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Mystery Train (Criterion) (Blu-Ray)

Masatoshi Nagase , Yûki Kudô , Jim Jarmusch    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Frequently Bought Together

Mystery Train (Criterion) (Blu-Ray) + Stranger Than Paradise (The Criterion Collection) + Down By Law (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 116.97


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Every Jim Jarmusch film involves a journey into a foreign culture. Mystery Train, in which three journeys intersect, marks one of his more diverting efforts. In the finest ("Far from Yokohama"), a Japanese couple makes a pilgrimage to Memphis. Playful Mitzuko (Youki Kudoh) worships Elvis Presley, while sad-faced Jun (Masotoshi Nagase) prefers Carl Perkins. They stay at a haunted hotel overseen by a sharp-dressed clerk (R&B wild man Screamin' Jay Hawkins) and a quirky bellboy (Spike Lee's brother, Cinqué) in a broken-down city that recalls the New York of Jarmusch's debut, Permanent Vacation: filled with rust, weeds--and character (Dead Man cinematographer Robby Müller finds the beauty in every blemish). In the following chapters ("The Ghost" and "Lost in Space"), two other foreigners converge at the same locale: Italian widow Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi, wife of Roberto Begnini), who drops by during a layover, and heartbroken Brit Johnny (the Clash's Joe Strummer), who seeks a hideout. If these sections are less engaging, Hawkins and Lee are consistently amusing ("You look like a damn mosquito-legged chimpanzee" the former quips at one point). Other highlights include Tom Noonan as a sleazy hustler, Steve Buscemi as Johnny's straight-arrow brother-in-law, Tom Waits as an unseen disc jockey, and a savory score from sax player John Lurie.

The supplements start with an audio-only Q&A, in which Jarmusch answers 35 questions from fans, including one about Hawkins, whose signature song figures prominently in Stranger Than Paradise, explaining that he cast him, in part, because he saw no profit from the use of "I Put a Spell on You." This essential release concludes with excerpts from a film about the late performer, a fine featurette on the locations, two photo galleries, and essays by critic Dennis Lim and Elvis biographer Peter Guralnik. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Product Description

Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow, and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams--which, in Mystery Train, from Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise, Night on Earth), is Memphis. Made with its director's customary precision and wit, Mystery Train is a triptych of stories that pay playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins, and, of course, the King himself, who presides over the film like a spirit. Mystery Train is one of Jarmusch's very best movies, a boozy and beautiful pilgrimage to an iconic American ghost town and a paean to the music it gave the world.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of a film July 19 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I just had t buy the Criterion version of this Jim Jarmusch classic. I already owned it; but the quality of this release is something else!
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4.0 out of 5 stars My First Jarmusch experience ! April 1 2013
By Pierce
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I saw this movie in a theatre the first time many years ago & it "sorta- stuck- in-my-mind" all these years; I bought a copy for a friend of mine ,I wanted to have my own,but I wanted a bluray version for myself, I loved "Screaming Jay Hawkins" red jacket, the off-beat story telling, the Japanese couple, and now after seeing about 4 other Jarmusch movies, I like this one the best thus far.
It's a movie you can watch again & again and discover little details (anyone else notice the cockroaches crawling on the bedspread of the Italian widow ? Something that I experienced in motels in the States in the 70's and can relate to !)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Film Sept. 16 2012
By Stephen Bieth TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This film makes you feel like your in the American south on a hot summers night. The story focuses on different groups of people going through the same time period with each story finishing with the sound of a gun shot. The last story telling you what happened. The film has a slow pace to it but it's not a slow film. Great cast including Screaming Jay Hawkins and Joe Strummer of the Clash. The film has a great look to it and very off beat sence of humor. If you liked "Down By Law", "Being There" or something like "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" this might be your cup of tea. Oh yea and you also get Tom Waits as the DJ on the radio. You never see him but it's hard to miss that voice.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memphis resurrection Dec 6 2011
By Gary Fuhrman TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jim Jarmusch continues to create his own universe on film, and Mystery Train is an essential part of it -- and this Criterion edition does full justice to it. It's partly an ode to Memphis and its key role in American musical history. Like Night on Earth, it gives us several interconnected stories, but this time the connection is the place rather than the time. Yet like other Jarmusch films, it has an international flavor, thanks mostly to the two young Japanese tourists who arrive on a pilgrimage to the home of Elvis (the girl's favorite) and Carl Perkins (her boyfriend's choice). There's also a character whom everyone calls "Elvis" (for his hairstyle), played by Joe Strummer of the Clash. The choice of musicians as actors is another Jarmusch trademark, and this film also brings us Screamin' Jay Hawkins as night manager in the seedy hotel where all the characters cross paths. (The extras on the Criterion disk tell us quite a bit about Screamin' Jay and how Jarmusch helped to resurrect his career.)

The film's title comes from an Elvis song, and certainly doesn't indicate that it's a "mystery" in the usual Hollywood sense. Yet life itself comes across as a mystery, partly because you're not sure whether to laugh or cry at it all. There's plenty here to laugh at, and even a bit of melodramatic suspense, but mostly this is an appreciation of the human depth behind the superficial glamor of American pop culture. This is much enhanced by Jarmusch's thoughtful answers to questions sent in by fans (provided in lieu of a director's commentary track, which Jarmusch consistently refuses to do because he doesn't like to watch his films after they're made!). Of course the transfer, sound, subtitles etc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Criterion Edition HUGE Improvement over Bare Bones MGM June 11 2010
By Cubist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Mystery Train is a fascinating snapshot of Memphis through the eyes of foreigners and the disenfranchised. The stories in this film run the gamut from romantic to touching to amusing but all with a humanistic streak running through them. Jarmusch would follow this film with Night on Earth - Criterion Collection which would adhere to the same structure but on a much more ambitious level.

In the way of special features, there is a "Q&A with Jim." As he has done for past Criterion editions of his films, Jarmusch answers questions submitted by fans in lieu of an audio commentary. They are by no means restricted to the film but the bulk of them do pertain to it. Jarmusch confirms that Tom Waits' D.J. heard in the film is in fact the character he played in Down by Law - Criterion Collection. He talks about how he worked with the Japanese actors and the origins of their segment title. He also talks about his favourite Elvis era and addresses the barren and bleak look of Memphis in the film.

"I Put a Spell on Me" features excerpts from a 2001 documentary on Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Jarmusch is interviewed and talks about when he first heard Jay's signature song, "I Put a Spell on You," how he used it in Stranger Than Paradise - Criterion Collection and then cast him in Mystery Train. Jay talks about working on the film and shares some amusing anecdotes on this fantastic extra.

"Memphis Tour" revisits many of the locations used in the film. We get a brief history of each location and what happened to it since filming. The restaurant used is the oldest in the city. Unfortunately, the hotel featured so prominently in the film was torn down a year after it was made. This is a fascinating extra that takes a look at how these locales have changed over the years.

"Polaroids" features snapshots taken on location during filming.

Finally, there is a gallery of behind-the-scenes images from a photo book published at the time of the film's release.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool July 15 2013
By Alex Block - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I really like this movie and i feel the product was very satisfying to me because i love criterion thanks again!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun movie May 2 2014
By Kathleen Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I got the movie in a timely fashion. It was in great condition and the movie was as enjoyable as I remember it. The only thing missing was the liner notes.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Early Dose of Jarmusch Nov. 22 2013
By Deanna L. Pierce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I saw this years ago when it was in theaters and I instantly started my life long Jarmusch fandom. The cast is eclectic, the humor is often dry and for me, there are STILL a number of lough-out-loud moments in this film. I was so happy to see it was out on Blu-ray that I had to update my collection with it. I mean with a cast including... Joe Strummer, Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Rick Aviles, Cinqué Lee (brother of Spike), Elizabeth Bracco, Nicoletta Brachi (often seen in her husband Roberto Benigni's movies and along with him in another Jarmusch flick, Down By Law just 3 years earlier also with Waits), and others, it gets an interesting jump start before the first scene (which is pretty quirky-funny from that point on). I love Jarmusch's work and this started it all for me.
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Jim's best Aug. 6 2013
By M. Gibb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
A slow burner for sure but marvellous to look at. Quite the experience just to soak into this film. Top notch transfer and supplements.
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