Mystery Train (Criterion Collection)

Rating 4.4
10 ratings
Movie on IMDb
18 copies available
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Item:  CRRN 1900D
Also released as:
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: R
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 50 minutes
  • Video: Color
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1989
  • Label: Criterion
  • Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
  • Note: Q&a with jarmusch in which he responds to questions sent in by fans
    • Excerpts from the 2001 documentary screamin' jay hawkins: i put a spell on me
    • Original documentary on the film's locations and the rich social and musical history of Memphis
    • On-set photos by Masayoshi Sukita and behind-the-scenes photos
    • Plus: a booklet featuring essays by writers Dennis Lim and Peter Guralnick
  • Special Edition
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.77
  • Audio:
    • English, Japanese
    • Subtitles - English

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , , &
Performer: , , , , , , , &
Directed by

Entertainment Reviews:

Sight and Sound - 12/01/1989
"...Evocatively photographed...touched with comic inspiration..."
New York Times - 09/29/1989
"...Blissful....[Jarmusch is especially] good with actors. The MYSTERY TRAIN performers fly..."
Film Comment - 07/01/1989
"...[The film] lingers on in the memory....Jarmusch's conscious, Downtown deadpan style belies a wonderful romantic spirit. He has a sense of time -- of the moment, and of time passing -- that is heartbreaking..."
Los Angeles Times - 12/15/1989
"...It's a jewel-like, minimalist film about a group of crisscrossing wanderers and outlaws on one lyrically strange day and night in Memphis -- where haphazard-seeming events slowly merge into entrancingly complex figures and patterns..."
A.V. Club - 06/23/2010
"Working with German cinematographer Robby Muller, Jarmusch shoots MYSTERY TRAIN with a cool reserve and an outsider's eye for overlooked detail..."

Product Description:

Jim Jarmusch broadens his scope with this episodic tale of a night in the life of several Memphis, Tennessee, inhabitants who unknowingly find themselves lodging at the same hotel. The first episode, "Far from Yokohama," is about two Japanese teenagers (Youki Kudoh and Masatoshe Nagase) on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of rock and roll, Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins got their start. In the second story, "A Ghost," two strangers meet and become friends. One is an Italian tourist, Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi), who is on the way back to Rome in order to bury her husband; the other, Dee Dee (Elizabeth Bracco), has just dumped her British boyfriend, Johnny (Joe Strummer). During the middle of the night, Luisa is visited by the ghost of Elvis. "Lost in Space," the final segment, brings all the characters together briefly, as Johnny goes on a violent drinking spree with Dee Dee's brother (Steve Buscemi) and another friend (Rick Aviles). Throughout all of this, the hotel's night clerk (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and bellboy (Cinque Lee) listen to the local radio and engage in aimless conversation. Jarmusch once again uses his distinct sense of humor to dispel cultural myths--this time it's the legend of Memphis--by placing an eclectic group of tourists into an unquestionably American environment.

Plot Synopsis:

Jim Jarmusch broadens his scope with this episodic tale of a night in the life of several Memphis, Tennessee, inhabitants who unknowingly find themselves lodging at the same hotel. The first episode, "Far from Yokohama," is about two Japanese teenagers (Youki Kudoh and Masatoshe Nagase) on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of rock and roll, Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins got their start. In the second story, "A Ghost," two strangers meet and become friends. One is an Italian tourist, Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi), who is on the way back to Rome in order to bury her husband; the other, Dee Dee (Elizabeth Bracco), has just dumped her British boyfriend, Johnny (Joe Strummer). During the middle of the night, Luisa is visited by the ghost of Elvis. "Lost in Space," the final segment, brings all the characters together briefly, as Johnny goes on a violent drinking spree with Dee Dee's brother (Steve Buscemi) and another friend (Rick Aviles). Throughout all of this, the hotel's night clerk (Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and bellboy (Cinque Lee) listen to the local radio and engage in aimless conversation. Jarmusch once again uses his distinct sense of humor to dispel cultural myths--this time it's the legend of Memphis--by placing an eclectic group of tourists into an unquestionably American environment.

Plot Keywords:

Cult Film | Essential Cinema | Independent | Mishaps | Recommended | Rock And Roll | Short Stories | Suspense | Theatrical Release | Thriller

Production Notes:

  • Released theatrically in New York City November 17, 1989.
  • The movie was shot in Memphis, Tennessee, beginning in August 1988.
  • MYSTERY TRAIN was the first American production to be completely financed by the Japanese electronic firm JVC.
  • The film is named after Elvis Presley's Sun Records single "Mystery Train," which is also featured on the soundtrack.
  • MYSTERY TRAIN was director Jim Jarmusch's first color film since his debut, 1982's PERMANENT VACATION.
  • The film was screened at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, Midnight Sun Film Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Toronto Festival of Festivals, New York Film Festival, and London Film Festival.
  • Singer-songwriter Tom Waits, who plays the DJ in MYSTERY TRAIN, was also featured in Jarmusch's DOWN BY LAW.
  • Set decorator Dianna Freas also did the paintings for the hotel rooms.
  • Will Robinson, the Rick Aviles character in the "Lost in Space" episode, was also the name of the Billy Mumy character on the TV series Lost in Space.
  • Estimated budget: $3 million.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

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Product Info:

  • UPC: 715515058711
  • Shipping Weight: 0.28/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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