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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   13,085 votes »
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Down 4% 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:
sure, it may have it's share of clichés and pit-falls, but it makes you feel the Blues, deep down your spine, long after you leave See more (89 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
Jason Sutton .... hydrascope operator
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:
Arranger Riley Hampton, who orchestrated all of Etta's Chess hits, including "At Last," is not mentioned anywhere in the film.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Several guitars in the studio are much later models than would have been available at the time. A Gibson ES-335, introduced in 1958, is clearly visible in one scene set in 1955. A Gibson ES-175 in the same scene (and some set earlier) has humbucking pickups, which were introduced in 1957.See more »
Quotes:
Willie Dixon:[as a narrator] When you lose that cat that gave you the sound that nobody else could, it hurts. Hurts more than losing your woman.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Great Movie Mistakes (2010) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Smokestack Lightin'See more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Who is singing...?
Where are the recording artists today? Are they still making records?
See more »
25 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
sure, it may have it's share of clichés and pit-falls, but it makes you feel the Blues, deep down your spine, long after you leave, 5 December 2008
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

It's hard to get a feel for a specific time and period in movies let alone an actual mood of a particular music. The best bio-pics on musicians tend to get it just about right (Bird, Sid & Nancy, The Doors, Walk the Line) even if the films aren't great or, even worse, have those tired old conventions of real-life people fit in tidy fashion for a 2-hour storyline. Sometimes all we can hope for is that they get the mood right, and even that isn't attained; some years back the wildly over-praised Ray had strong performances but, to me, didn't really capture that feel of what it was like to be in the midst of something really spectacular- we only saw it being great for Ray Charles (not that his music didn't help the movie, somewhat besides the point).

There's an attitude to a kind of music, whether it's punk or jazz or psychedelic rock or even in "wtf" mode in I'm Not There. The best thing about Cadillac Records, the thing that will have me go back and watch it again more than anything, is that it captures what it was like to be around the one of the significant blues explosions in America. There was always blues in the US in the 20th century, but it grew steadily, out of sorrow and bad days and nights and hate and love gone bad or good for African Americans. Cadillac Records covers some of the crucial blues artists- Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry (the cross-over), Willie Dixon, Etta James- and how their personalities were shaped by whatever was around them, and then into the songs. We may not get an entire life story out of all those in the film, but unlike Walk the Line or Ray we don't need it at all to know these people, or the characters.

The actors, it should be said, really do a lot of heavy lifting here. The music, it goes without saying, is spectacular and wonderful and often shown as developing out of a myriad of things (frustration, sadness, joy, craziness, anguish, love), but the script does follow some of those lines that are troublesome in bio-pics (one character, Little Walter, is the proverbial black sheep and that's almost all he is, and there's the obvious dippings in-and-out of relationship things).

So, the actors fill in the gaps in the formula, and make it far more enjoyable and full of life than it might have in other hands; this is the wisdom of the director Darnell Martin, usually a TV director. He casts not entirely on if they exactly fit the original people, but if they got the right stuff for the particular person: Muddy Waters, the real bad-ass of the group and the real main character of the story, is given powerhouse form by Jeffrey Wright in every frame; Beyonce Knowles, while hardly the worst thing in Dreamgirls, completely redeems herself and then some as Etta James, going all out in a full-fleshed out dramatic performance (how well she sings is a given); Columbus Short, given the walking cliché of Little, takes it for everything it's worth, and it is never less than interesting; Eaommon Walker (from Oz) is great as Howlin' Wolf in any scene; Mos Def finds the line of hamming it up and playing it for real for Chuck Berry, and makes it work all the way; Adrien Brody, as the token white main player, is given not a lot to work with either, but is also riveting and captivating and a reminder of why he won the Oscar years back.

But with all this gushing about the actors, I shouldn't forget about the music, the blues, all of it lovingly depicted (maybe at times too lovingly- Cedric's narration) while also in rightful critical form on how the blues got completely ripped off by any (arguably talented) rock band waiting in the wings. You can feel the blues dripping off the screen in some scenes in the first half of the film, the scenes with Waters playing in the club or just in his bedroom, or Chuck Berry playing on stage with a mixed crowd, or the dialog in certain scenes. As a fan of the blues, it hit its target right on spot while hopefully converting some who don't know Muddy Waters or Howlin Wolfs' catalogs like Ray Charles. One more cliché to note, a positive one: it gets you whistling as you leave the theater and tapping your feet at your seat. That's good enough sometimes.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Message Boards

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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
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