Cadillac Records (15)

FOLLOWING last week s release of the biopic of hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls, we have another film focusing on the rise of black music. Written and directed by Darnell Martin, CADILLAC RECORDS (15) chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its blues artists

FOLLOWING last week's release of the biopic of hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls, we have another film focusing on the rise of black music.

Written and directed by Darnell Martin, CADILLAC RECORDS (15) chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its blues artists - people like Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf and Etta James.

Adrien Brody stars as Leonard Chess, an ambitious young Polish �migr� in 1950s Chicago, who - fascinated by the burgeoning blues sound - sets up his own record label with his brother.

He treats his musicians like family, buying them a Cadillac when they record their first hit.


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But the line between business and personal sometimes causes conflict with his increasingly talented and successful stable of artists.

Jeffrey Wright is Muddy Waters, Columbus Short is Little Walter, Mos Def plays Chuck Berry and Beyonce Knowles is Etta James.

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Rounding out the cast are Gabrielle Union, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Cedric The Entertainer, Eamonn Walker and Tammy Blanchard.

Writer Martin says: "I wanted to be sure it wasn't a film about two white guys who 'discovered' the blues."

Instead, she focused the stories of the black musicians whom Chess made famous. "When I started to see the same stories told in four or five different biographies, the truth started to appear, and the story of the film started to emerge."

Beyonce says: "You know, when you think of the king of rock and roll, it's not Elvis. It's Muddy Waters.

"I play Etta James, she's so different from myself. The walk, the way she talks, she's extremely sassy."

She adds: "The music does something to your soul. You can feel the pain, you can hear the passion, it takes you back to the fifties.

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