They have to drive 106 miles to Chicago, their gas tank is full, they have half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and they’re wearing sunglasses. But they are at least on the road on behalf of the Lord – and they breathe blues, jazz and swing. We’re talking about the “Blues Brothers”, two small gangsters, loudmouths and full-blooded musicians. John Landis’ directorial work has enjoyed absolute cult status for decades. But what few fans are aware of: The action-packed musical comedy exists in two cut versions.
Because after a preview screening, Landis was pressured by the studio to cut the film. This longer cut version was released in US home cinemas in 1998, in Germany it was only released completely dubbed in 2016. This edition is now sold out at many retailers, but fortunately there are supplies: “Blues Brothers” was recently re-released in the extended cut on DVD and Blu-ray – and for the first time in this country also as a 4K disc.
» “Blues Brothers” Extended Cut at Amazon: Blu ray* / 4K* / DVD*
A lot of effort was put into post-synchronizing the scenes that were deleted from the regular theatrical version, and Thomas Danneberg and Rainer Basedow not only got the original voices of the main actors back behind the microphone. Meticulous care was also taken to ensure that the recordings were mixed in such a way that they fit seamlessly into the rest of the film instead of sounding “too new”. Efforts worthy of a cult film that was also produced with immense effort – and even set a stunt record!
Brothers Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) learn that $5,000 must be raised quickly to save the orphanage they grew up in. So the duo decides to get their old band back together to put on a benefit concert together. Easier said than done, because the band is scattered to the four winds. And the police are after the brothers. Just like a right-wing extremist party. And then a crazed fan (Carrie Fisher) tries to kill Jake…
…but all of that is just there to steer the cool main characters into memorable, humorous situations anyway. In addition, the plot is a narrative ramp for unforgettable musical interludes with legends like Cab Calloway, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. and when there is no singing, there is always a witty excuse to go to great lengths for slapstick, stunt escapades and action madness.
Then for a light-hearted comedy about laid-back musicians, “Blues Brothers” is infused with an amazing passion for well-crafted, banging action. During their flight from the police, the stylishly dressed brothers jet through a (real!) shopping center, the inside of which is being dismantled into a thousand individual parts. Landis stages this with wit, coolness and a cartoonish love for the little absurdities that arise along the way. And thats just the beginning!
The action passages of “Blues Brothers” continue to escalate, until completely crazy antics happen in the final third – such as the practically twisted fall of a car from a height of around 365 meters into downtown Chicago! In addition, the film is packed with car chases in which police cars are impressively wrecked at high rates. With that, Landis set a world record: Believe it or not, 103 cars are destroyed in “Blues Brothers” – more than at any time in cinema history.
This record stood for a long time, but has since been surpassed by Landis himself (with 104 cars in “Blues Brothers 2000”). The current record holder is “Transformers 3” in which Michael Bay smashes an incredible 523 cars. However, more is not always more: the crashes in “Blues Brothers” are savored more and staged in a more unforgettable way. To stay with the language of the film: They might have squandered those things for an apple and an egg, so that Landis could stock up on over 100 cars for the shoot. But his cleverly filmed destructiveness is priceless!
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