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The Chicago Traveler

Friday Film: Continental Divide

by User ImageMatt B on December 28th, 2007

John Belushi was well known for his work on Saturday Night Live, National Lampoon's Animal House, and The Blues Brothers. However, he also had a much celebrated love for his hometown Chicago, and many of his sketches and films took place here, including the romantic comedy Continental Divide.

Continental Divide (1981)
Directed by: Michael Apted
Produced by: Robert E. Larson
Steven Spielberg
Starring: John Belushi
Blair Brown
Allen Goorwitz
Carlin Glynn
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
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Belushi, in a much more subdued role than usual, plays Ernie Souchak, a star reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times. While investigating a corrupt city councilman, Souchak is assaulted by a couple of crooked cops. His boss decides to send him out of town for his own safety. Reluctantly, he heads to the Rocky Mountains to do a fluff piece on reclusive Dr. Nell Porter (Blair Brown, nominated for a Golden Globe), who has been researching bald eagles for several years. However, when Souchak arrives at her doorstep, she is hostile and has no desire to let him stay. When he tells her that his guide won't be there for him for a couple weeks, she grudgingly allows him to stick around. Despite their different backgrounds, the two come to appreciate and care for each other over time. But when Souchak returns to Chicago, he can’t seem to forget the girl in the mountains and write his hard-hitting stories again.

There are many scenes featuring Chicago, including shots of the Field Museum of Natural History (next to Lake Michigan), the Drake Hotel, Union Station, and the now demolished Chicago Sun-Times Building on the Chicago River (now the construction site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower).

While this film may not have the cult popularity that some of his other performances have, it certainly holds its own. Continental Divide showed Belushi's versatility, taking him out of the slapstick comedy he was associated with.

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POSTED IN: Entertainment, Filmed in Chicago

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