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Explaining Why "Blues Brothers" Is A Musical And "The Little Mermaid" Is Not

1355 words - 5 pages

Blues Brothers, a Musical?Last weekend while I was watching television I thought about classic Hollywood musicals. Some titles that came to mind were memorable titles such as "The sound of Music", "Mary Poppins", "Grease", and more contemporarily, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Added to this list should be the fine film of "The Blues Brothers". "The Blues Brothers" you ask. Yes, this movie is a good example of a movie musical in the classic sense because it fits the criteria for a classic movie musical. The director, Jonathan Landis, is quoted as saying: "It has always frustrated me that no one saw the Blues Brothers as a musical. When I was doing it, I saw it as directing a musical" (A Note). This statement alone gives credence to the idea of the "Blues Brothers" movie being, in fact, a musical. When the movie was created, it was imagined to be like an old Hollywood musical with performance numbers and musical comedies to further the plot (Musical). For anyone that does not know how a musical is classified I will explain the criteria. A musical must have musical numbers that move the plot along. Also, in a musical a character or characters randomly breakout into song in the middle of dialogue to continue what they were already talking about. Finally, in a movie musical, dancing is added to the songs to move along the plot.When classifying the Blues Brothers as a movie musical, it is important to keep in mind the criteria for this category. One of the primary criterions is that the musical numbers in the film should move the action and plot along. In the Blues Brothers this happens on several occasions. The first is when Jake and Elwood, the main characters, have just left the orphanage where they grew up. They learn that the orphanage will be shut down, because it needed $5000 to support itself. Jake immediately said that it was no problem, but was beaten severely by the local nun, along with his brother Elwood, because she did not want their filthy stolen money, and that they must change their ways. The brothers Blue then go to their local energetic evangelic black church (a sign of their roots and how they were raised). Jake has some bitter words with Elwood outside the church about their "churchin' up" and having to get the money in an honest way. Once in the church, James Brown as the reverend begins his sermon with the choir and organ punctuating here and there. This builds to the introduction of the first musical number. The entire congregation is dancing and singing all over the sanctuary, and occasionally a spirited individual flies twenty feet in the air. This strikes a chord with Jake as he "Sees the light" and realizes what he and Elwood must do. He is shown that the band must be brought back together to get the money for the orphanage. He then proceeds to do back flips down the aisle and dance like a madman to the sounds of the choir and rhythm section. Elwood follows suit (Landis). The Blues Brothers then begin their search of...

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