Explaining why "Blues Brothers" is a Musical and "The Little Mermaid" is not

Essay by cypher0009College, UndergraduateA, January 2003

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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,