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Cadillac Records
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Cadillac Records (2008) More at IMDbPro »

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Cadillac Records -- In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, Cadillac Records follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James
Cadillac Records -- Clip: Meet Etta
Cadillac Records -- Cadillac Records Theatrical Trailer
Cadillac Records -- Clip: Chuck Berry loses a gig
Cadillac Records -- Clip: Howlin´ Wolf sings

Overview

User Rating:
6.9/10   12,961 votes »
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Up 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer (WGA):
Darnell Martin (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for Cadillac Records on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
5 December 2008 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
If you take the ride, you must pay the price. See more »
Plot:
Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 19 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
This is mostly fiction and an insult to the artists and the history of Chess Records. See more (88 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Joshua Alscher ... Mick Jagger
Tim Bellow ... Man in the Caddy (as Timothy Bellow)

Tony Bentley ... Lomax

Tammy Blanchard ... Isabelle Allen

Eric Bogosian ... Alan Freed

Marc Bonan ... Keith Richards

Adrien Brody ... Leonard Chess

Cedric the Entertainer ... Willie Dixon

Emmanuelle Chriqui ... Revetta Chess
Douglas Crosby ... Policeman (Little Walter beating)

Dexter Darden ... Geneva's Teenage Son

Veronika Dash ... Blonde Girl
Sean Shyboy Davis ... Toothless Hillbilly Little Walter (as Sean Davis)

Eshaya Draper ... Charles Waters

Shiloh Fernandez ... Phil Chess

Jill Flint ... Shelly Feder
Erik Frandsen ... Engineer - Present Day
Gano Grills ... Slick Pimp

Suzette Gunn ... Minnie Ripperton (as Suzette Azariah Gunn)

Jordan Haynes ... Pot Strong (as Jordan C. Haynes)

William Hill ... Policeman (with the Stones)
Mike Hodge ... Bartender
Tyler Humphrey ... Muddy - Age 6

Osas Ighodaro ... Maid

Kevin Jackson ... Mysterious Black Man

Albert Jones ... Hubert Sumlin

Beyoncé Knowles ... Etta James
Rayan Lawrence ... Harmonica Player

Chyna Layne ... Pot's Girlfriend Juanita

Kevin Mambo ... Jimmy Rogers

Mos Def ... Chuck Berry

Aaron Munoz ... Manager
Wade Mylius ... Bouncer
Rebecca Pappa ... Another Blonde
Jonathan Earl Peck ... Man Who Rolled 7 (as Jonathan Peck)

Q-Tip ... Hip Hop Artist
Ginnie Randall ... Muddy's Grandmother
Ashlee Ray ... Muddy's Floozy #1

Norman Reedus ... Chess Engineer

Jake Robards ... Producer - Present Day

Jay O. Sanders ... Mr. Feder

Columbus Short ... Little Walter

Samuel Smith ... Guitarist

Valence Thomas ... James Cotton

Gabrielle Union ... Geneva Wade
Carmen Ziina Vasquez ... Muddy's Floozy #2

Eamonn Walker ... Howlin' Wolf

Isiah Whitlock Jr. ... Mississippi DJ

Jeffrey Wright ... Muddy Waters
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Angelina Aucello ... Teenybopper (uncredited)

Lawrence P. Beron ... Overseer (uncredited)
Ryan Curtis ... Picnic Boyfriend (uncredited)

Vincent D'Onofrio ... Mississippi DJ (uncredited) (unconfirmed)

Seth Donavan ... Chuck Berry Concert Goer (uncredited)

John Farrer ... Violinist - Etta's Recording Group (uncredited)
Doug W. Goldman ... Trumpet - Etta's Recording Group (uncredited)

Evan Hart ... Young Lover (uncredited)
Vianca Johnson ... Field Worker (uncredited)

Malikha Mallette ... Little Walter's Girlfriend (uncredited)
Cerrone may ... Muddy's Band Member (uncredited)

Adaku Ononogbo ... Muddy Waters' Girlfriend (uncredited)
Catherine Pierce ... Shocked Bystander (uncredited)

Elvis Presley ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Stephen Seidel ... Officer Brown (uncredited)

Derrick Simmons ... Dice Player (uncredited)

Directed by
Darnell Martin 
 
Writing credits
(WGA)
Darnell Martin (written by)

Produced by
Scott Cameron .... co-producer
Petra Hoebel .... co-producer
Beyoncé Knowles .... executive producer
Andrew Lack .... producer
Marc Levin .... executive producer
Sofia Sondervan .... producer
 
Original Music by
Terence Blanchard 
 
Cinematography by
Anastas N. Michos (director of photography) (as Anastas Michos)
 
Film Editing by
Peter C. Frank 
 
Casting by
Michelle Adams 
Kimberly Hardin  (as Kimberly R. Hardin)
 
Production Design by
Linda Burton 
 
Art Direction by
Nicolas Locke  (as Nicholas Locke)
 
Set Decoration by
Deborah Greene 
David Schlesinger 
Carrie Stewart 
 
Costume Design by
Johnetta Boone 
 
Makeup Department
Barry Berger .... additional makeup artist
Nikki I Brown .... assistant makeup: Louisiana (as Nikki Brown)
Marjorie Durand .... department head makeup
Kimberly Kimble .... hair stylist: Beyoncé Knowles
Erwin H. Kupitz .... wig maker (as Erwin Kupitz)
Tarsha Marshall .... hair stylist
Jeffrey Rebelo .... department head hair
Barbara Roman .... hair stylist
Vincent Schicchi .... special effects makeup
Tomasina Smith .... additional makeup artist
Francesca Tolot .... makeup artist: Beyoncé Knowles (as Francesca Tolot Marchio)
Nicole Tucker .... key hair stylist
Tony Ward .... assistant hair: Louisiana
Tobe West .... key makeup assistant
Colleen Wheeler .... background hair supervisor
Louie Zakarian .... special effects makeup designer
Christine Domaniecki .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Petra Hoebel .... unit production manager
Christopher Kenneally .... post-production supervisor (as Chris Kenneally)
Oak Porcelli .... production supervisor: Louisiana
Melissa Roberts .... production supervisor: Louisiana
Andrew Saxe .... assistant production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Scott August .... second assistant director: Louisiana
Seth Hansen .... second second assistant director: Louisiana
Tony Phillippe .... second assistant director
Gary S. Rake .... second assistant director
Maurice Sessoms .... second second assistant director
Jonathan Starch .... first assistant director
Rebecca Strickland .... first assistant director: Louisiana
 
Art Department
Jose Amor .... carpenter
Maureen Angelos .... scenic shopman (as Maureen 'Moe' Angelos)
Paul Blanchard .... assistant props: Louisiana
Gary Boesch .... carpenter
Andrew W. Bofinger .... on-set dresser: Louisiana (as Andrew Bofinger)
Krzysztof J. Bratun .... scenic foreman
Eric Breaux .... set dresser: Louisiana
Leni Calas .... property master
Gabu Camilo .... third prop (as Gabriel 'Gabu' Camilo Silva Dalglish)
Monique Champagne .... set decorator: Louisiana
John J. Ciccimarro .... key carpenter (as John Ciccimarro)
Kaem Coughlin .... camera scenic
Jim 'Bear' Davies .... set dresser
Frank DeCurtis Jr. .... set dresser
Eddie DeCurtis .... set dresser
Frank DeCurtis .... set dresser (as Frank DeCurtis Sr.)
Peter DeCurtis .... leadman
Thomas A. Delillo .... leadman (as Tom Delillo)
Mandie DeMeskey .... assistant property master
Emily Gaunt .... charge scenic
Jon Graubarth .... property master: Louisiana
William Groom .... scenic artist (as William A. Groom)
David Jennings .... scenic shopman
Steve Jones .... construction coordinator: Louisiana
Michael Kall .... foreman carpenter (as Mike Kall)
Jon Kim .... props
Beth Kuhn .... scenic artist
Eric Kutner .... shop electric
Matthew Milstein .... additional props
Scotty Morris .... leadman: Louisiana
Kate Noll .... art department production assistant
Kevin C. Reidy .... key construction grip (as Kevin Reidy)
Pierre Rovira .... construction coordinator
Luigi Scarcella-Perino .... storyboard artist
Lee Shevett .... best boy construction grip
Rodney Sterbenz .... on-set dresser
Patrick Taistra .... construction grip (as Pat Taistra)
Will Watkins .... art department coordinator (as William H. Watkins)
Emily Whitaker .... set dresser: Louisiana
Denis Zack .... set dresser
Will Zinser .... art department assistant: Louisiana
 
Sound Department
David Briggs .... adr editor
David Briggs .... dialogue editor
Jim Caruana .... sound engineer
Rachel Chancey .... foley supervisor
Stuart Deutsch .... sound mixer
Rusty Dunn .... sound effects editor
Mark Filip .... sound effects editor
Lewis Goldstein .... sound re-recording mixer
Lewis Goldstein .... supervising sound editor
Larry Hopkins .... layback sound mixer
Richard Kamerman .... sound intern
Allen Lau .... assistant sound editor
B.J. Lehn .... sound mixer: Louisiana (as BJ Lehn)
Nathan Lindsey .... adr recordist
Teferra McKenzie .... boom operator
Cate Montana .... adr editor
Cate Montana .... dialogue editor
James Nichols .... sound consultant: Dolby
Bill Orrico .... assistant sound editor (as Billy Orrico)
David Pastecchi .... cable utility
Jeff Pinkus .... boom operator: Louisiana
Jeff Pullman .... sound mixer (as Jeffrey Pullman)
Tom Ryan .... apprentice sound editor
 
Special Effects by
Drew Jiritano .... special effects coordinator
Ken Speed .... special effects coordinator: Louisiana
 
Visual Effects by
Jennifer Basnyat .... additional effects
Christopher Bremble .... representative: Base FX (as Chris Bremble)
Molle DeBartolo .... digital intermediate coordinator
Robert Lopuski .... visual effects supervisor
Tom Mayclim .... scanner/recorder
Nick Paulozza .... scanner/recorder
Felix Xu .... visual effects artist
Mark A. Kolars .... on-set supervisor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Bobby Beckles .... stunt performer
Bob Colletti .... stunt performer
Blaise Corrigan .... stunt performer
Hugues Faustin .... stunt performer
Jalil Jay Lynch .... stunt performer
Samantha MacIvor .... stunt performer
Naomi Peters .... stunt performer
Stephen A. Pope .... stunt coordinator (as Stephen Pope)
Jeremy Sample .... stunt performer
Keith Siglinger .... stunt performer
Derrick Simmons .... stunt performer
Blaise Corrigan .... stunt coordinator (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Omeed Badkoobeh .... camera production assistant: Louisiana
Daniel Beaman .... dolly grip: "a" camera (as Dan Beaman)
Ruark Behan .... grip
Zachary Bookout .... grip: Louisiana (as Zach Bookout)
Danny Brazen .... key grip: Louisiana
Craig Carter .... dolly grip: Louisiana
Daniel Casey .... second assistant camera: "b" camera (as Dan Casey)
Radium Cheung .... gaffer
Kathleen Corgan .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Kath Corgan)
Bryan Delorenzo .... first assistant camera: "b" camera, Louisiana
Patrick Ebanks .... grip: Louisiana
Robert Foster .... camera operator: Louisiana (as Bob Foster)
Chris Frumkes .... lamp operator
Craig Paul Harris .... lamp operator
Michael J. Kammerer .... dolly grip: "b" camera (as Mike Kammerer)
Reid Kelly .... grip
Sal Lanza .... key grip
Eric Liebowitz .... still photographer
SiddeeQah Na'Imah Malik .... camera production assistant (as Siddeeqah 'Naimah' Malik)
Derek J. Manganelli .... film loader (as Derek Manganelli)
Gerard Martin .... film loader: Louisiana
Jim Mayo .... second crane operator: Louisiana
Mike Montgomery .... grip
Charlie Nauman .... second assistant camera: "b" camera, Louisiana
Ed Nessen .... first assistant camera: "a" camera, Louisiana
John Oliveira .... grip
Michael P. Prisco Jr. .... best boy electric (as Michael Prisco Jr.)
Gay E. Riedel .... lamp operator
Thomas Ryan .... grip
Chris Scarfi .... genny operator
Mark Schmidt .... a-camera/steadicam operator
Wayne Sharp .... best boy grip: Louisiana
Pierson Silver .... second assistant camera: "a" camera
Shawn Stone .... grip: Louisiana
Barry Strickland .... electric: Louisiana
Jeff Taylor .... second assistant camera: "a" camera, Louisiana
Greg Travis .... gaffer: Louisiana (as Travis Travis)
Shawna Travis .... electric: Louisiana
Art Villasenor .... lead crane operator: Louisiana
Earl Woods .... best boy electric: Louisiana (as Earl Woods Jr.)
Thomas Yostpille .... best boy grip (as Tom Yostpille)
 
Casting Department
Michelle Adams .... casting assistant
Monique Link .... background casting associate (as Monique 'Mo' Link)
Cicero Salmon III .... casting intern
Winsome Sinclair .... background casting
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Arlynn Abseck .... key set costumer
Alex Bovaird .... costume coordinator
John Corbo .... key set costumer
Mary Gierczak .... seamstress
Eileen Goh .... set costumer
Kirsten Mogg .... costumer
Olivia Mori .... assistant costume designer
Lauren Press .... assistant costume designer
Brenda Rousseau .... seamstress
Elisa Santiago .... set costumer
Liz Staub .... costume supervisor: Louisiana
Wendy Talley .... set costumer: Louisiana
Elaine Varnes .... key costumer: Louisiana
Deirdre N. Williams .... costume supervisor (as Deirdre Williams)
 
Editorial Department
Mitchell Ferm .... digital intermediate producer
Joe Gawler .... senior digital intermediate colorist
Chris Gennarelli .... colorist: dailies
Saar Klein .... additional editor
Jack Lewars .... digital intermediate assistant colorist
Chris MacKenzie .... digital intermediate opticals
Patrick McGuinn .... project manager
Jacob Robinson .... digital intermediate editor
Jackeline Tejada .... assistant editor
Joe Violante .... dailies advisor
 
Music Department
Vincent Bennett .... session assistant
Terence Blanchard .... conductor
Terence Blanchard .... musician: trumpet, piano and synths
Terence Blanchard .... orchestrator
Chris Bubacz .... studio manager
Robin Burgess .... session coordinator
John Carbonara .... music editor
Marshall Chess .... executive music producer
Howard Drossin .... orchestrator
Derrick Hodge .... musician: upright bass
Jef Lee Johnson .... musician: electric and acoustic guitar
Steve Jordan .... composer: additional score
Steve Jordan .... composer: additional songs
Steve Jordan .... music producer
Ryan Kelly .... assistant music engineer
Grégoire Maret .... musician: harmonica (as Gregoire Maret)
Anders Osborne .... guitar instructor: Louisiana
Beth Rosenblatt .... music supervisor (as Beth Amy Rosenblatt)
Kendrick Scott .... musician: drums
Bill Sims Jr. .... guitar instructor
Angie Teo .... assistant music engineer
Kim Wilson .... composer: additional score
Kim Wilson .... composer: additional songs
Brice Winston .... musician: saxophone
Frank Wolf .... score mixer
 
Transportation Department
Larry Arceneaux .... transportation department: Louisiana
Henry S. Avelin .... transportation captain (as Henry Avelin)
Tom Breheany .... driver
Richard Burch .... transportation department: Louisiana
Matthew Callagy .... driver (as Matt Callagy)
Walker 'Butch' Chaney .... transportation department: Louisiana
John Coffey .... driver
Ricky Damazio .... transportation coordinator: Louisiana
Billy Featherstone .... driver (as Bill Featherstone)
Ray Fennell .... driver
Donald Fernicola .... driver (as Don Fernicola)
Paul Forste .... driver
Monica W. Fuller .... driver: Louisiana (as Monica Williamson)
Kevin Grzan .... driver
Gerald Hardy .... transportation department: Louisiana (as Gerald 'Slick' Hardy)
Michael Iriarte .... driver (as Mike Iriarte)
Steve Johnson .... transportation department: Louisiana
D.J. Junot .... driver (as DJ Junot)
Dennis Kelly .... transportation co-captain
John Kelly .... driver (as John T. Kelly)
David Laurentin .... assistant parking coordinator
Al Lopez .... transportation department: Louisiana
Sonny Messina .... transportation department: Louisiana (as Salvador A. Messina 'Sonny')
George Mills .... transportation department: Louisiana
Willie D. Partin .... driver
Glenn D. Phillips .... transportation department: Louisiana
Bryan Place .... driver
Jim Robin .... transportation department: Louisiana
Joe Sargo .... picture car coordinator
Joseph Scarpone .... driver (as Joe Scarpone)
Kenny Swanson .... driver (as Ken Swanson)
José Tejada .... parking coordinator (as Jose Tejada)
Gary Valovich .... driver (as Gary Vlaovich)
Brian Walker .... driver
 
Other crew
Clay Achee .... production assistant: Louisiana
Md. Moinuddin Ali .... additional production assistant (as Md Ali)
Mac Alsfeld .... cast assistant: Louisiana
Brian Anderson .... caterer: Louisiana
Adam Babin .... production assistant: Louisiana
Waleed Bedour .... intern
Caroline Berberich .... intern
Jason Block .... post-production accountant
Carla Borras .... assistant: Adrien Brody (as Carolina Magdalena Borras)
Casey Bundick .... craft service: Louisiana
Gregory Chestnut .... production staff
Chris Collins .... production coordinator
Benton Collinsworth .... production assistant: Louisiana (as Ben Collinsworth)
Mona Coulter .... travel agent
Greg Cuozzo .... caterer
Mark Doyle .... account representative
Cord Dueppe .... office production assistant
Joe Facey .... key craft service
Lisa Falzarano .... set production assistant (as Lisa R. Falzarano)
Nicole Feder .... assistant: Darnell Martin
Kerin Ferallo .... production coordinator
Peter Fikaris .... jet advisor
Alex Finch .... set production assistant
Rosa Garces .... payroll clerk
Jennifer Gaston-Gates .... first assistant accountant (as Jennifer M. Gates)
Kenneth Gifford .... production assistant
Orit Greenberg .... location scout
Matt Grimm .... assistant: Sofia Sondervan
Duck Grossberg .... data manager
Chris Hadlock .... production coordinator: Louisiana
Micah Haley .... cast assistant: Louisiana
Kristina Hall .... intern
Otis Harris .... craft service assistant
Tal Harris .... intern
Melissa Kalbfus .... script supervisor
Richard Keeshan .... assistant production coordinator (as Richard P. Keeshan)
Mary Knauf .... set production assistant
Becky Korman .... intern
Ronnie Kupferwasser .... location manager
Gabrielle Lasting .... production secretary
Ben Ledoux .... assistant location manager: Louisiana
Robert Lopuski .... title designer: main titles
Neia Mack .... intern
Margie Mazzei .... medic
LeRoy McCarthy .... assistant location manager
James McGuinness .... unit production assistant
Susan Muir .... completion bond
Andrew Mukuria .... set production assistant
Alison Norod .... set production assistant (as Ali Norod)
Brendan O'Rourke .... assistant location manager
Sandy Parker .... script supervisor: Louisiana
Johnnie Ruth Richey .... production secretary: Louisiana
Janice Roland .... unit publicity
Patrick Russell .... production executive
Paula Schmidt .... completion bond
Stephen Seidel .... stand-in: Adrien Brody
Joe Sevey .... location scout
Eric Sizemore .... production assistant: Louisiana
Patti Small .... production controller
Lora Sorrentino .... set production assistant
Emily Spivack .... intern
Desiree Stevenson .... production assistant: Louisiana
Nicole Stoll .... fitting coordinator
Edmund Tomaselli .... medic (as Edmund Tomaselli Jr.)
Lourdes Torres .... intern
Shannon Treusch .... unit publicity
Denise Violante .... casting assistant
Angela Webster .... assistant: Andrew Lack
Robert Whitfield .... payroll accountant
Kim Wigger .... location assistant
Brian Wiggins .... additional production assistant
Tracy Wong .... craft service
R. Bryan Wright .... location manager: Louisiana (as Bryan Wright)
Chris Zrada .... additional production assistant
April Freeman .... consultant: product placement (uncredited)
Malik Parker .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Michael Allenby .... special thanks
Steve Berkowitz .... special thanks
Roger Blanc .... special thanks
Marie Dixon .... special thanks
Troy Germano .... special thanks
Randy Gerston .... special thanks
Steven Gorelick .... special thanks (as Steve Gorelick)
Etta James .... special thanks
Jennifer Justice .... special thanks
Mathew Knowles .... special thanks
Jeff Koenig .... special thanks
Toni Ann Mamary .... special thanks
Tino Passante .... special thanks
Roman Polanski .... special thanks
Andrew Ross .... special thanks
David W. Schoner Jr. .... special thanks (as David Schoner)
Emmanuelle Seigner .... special thanks
Artie Smith .... special thanks
Andy Taub .... special thanks
Susan Taub .... special thanks
Michael Tedesco .... special thanks
James M. Waugh .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated R for pervasive language and some sexuality
Runtime:
109 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Matt Dillon was originally meant to play Leonard Chess but ultimately couldn't do the movie. Adrien Brody replaced him.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The 45 RPM record was not widely used during the time the film was set. Until the late 1950s, 78 RPM records were the state-of-the-art at home and on the radio. Studios were pressing mostly 78's when Chess Records started, but they don't appear anywhere in the film.See more »
Quotes:
Muddy Waters:You alright? Damn it.
Little Walter:I had no business being that pretty anyway.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
No Particular Place to GoSee more »

FAQ

What other legendary R&R and R&B recording artists are featured in the movie?
Was Leonard Chess ripping off the artists he supported?
What about Bo Diddley? Is he in the film?
See more »
87 out of 125 people found the following review useful.
This is mostly fiction and an insult to the artists and the history of Chess Records., 16 December 2008
Author: Davo Sambo from United Kingdom

Pretty much everything in this movie is the work of fiction. It reminds me of one of those Simpsons episodes where a TV studio does a biopic and makes up half the story for 'dramatic effect'. But this is even worse- honestly it was bad enough that the stories were fictional, but they are also just an insult to the people (for some strange reason(!) though all except the white studio owner that is, who was a hopeless romantic, who was also apparently the pioneer of the Chicago blues...all things to all men. He was a saint, everyone else, the musicians were anything but(!)) Let's get some facts clear- Leonard Chess set up the company with his brother, after working at another company Aristocrat Records. It was here they worked with Muddy Waters. So no- Muddy didn't meet Little Walter on the street and bring him into his house. And no, little Walter didn't have the hots for Muddy's wife Geneva. Although Leonard Chess was very much hands on when he started the company, by all accounts the guy who really pioneered the classic sound of the records was Willie Dixon. Who is criminally underused and treated as a one trick pony who could only write blues songs. He left in the late 50's to work at Cobra records after being underpaid by Chess- listen to those Cobra records and those at Chess- they sound pretty similar right? That's because Willie Dixon was the pioneer- Leonard Chess was the man stuck in the past.

One example of the film's dreadful portrayal of the individuals is the fictional scene where Muddy Waters meets Leonard Chess (ignoring their prior recording work at Aristocrat records). Little Walter is going to shoot another harp player who has hit him, and Muddy stands in his way. Yet the only story remotely like this in REALITY is when a friend of Little Walter's told his wife to leave a club, and she sat by Howlin' Wolf and refused to go. Little Walter was performing on stage, and had seen Howlin' Wolf get his gun out. He jumped down stage and told Wolf that if he was going to shoot his friend, he'd have to shoot him. He later arranged a meeting between his friend and Wolf, who in fact became friends despite the altercation. Which is why this movie is so frustrating- the REAL lives of these people is nothing short of fascinating, exciting and a great background to their music. By all accounts Little Walter was a bit of a loose cannon, but he was also a real person- not a one-dimensional madman who was out to destroy himself and everyone else around him. The story told in the movie is everything that is wrong with Hollywood- overblown, turgid and full of dreadful 'emotional' scenes (everything with Brody and Beyonce is so clichéd and hammed up that its cringe worthy). While the story here is just dull, the real stories have managed to fill biographies dedicated to each of these artists.

Some more inaccuracies; Little Walter never shot someone just for touring under his name- once again he was no angel, but neither does it seem was he a murderer as the movie suggests. Howlin' Wolf actually stayed with Muddy Waters when he first moved to Chicago- and sometimes they were friends, others professional rivals. Yet Muddy is chosen to be some kind of protagonist who we are supposed to feel sympathy for when another man tries to take his crown. Even worse some of the MORE fascinating characters (with all due respect to Leonard 'bore fest' Chess and Muddy Waters) of Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Ike Turner or Jackie Brenston are completely ignored. Because these people were irrelevant- Chuck Berry invented Rock N Roll music all on his lonesome and no one else laid the groundwork for that (an especially contrived piece of storytelling when you consider that these guys recorded their seminal records at Chess.) But worst of all is the love story. The entire second half of the movie is dedicated to Etta James and Leonard Chess. Who by the way never had any kind of love affair- and neither did they speak like buffoons to each other about their 'feelings'. Etta James had already been a successful star before Chess- her career if anything went down hill when she joined. One of the more annoying things is that the actors do their own singing- few of them are up to the task. Beyonce is simply dreadful as Etta James vocal imitator. On a microcosm it is a perfect representation of why this is an awful movie. Beyonce's voice is overblown, she has no ability to control her vocal range without trying to jump from top to bottom every two seconds, and ultimately all the soul she tries to put on is clearly just that- put on. She doesn't have the understatement of Etta, the ability to lull you into a false sense of security before taking her voice from 0-60 in a second, and neither does she have that almost primal quality that Etta had back then. Like this movie, Beyonce's performance is overblown and lacks any character or soul.

I understand that some liberties might be taken with a story. For example, for what it is the Temptations biopic is enjoyable- yes there are discrepancies and some things that should have been more central to the story, but it did a good impression of the music and the stories behind them. Cadillac Records however is like the He-Man Masters of the Universe of music biopics- it has little to do with the source material except sharing the names and likenesses of the characters, but any representation of the source material is superficial at best. And that's the only word that really can describe this movie- superficial. You have been warned.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (88 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Cadillac Records (2008)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Elvis: lies, lies and more lies gillianzz-1
shouldnt a white portray ETTA JAMES? limhaysen
No Phil Chess or Bo Diddley? BrianDefferding
Hot Wings and Food Stamps katcm99
Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf oliversteinn
Not factual!!! Badly made. shelly10538
See more »

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