blues Brothers made their official television debut in November 1978–on the same night that Carrie Fisher hosted Saturday Night Live. At the time, Fisher was a frequent party guest among the comedy troupe, and was even engaged briefly to Dan Aykroyd. Fisher liked playing the ‘Mystery Woman,’ but regretted her many night scenes. "Those guys were rarely there when I was doing my scenes," she griped, "so it didn’t really feel like I was killing off anyone."Read More