Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Blues Brothers: The Lost Tales, part 3


At this point in the book, the narrative starts following the movie a bit more closely; actions captured on celluloid have been reproduced here pretty faithfully. However, there are a few distinct differences that have to be pointed out. The relationship between Sister Mary Stigmata and her two Blues Brothers "sons" is portrayed in the book a bit more warmly than it is in the movie. Whether that decision was intentional when going from script to screen or whether it was just not choosing to flesh out the characters in an effort to save time is unknown. But notice here, if you will, the slight deviations from the adversarial relationship portrayed in the movie:


"So, Jake," Sister Mary said. "Was it worth it?"

"What?"

"Was the money you stole worth the penalty you paid for threatening the life of a fellow man?"

"No, I guess not," Jake replied. "But I didn't really threaten anybody."

"Where were you when your brother was stealing?" Sister Mary asked, fixing Elwood with a baleful glare.

"I was in the car waiting for him."

"Therefore you are an accessory to the crime, as they say."

Elwood nodded.

"More than that, Jake said. "He was an absollute necessity."

"How come you were caught and he wasn't?"

"The cops couldn't catch him. He was in the Bluesmobile."

"Actually, it was pretty close," Elwood said, "until I got in the funeral procession. It took me out of my way, but it was worth it."

"Neither of you sounds contrite," Sister Mary said accusingly. "Not in the slightest."

"We didn't have any choice," Jake replied. "We needed the money fast. There wasn't any other way out."

"There's always another way out. A Christian way out. God doesn't encourage people to be thieves. You just didn't look hard enough."

"I did, I did," Jake protested. "Honest, Penguin... I mean, Sister Mary. We even used the Yellow Pages."

"Don't be a wiseacre. You know what I mean about looking. You didn't ask the Lord for a better way out. Chances are, if you'd done that, He would have shown you the light."

"It was getting awfully late to go around looking for the light. We didn't have time."

"There's always time. Sometimes you see the light in a split second. God works in strange ways. He'd have given you the answer if you'd given Him half a chance."

Jake shrugged, indicating resignation if not defeat.

"Anyway, you don't realize how lucky you've been," Sister Mary continued. "A lot worse things could have happebned to you than being raised here. Church money raised and fed you. You could at least have thought of the Church once during your timeof need. It makes me think you learned nothing during all you years here."

"That's not true," Jake objected, smiling. "We learned to duck."

"Ingrates," Sister Mary chided them, but her tone was no longer angry.


At this point, Sister Mary informs Jake and Elwood of the tax payment predicament that the orphanage finds itself in.

"How much is the payment?" Elwood asked.

"Five thousand dollars is the amount we'll have to pay to keep them from offering it for sale."

"Doesn't the church have that much?" Elwood responded. "Seems to me they could pay that easy."

"They could, if they were interested in keeping the place," Sister Mary murmured. "But they aren't. I don't guess you can blame them. It's dilapidated and not much to look at. but it serves a good purpose."

"Kind of like you," Jake said, the warmth in his eyes belying the flippancy of his remark.

Sister Mary looked darts at him, then laughed. "Well, that's exactly it, you know," she said. We take kinds here that can't go anyplace else, and do a pretty good job of raising them. If St. Helen goes, I don't know what might happen to some of these children."


The remaining tale follows the movie's events, including telling of the meeting with Curtis the maintenance man / blues zeitgeist. But what's touched on is that Elwood has a chance to visit the orphanage a few times while Jake is still incarcerated. During the last visit before bringing Jake, Elwood runs into the Illinois Nazis sizing up the orphanage's big cavernous rooms and expressing their intentions to purchase the orphanage if only to recreate the interior of the beer hall at which Hitler spoke to the masses. This, of course, fills Elwood with revulsion, and further stokes his hatred of the Illinois Nazis. The Nazis are portrayed as earnest but ultimately foolish and misguided. Elwood ends up giving them the silent treatment during their tour of the orphanage, as they size up the building as a cat would look at a rodent-filled mouse hole.

More on the way. Keep the comments coming!!

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