Daniel de Visé — The Blues Brothers: An Epic Friendship, the Rise of Improv, and the Making of an American Film Classic — at Union Market

Upcoming Event
Thursday, April 11, 2024 - 7:00pm

“They’re not going to catch us,” Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues tells his brother Jake, played by John Belushi. “We’re on a mission from God.” So opens the musical action comedy The Blues Brothers, which hit theatres on June 20, 1980. Their scripted mission was to save a local Chicago orphanage; but Aykroyd, who conceived and wrote the film, had a greater mission: to honor the then-seemingly forgotten tradition of rhythm and blues, some of whose greatest artists—Aretha Franklin, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles—made the film as unforgettable as its wild car chases. Late and vastly over budget, beset by mercurial and oft drugged-out stars, The Blues Brothers opened to tepid reviews at best. However, in the 44 years since it has been acknowledged a classic: inducted into the National Film Registry for its cultural significance; even declared a “Catholic classic” by the Church itself; and re-aired thousands of times on television to huge worldwide audiences. It is, undeniably, one of the most significant films of the 20th century.

The story behind any classic is rich; the saga behind The Blues Brothers, as Daniel de Visé reveals, is epic, encompassing the colorful childhoods of Belushi and Aykroyd; the comedic revolution sparked by Harvard’s Lampoon and Chicago’s Second City; the birth and anecdote-rich, drug-filled early years of Saturday Night Live, where the Blues Brothers were born as an act amidst turmoil and rivalry; and of course the indelible behind-the-scenes narrative of how the film was made, scene by memorable scene. Based on original research and dozens of interviews probing the memories of principals from director John Landis and producer Bob Weiss to SNL creator Lorne Michaels and Aykroyd himself, The Blues Brothers vividly portrays the creative geniuses behind modern comedy.

Daniel de Visé is the author of King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. KingThe Comeback: Greg LeMond, The True King of American Cycling, and a Legendary Tour de FranceAndy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, and coauthor of I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia. He shared a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and has worked at the Washington Post and Miami Herald, among other newspapers. He lives in Maryland.

This event is free with first come, first served seating.

1324 4th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
Union Market
Non Fiction
The Blues Brothers: An Epic Friendship, the Rise of Improv, and the Making of an American Film Classic By Daniel de Visé Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802160980
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - March 19th, 2024