FADE IN: WALKING THROUGH THE PRISON
Tap, tap, tap go the prison shoes on the prison floor. After the gloomy establishing shot of 1980s Chicago industrialisation the air is thick with a sense of entrapment. Solidified with the montage footage of prison walls, barbed wire and steel bars.
Today is the day Jake ‘Joliet’ Blues is to be released from Joliet Correctional Center. Tracking his path to freedom we’re given a pretty early insight of Jake’s mischievous antipathy toward authority. As he nears the final stages of his release the camera cleverly pans up to reveal the expanse of the prison grounds, alluding to the freedom that lies beyond. It’s after the prison guard prophetically explains, “Well, this is it” that we become aware of the comedic script in store.
The iconic black suit, black hat and sunglasses are revealed gradually during an amusing release procedure that includes, a broken watch, used and unused prophylactic, as well as twenty three dollars and seven cents. Revealing the iconic outfit in this manner serves to build The Blues Brothers‘ image.
As Elwood Blues pulls up to the prison gate and Jake emerges from the light the film’s “mission from God” persona begins to take form. As The Blues Brothers cover of Taj Mahal’s ‘She Caught the Katy’ kicks in with a mean trumpet and wicked bass line we’re given a formal introduction to our two protagonists.
Jake and Elwood Blues played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd proceed to drive off when Jake questions the car they are riding in. It’s clear Elwood has had to make sacrifices in Jake’s absence, trading the original blues mobile in for a microphone. Jake’s disapproval quickly subsides when the first of many car stunts sets the tone for the best 120 minutes of blues playing, car chasing, comedy you will ever see.
I can’t recommend this cult classic enough. Originality pours out from every scene. A film with 103 wrecked cars, a Nazi parade ending up in the river and a backflipping Dodge sedan. Add the sumptuous blues soundtrack and you have an immediate Timeless Classic on your hands.
This Opening Scene Opinion concerns the first 10 minutes and 30 seconds of The Blues Brothers (1980).
John Landis and Dan Aykroyd’s script is sublime and can be found online if you fancy a read. http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Blues-Brothers,-The.pdf
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