The Blues Brothers, 42 years later. Director John Landis: “We only had twenty pairs of Rayban Wayfarer on set. Belushi lost them everywhere when he approached the girls.”

“I wanted to shoot some massive music scenes with real dancers, but then I realized that the charm of Blues Brothers it came precisely from the fact that it was normal people who danced ”. Joan Landis, Jake, Elwood, the Nazis of Illinois, Think by Aretha Franklin, and the Statue of Picasso: Once Again. This is the turn of the Cinema Found in Bologna that on July 3 in the “great hall” of Piazza Maggiore proposes to extended versionrestored in 4k 2020 by Universal, from The Blues Brothers for 148 minutes in front of a large audience at the Palace Hotel.

Meanwhile, he walks through the city for a week of profuse master classes, along with his lifelong partner, and Hollywood costume designer, Deborah Nadoolman, Landis offers some reflections on a legendary career and an eternal cult film. “John Beluschi and Dan Aykroyd weren’t dancers and mostly Dan did some numbers on stage where he practically broke his knees,” says funny The Blues Brothers creator, 71. “In Chicago we shot all the dance scenes with non-professional dancers. I wanted to give the idea of ​​an irregular dance, of people caught in the street. The only scenes with professionals are those in the church when Jake and Elwood meet the Reverend James Brown that among other things they could not dance and sing at the same time. Then, when I came back to Los Angeles to ride at a certain point in front of the dance scenes I thought: damn, but what a disaster these can’t dance (laughs.). In the end you know better than me that I was left with everything I had shot because the “charm” of the Blues Brothers stems from these amateur dances. “

A literally timeless film. Mythological. Iconic. Imitated (very badly) by many fans. “When the film came out, in the early eighties, music was everything Abba I Bee Gees, even the black musicians recorded the discomusic ”, continues Landis remembering the genesis of the Blues Brothers. “Both John and Dan loved African American blues and soul. Dan was a real fan of it. rhythm and blues, was as if in mystical ecstasy. I coined the phrase “we are on a mission in the name of God” and had him uttered to make fun of him. ”Many, perhaps all, already know that the film was anticipated by the singing duets. Saturday night live of Belushi and Aykroyd who brought several songs that will later be heard in the film, along with the “band”, touring North America.

“When we started the film, Deborah had to perfect the look that Dan and John had created with what they thought was a little more sophisticated. They wore dark glasses, a tie, a hat, but without a particular style. The first object that became famous were the Wayfarer glasses ”, Landis points out. “For me, the top part was dressing up Aretha Franklin“- smiles the costume designer of the film Nadoolman -” I looked for Wayfarers, out of production, everywhere: from Harlem to Los Angeles and all the drugstores that came in front of me. We had found twenty pairs, ten for one. Do you think a guy from the production of Risk businesss that I wanted those glasses for the protagonist of the film, Tom Cruise. But it was immediately a problem because when Belushi stopped to attract girls he pulled them out (just like in the movie about the ending in front of Carrie Fisher ed) and constantly lost pair by pair. After Blues Brothers, those glasses and that look have ended up everywhere ever since Hyenas a Men in Black. On Halloween, all American men dress up as Jake and Elwood or Indiana Jones. “” Deborah created the hats and costumes. Remember that every iconic figure likes Chaplin o Marilyn they are built and recognized over time through the design of the profile, of its silhouette ”, adds Landis.

It’s inevitable that in the end someone will run away to ask the usual question: why aren’t movies like The Blues Brothers made in Hollywood anymore? “The film industry, between the pandemic and streaming, is in total chaos. When Deborah and I started working on it in the sixties and seventies, everything was completely different. Today, large productions have become small parts of large multinationals that deal with something else entirely. But today I rejoice in DC or Marvel movies, or even Top gun: Maverick they have made good collections. Because movies have to be seen in the cinema. It is not just a matter of image and sound, but of collective experience. Think about when you go to see a play: the laughter of those around you is contagious ”.

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