Compared are the Theatrical Version and the Extended Version (both available on the German Deluxe Edition by Turbine / Universal)
59 differences, inclusing
* 10x alternate footage
* 8 recuts
* 6x additional footage in the Theatrical Version
Length difference: 896.2 sec (= 14:56 min)
The Blues Brothers by John Landis is a classic, no doubt. The combination of music and action is rather rare and hard to find on the big screen. And its origin story is really something: After the lead actors' breakthrough in Saturday Night Live, the movie was ordered without having an actual concept - not to mention a completed screenplay. John Landis, who had already been known for The Kentuck Fried Movie and National Lampoon's Animal House, was assigned to make a reasonable script out of Dan Aykroyd's first draft and was quite busy during the shoot: There is a lot of information about John Belushi's cocaine abuse on the internet and the musicians that were just not used to several takes caused a few headaches as well.
With $27.5 million, the movie almost doubled its estimated production costs and the first 160-minutes-cut by John Landis (nowadays known as "Roadshow Version" - just like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World) was not an option from the economical point of view resp. cuts were required in order to show it more often per day. With a heavy heart, Landis was at least involved in the final 133-minutes-cut aka the Theatrical Version and the rest is history. For its DVD premiere in 1999, Universal allowed Landis access to the raw footage and Landis was able to restore a longer "Extended Version" with a length of 148 minutes.
A word regarding the German "Deluxe Edition" which has been used for this comparison: The contrast of the additional footage has been adjusted to the rest of the movie and the color grading has been went over again as well. That also makes this release interesting for international audiences. In addition to that, John Landis recorded a little intro exclusively for this release.
The Extended Version
First of all, I would like to point out one more time that the Extended Version is not the original cut (as already implied by the length of 148 minutes because the original cut had a length of 160 minutes). In other words, some of the scenes are still lost. That being sad, there are still several reasons why the Extended Version tops the Theatrical Version.
For starters, there are the longer pieces of music. Most of the gigs including the final performance of the entire band are quite longer. That always seemed a little odd in the Theatrical Version and it goes without saying that it is just fun to see more of it.
Other than that, there are more plot scenes as well and those really are an improvement. For instance, there is a scene right at the beginning which explains the magical powers of the Blues Mobile. Also, one gets to see Aykroyd quit his job and on his way over there, he steals something from the factory which also becomes an issue in subsequent scenes resp. gives them an advantage in the final chase. In addition to that, the brothers' way to James Brown's church at the beginning of the movie is much longer and it is also nice to see Elwood without glasses during the previously mentioned scene of him quitting his hob.
But even the small additional scenes every now and then improve the characters. For instance, there is additional footage of Jake & Elwood are just standing around dopey or of Jake giving further speeches. Minor characters such as the Corrections Officer played by Frank Oz or Kathleen "Penguin" Freeman have more screentime as well. All in all not exactly elementary in order for the movie to work but those are simply nice scenes that do not harm the pace one bit.
Last but not least, there are a few smaller recuts and additional scenes in the Theatrical Version I would like to mention. Mostly, this is a result of the cuts during the musical numbers. In order to make more sense, alterations were required and the result are a few exclusive scenes in the Theatrical Version which does not make it completely useless after all.
Time index refers to
Theatrical Version Blu-ray / Extended Version Blu-ray
For some reason, the aspect ratio of the Universal logo is different in the Extended Version and obviously from another source. Looks like someone is a stickler for the term restoration.
Theatrical Version 0.2 sec longer
01:41 / 01:41-02:11
Additional exterior and interior shots of the prison. Two guards are on their way to get Jake. In front of his cell, they attempt wake Jake up and the black inmate sleeping in the bed underneath Jake witnesses everyhing. Jake still does not wake up so the guards use their bats on the bars and then carefully on Jake's arm. But none of it helps so one of the guards gets rougher on Jake and one can hear from the off that he hit Jake's head.
Guard 1: "The Assistant Warden wants this one out of the block early. Wants to get it over with fast."
Guard 2: "Okay, let's do it. Psst! Hey. Come on, wake up, it's time."
Guard 1: "Wake up. Let's go, it's time."
05:02 / 05:32-05:40
After the close-up of Jake's fingers, another close-up of the Corrections Officer (Frank Oz) returning Jake's personal belongings to him follows. The susequent shot starts a little earlier as well.
Corrections Officer: "Boots, black. Belt, black."
11:56 / 12:34-12:42
After Jake and Elwood are being asked to sit, the following shot starts earlier: They are perplexed and look around for a spot to sit.
12:50 / 13:36-13:42
Sister Mary Stigmata aka The Penguin (Kathleen Freeman) thinks longer about her future in case the orphanage gets closed: "(I'll be sent to the missions:) Africa, Latin America, Korea...)"
16:10 / 17:02-17:44
Jake and Elwood arrive at the church. They have a little discussion, then they get inside. Members of the community keep showing up and the two of them keep standing near the doors.
Elwood: "All I'm saying is we got to figure out some way to get that money honestly."
Jake: "That could be a problem. It's like the Penguin says. We've got to make that move towards redemption. We got to go to church."
Jake äfft ihn mit hoher Stimme nach: "We've got to make that move towards redemption. We got to go to church. Bullshit!"
Elwood: "Come on."
17:59 / 19:33-19:49
After a shot of Jake and Elwood, a few more dance numbers are parts of Reverend Cleophus James's preaching are missing.
Also, the subsequent shot of James starts a few frames earlier.
18:21 / 20:12-20:15
Another high-angle shot of the dancing community.
Alternate / Additional Footage Theatrical Version
18:22-18:25 / 20:16-20:48
The Theatrical Version here contains a shot of James.
The Extended Version contains a dance number instead.
Extended Version 28.9 sec longer
21:39 bzw 21:42-24:46 / 24:01-24:06 bzw 24:09
The shot of the car ride at night is longer in the Extended. At least for the time being because shorty afterwards, it is also in the Theatrical Version. The shot of the radio is being interrupted for that (which is obviously not the case in the Extended Version).
30:13 / 32:35-33:52
After getting in the alley, only the Extended Version shows Jake and Elwood parking the Blues Mobile. The secluded garage is so narrow that Elwood needs to climb out the window.
This scene is significant because it originates from Dan Aykroyd's original screenplay: As implied by the signs at the driveway, this is where the Blues Mobile gets charged at night which is the explanation for its "supernatural" powers.
76.6 sec (= 1:17 min)
33:53 / 37:32-37:55
When Jake and Elwood get to Elwood's apartment, a few cuts were made. Probably for pace reasons because a part of Jake's comment is audible at the end of the previous scene.
Jake: "What are you doing?"
Elwood: "Making dinner. Want some?"
Jake: "No. Tomorrow we got to get the band back together."
Elwood: "I'm gonna quit work in the morning, first thing."
Jake: "And how are you going to get to work, Mr. Lead Foot, Mr. Hot Redder, Mr. Motor Head? Those cops took your license away."
34:49 / 38:51-38:58
A shot of Elwood at the window is longer plus the following shot starts earlier.
34:54 / 39:03-39:05
Said shot is also a little longer and the following shot mentioned above starts a few frames earlier.
Additional Footage Theatrical Version
35:14-35:15 / 39:25
Slightly longer black screen in the Theatrical Version.
+ 0.5 sec
36:14 / 40:24-40:53
Burton Mercer (John Candy) and the troopers Mount (Steve Williams) and Daniel (Armand Cerami) get upstairs to the boarding house for men where Elwood and Jake live. Being upstairs, they ask the front office manager about Elwood.
Burton on the stairs: "All right, Sam?"
Inside: "Hi, has my friend arrived yet? Failed to report in yesterday."
Manager: "I don't want no trouble."
Mount: "You just tell us where they are and there'll be no trouble."