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Pop & Hiss goes to the movies: trailer for Beyonce's 'Cadillac Records'

November 5, 2008 | 11:14 am

A long-overdue cinematic account of Chicago's blues label Chess Records will be released in December, and a trailer for the rock 'n' roll drama, "Cadillac Records," has now hit the Web. The film stars Beyoncé as soul singer Etta James, Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess, Mos Def as Chuck Berry and Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters.

The clip below is graced with Beyoncé's take on "At Last," and also offers a glimpse of how the young Rolling Stones will look in the film.


The Times' Patrick Goldstein has written extensively about "Cadillac Records" on his blog The Big Picture. The movie, which was produced by Sofia Sondervan and former Sony BMG chairman Andy Lack, is one of two films about Chess Records making the rounds this year. The other, "Who Do You Love," was screened at the Toronto Film Festival

Goldstein talked to Marshall Chess, the son of Leonard, and both movies seem to take plenty of creative liberties. "Cadillac Records," for instance, completely cuts Leonard's brother Phil out of the movie. Goldstein quoted Marshall as saying, "It's a horrible distortion of history. They started the company together. My Uncle Phil was there every day. He recorded a lot of the best music we did. It wouldn't have happened without him and it's a real insult to our family. When I asked the producers, they simply said his character didn't work [in the script], so they cut him out."

But at least from the above trailer, it seems to capture plenty of questionable music biz practices. There are references to payola, and the early practice of giving musicians a car rather than a royalty check.

In addition to Beyoncé, a soundtrack to be released on Dec. 2 will feature Mos Def, Solange Knowles and Raphael Saadiq, among others. It will be released as a single disc version, as well as a two-disc deluxe set with added catalog cuts, such as Elvis Presley's take on Little Walter's "My Babe," a version of which is heard in the trailer.

Special thanks to The Playlist for posting the trailer.

-- Todd Martens

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