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Mystery Train (1990)

Masatoshi Nagase , Yki Kud , Jim Jarmusch  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Price: $17.74
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Mystery Train + Down by Law (The Criterion Collection) + Stranger Than Paradise (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Masatoshi Nagase, Yki Kud, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Cinqu Lee, Rufus Thomas
  • Directors: Jim Jarmusch
  • Writers: Jim Jarmusch
  • Producers: Demetra J. MacBride, Hideaki Suda, Jim Stark, Kunijiro Hirata, Rudd Simmons
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792844033
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,825 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mystery Train" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

Editorial Reviews

After the critical triumphs of Stranger Than Paradise and Down by Law, director Jim Jarmusch was called 'the most arresting filmmaker to surface in the American cinema by The New York Times. Mystery Train is a 'smart and curiously affecting (The Nation) comedy, that is funny and thoroughly satisfying (The New York Times)! Named after an Elvis Presleyhit, Mystery Train interweaves three engrossing stories, all centering around the Presley legend and his beloved hometown of Memphis. As the characters paths collidethrough laughter, fear and fateyou can practically feel the presence of the King himself in every scene and his legacy impressed on a generation of equally lost souls in 'this wry, brilliantly structured comedy (Boxoffice).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a fix for the subtitle problem! April 22, 2000
By csk
I recently got this DVD and was dismayed to find that the English subtitles were missing (as the last reviewer pointed out.) I just found a fix that may work for some people. The "Subtitles" screen lists only French and Spanish as choices. But the remote for my Toshiba 3109 player has a "Subtitles" button that can be used while the movie is playing. With "Mystery Train" this button brings up four choices: "1 Fre", "2 Spa", "3 Fre" and "4 Spa". The first two will bring up French or Spanish subtitles as expected. But choosing either "3 Fre" or "4 Spa" will cause English subtitles to appear for the Japanese portions of the film! So the disc is indeed bungled, but this workaround made it watchable for me. And yes, it's a great movie!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memphis Blues January 30, 2006
By Bomojaz
A quirky minimalist movie by Jim Jarmusch that is well thought out and cleverly devised that will leave viewers either fascinated or cold. It takes place during a single night in Memphis, and revolves around three unconnected storylines: a Japanese couple on a "pilgrimage" to Elvis shrines, an Italian woman whose flight back to Rome has been delayed, and a trio of young sleazes who get drunk and shoot a liquor store owner. They all spend the night at a fleabag hotel (The Arcade, run by Screamin' Jay Hawkins!). Jarmusch's use of flashback, a la RASHOMON, is clever and inspired. But Jarmush also likes to use long takes of scenes in which virtually nothing happens, which can make the movie feel long and ponderous. It's still the best of his movies, though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky but effective October 14, 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
What "Mystery Train" gives us a dandy, light slice of indie noir. Here, three tales in a broken-down hotel. One about an Italian widow. Second, about a corrupt British Elvis impersonator and his American girlfriend. And lastly, about two Japanese tourists.
What makes "Mystery Train" so interesting and involving is the way the characters are portrayed and how they react to certain things. Example: The Italian widow speaking to the ghost of Elvis.
But it's Jarmusch's directing that makes this quirky, funny, and touching, which should have won him an Oscar for "Best Independent Film of the Year." Sumptuous, funny, touching, and offbeat, it's a delight from start to finish.
Rated R for language and some nudity.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic and Funny... April 27, 2002
By Bereft
Jim Jarmusch hit the nail on the head with this film. I happened to come across it years ago while browsing in a video store. I was so captivated by it, I went out and rented another VCR so I could dub the copy of it on to a VHS tape. Perhaps that will shed some light on how good this movie is. Perhaps.
I now have it on DVD and, since purchasing it, have watched it repeatedly. This movie sucks you in and never lets you go from the very opening shot. The cinematography, the dialogue, the direction...all are simply amazing. The humor's a level of humor that is never loud or brash or "in your face." It's a witty sense of humor and it fits perfectly.
Another thing that bears mentioning is the cast. The actors are amazing. Screamin' Jay, Joe Strummer, et al. All are just incredible.
Definitely check this movie out. It has a very "Night on Earth" feel to it, if you've seen that movie. Basically four different story-lines, all inter-woven and inter-related, that sort of all come together in the end. Things happen from one point of you (i.e., the Japanese tourists hearing the gun shot while in the hotel room), then later you see what has happened from the other individual's point of view (i.e. the gun shot "victim"). Maybe that's done nothing but confused you, but take my word (for what it's worth) that it all comes together perfectly.
I'm certain you will enjoy this one. Also, Tom Waits fans take'll get to hear him in this flick. As an aside, I mentioned "Night on Earth"....if you like Tom Waits, get that movie as well.
Enjoy kiddies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FAVORITE JIM JARMUSCH FILM September 28, 2005
How my ratings work:
5 - I really liked/loved it
4 - I liked it
3 - Could've been better/worth a look
2 - Just didn't live up to the potential
1 - Simply awful

This is the second Jim Jarmusch film I've seen and is probably my favorite of his movies. The stories are so orginal and flat out hilarious, all three taking place in Memphis, Tennesee and involving Elvis Presley in some way. The best story is the first, Far From Yokohama, involving the young Japanese couple (Masatoshi Nagasai & Yuki Kudoh) visiting Memphis for the first time. Though the other two stories, A Ghost and Lost In Space are also funny. Music legend Screamin' Jay Hawkins is terrific as the night manager of a run down hotel. Highly recomended for any movie fan or Jarmusch fan who hasn't seen this movie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love the Movie, Hate the DVD September 30, 2001
By A Customer
Yes, there are english subtitles on the 3rd and 4th subtitle channels. BUT...and here's the rub. I'm pretty sure, the subtitles are not accurate and the subtlety of Jarmusch's dialogue is ruined. Some of the humour is not there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The roads to a town usually bring people home or people away from home. The road in Mystery Train is a railroad where the Amtrak delivers people through a city where some get off. People arriving to the town come there for different reasons and they leave for different reasons. Mystery Train is a study of people in the same place at the same time.

Memphis, Tennessee, is the destination for a young Japanese couple that arrives to see Graceland and other tourist attractions of the 1950s American music. Disoriented and detached from the American society, Jun (Masatoshi Nagase) and Mitsuko (Youki Kudoh) experience a drastic culture clash, as they compare their home Yokohama with Memphis. The space between them and Memphis continues to grow, as they speak broken English muddled by their Japanese accents. Nonetheless, Jun and Mitsuko find a dirty and shabby hotel where they decide to spend the night.

Stuck for a night in Memphis the audience gets to follow the Italian woman Luisa (Nicoletta Braschi) who attempts to find a way to pass time while wandering around in the town. People try to take advantage of her innocence while preying on her kindness and the dollar bills in her purse. In order to escape a possible dangerous situation she arrives in the same shabby hotel where the young Japanese couple is spending the night.

The third story that the audience gets to follow is about Johnny (Joe Strummer) who recently has lost his job and his wife. In drunkenness Johnny escapes the reality of Memphis, as the pain that he suffers is all too real while hiding a gun tucked away in his belt. An acquaintance calls his friend Will (Rick Aviles) who calls his brother-in-law Charlie (Steve Buscemi), as they are worried about him being drunk and having a gun.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Really? Pick up the pace.
Great premise, poorly executed. Fell asleep twice.
Published 1 month ago by Robert Jackson
1.0 out of 5 stars love this movie so was excited to own it but ...
love this movie so was excited to own it but I put it on and somehow the subtitles are missing. ?!
Published 3 months ago by Liza deProphetis
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie in a very innocent offhand sort of way
A delightful trudge through Memphis with a couple of jaded Japanese tourists. The fact that they speak practically no English just adds to the charm and surrealism. Read more
Published 4 months ago by K. J. SMITH
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie
Being from Memphis it was interesting to see the Arcade restaurant as it used to be and also the Arcade Hotel which has since been torn down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by James M Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Jarmusch
It had been so long since I had seen it, I decided to buy another copy and look again. My favorite portrayal is Screamin' Jay Hawkins's absolutely simian glances toward his bell... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Charles R. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome movie
great movie, good rock & roll actors, interesting plots, the "how did I get here?" crazy moments and, of course, the kingu.
Published 11 months ago by Tish Herrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Love This Movie
This movie along with Night on Earth are my favorite Jim Jarmusch movies. I get a real kick out of the interactions between Screaming Jay and Cinque Lee.
Published 13 months ago by JJF
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the source!
Mystery Train is probably one of Jarmusch's least well known films, but I would estimate that it is his most influential, primarily for its apparent influence on Tarantino. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Sertorius
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Jarmusch film
What a very strange but intriguing movie experience. If you like any of Jim Jarmusch's films than you will definitely like this film, otherwise, you might be in for a movie that... Read more
Published 20 months ago by pianoguy87
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie buff's favorite of all time
I go to two or three movies a week and have for many years. Netflix and other such sources also keep my movie obsession fed. This is my all time favorite movie. Read more
Published on January 21, 2012 by AKN
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