Somebody posted a link to this Polish poster of the Blues Brothers on Facebook yesterday. I think the post was meant as a joke — “Look at this weird Polish poster for this cheesy movie!” — but I immediately ordered a copy, which is now on its way to my house, I am assured via a personal email “with Kind Regards” from Krzysztof Marcinkiewicz.
The fact is, I love this movie, and when I tell people it is one of the greatest movies ever made, I’m only partly kidding. I honestly think it is as imitated as Star Wars, whether it is the themes (“Getting the band back together,” Carrie Fisher’s insane quest for revenge, the “mission from God” to save the orphanage that justified all of their middling crimes) or specific scenes (the jailhouse pickup to open the movie, the chase through the shopping mall, the over-the-top finale, etc.) And let’s not forget the incredible number of cameos: James Brown as the preacher (and Chakha Khan in the choir); Aretha Franklin; Cab Calloway; Carrie Fisher; Billy Crystal; Pee Wee Herman; Frank Oz; Ray Charles; John Candy; John Lee Hooker; etc. etc. For god’s sake, their backing band was comprised of the greatest soul session musicians of all time. And I haven’t even mentioned Belushi and Aykroyd, two comic geniuses at the height of their powers.
OK, I will admit that the timing of its release (I was seven, and it may have been the first R-rated movie I ever saw) had something to do with its oversized impact on me. And I’ll also admit that it hardly invented some of the tropes and themes that I’m still celebrating – but there is something about the way it melded all of that stuff together (along with the musical numbers) that seems totally innovative. And I’ll bet you that this, and not some older precursor, is the reference point for modern comedy directors when you see those themes/set pieces/tropes recur.
I wish I had something insightful to say about the Polish interpretation of it that will soon be adorning my office wall (I’m not even going to bother floating the idea of having it in the house to my wife), but perhaps my certified design instructor co-blogger can take care of that angle.