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The Bad Sleep Well (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Toshir˘ Mifune , Masayuki Mori , Akira Kurosawa  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshir˘ Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Ky˘ko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Takashi Shimura
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Eijir˘ Hisaita, Hideo Oguni, Ryűz˘ Kikushima, Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 135 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BR6QCI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,302 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bad Sleep Well (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Toshiro Mifune. His father's mysterious death on the job prompts a man to seek revenge against the powerful construction company that employed him. In Japanese with english subtitles. 1960/b&w/151 min/NR/widescreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deceit and betrayal in the world of the salaryman October 31, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"The Bad Sleep Well" is a great movie. Imagine taking the major characters of "Hamlet," and casting them in a new plot. Revenge for the death of a father is still the issue, but with very different methods. The world of the salaryman is dark and cold, and only a dark and cold man can succeed. I am reminded of Nietzsche: "Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."
This may be one of Kurosawa's best films. The mood is perfect. The scenes are perfect. Mifune is perfect. He wears a suit with the same danger as he wears his Kimono. His briefcase is no less deadly than his sword.
As a Kurosawa trademark, the ending is an exclamation point rather than a period. All the wrong people are dead, and all the wrong people walk away clean. This movie is not pleasant. It is, however, very good.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Japanese artist, director, and writer Akira Kurosawa is undoubtedly one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. Tour de forces such as Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954), and Red Beard (1965) on his repertoire have allowed him to gain a great number of dedicated viewers that still are mesmerized by his visual artistry. His work often finds itself being a source for other filmmakers from almost all the continents of the world. What Kurosawa has in common with these contemporary filmmakers is that he also frequently incorporated masterpieces into his work. On several occasions, he employed the works of William Shakespeare, but he also drew much from his own creative spirit. One of these, The Bad Sleep Well (1960), driven by his own inspiration to criticize the Japanese post-war corruption and hierarchical abuse shows his strong influence of Hamlet. Fortunately, Kurosawa could direct his own story, free of outside influences, as his own production company paid for the party.

The Japanese opening credits with white symbols on black background together with the opening score set a dark and frustrating tone to the film. At first, the hostile and angry mood in the opening score is a little perplexing. However, as the film unfolds, it makes much more sense. The introduction of the story takes place at the wedding party for two of the main characters Koichi Nishi (Toshir˘ Mifune) and Keiko Iwabushi (Ky˘ko Kagawa). It turns out that the press has sniffed a story within the wedding, but these press members are far more respectful than what La Dolce Vita (1960) portrayed through its celebrity chasing paparazzi.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? See It! June 25, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
There really were cover-up suicides by government officials at the time this movie was made. So this movie is also a sort of social commentary; the only such movie by Kurosawa. Yet, it is both art and entertainment at its best. A rare mix.
Mifune does not get good reviews in modern outfits. He does not look as good as when he is in a kimono. But when he appears out of the smoke in a suicide scene on top of a vulcano, you might think he was the inspiration for Darth Vader. This complex hero, motivated by vengence but softened by love, is a mix of good and evil in a transition between boy and man. Greek myths were never made better.
Too bad the title, which is so catchy, poetic and ironic in Japanese, does not translate very well. Don't let that be a turn-off. This movie will be engraved in your memory for the rest of your life.
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good flick; Meh Ah Laser Disc Co. October 27, 2004
By Anaguma
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I purchased this because I heard the Criterion was releasing an unannounced version. The Chinese Mei Ah version has been out for a while and could be ordered well before this out of Hong Kong, so I was surprised when I opened the box and found the Mei Ah version.

If you've ever mistakenly purchased a Mei Ah Japanese DVD, you'll know what I'm saying. These are produced for a Chinese market. A Chinese person translates the Japanese into Chinese. To broaden the market and perhaps sell to English speakers in Hong Kong, a Chinese person then translates the Chinese into English, or what's supposed to pass as English, but at times is closer to a pidgen language.

I've already suffered through these translations with Mei Ah once and I'm returning this unadvertised version unopened and canceling my Dodes Kaden order (I already have that on Mei Ah, also, and though I enjoy this movie I've never made it through once with the DVD and watch my old VHS instead.)

Short story: if you don't need the subtitles, this version will work. It may even work when you turn the Chinese subtitles on if you can read Chinese. But if you're an English speaker, you can laugh at the translations.

Shame on Amazon for hoisting this over on us by not stating on the sales page that this is a Mei Ah import!!

Movie: 5 stars from watching the VHS. DVD: 0 stars.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This film is really unique (even for Kurosawa) in that it captures all of the mystery, suspense, and angst of a noir while maintaining the very same majestic gravitas as *Seven Samurai*, *Throne of Blood*, *Ran* or any of Kurosawa's other great medieval epics.

Indeed much of Kurosawa's best work carries a highly distinctive and supremely confident muscular swagger which can be found here in the stirring (and rather addictive) musical motif, the altogether patient and very deliberate pacing, and the seemingly effortless transitions he makes between the tragic and the comic.

*The Bad Sleep Well* often gets described as a variation on *Hamlet*. The key word here is "variation" (rather than "version" or "adaptation"), for while Kurosawa might have begun with Shakespeare, the final products really don't turn out to be in any sense all that similar. There is no Gertrude, no Rozencrantz and Guildenstern, let alone any gravediggers (just to name a few), and there is very little structural resemblance between the stories (inasmuch as *Hamlet* can be said to have any sort of structure). For example, the finale doesn't conclude with virtually *everybody* getting killed--after all, in Kurosawa's framework the bad sleep well (and consequently live happily ever after). Also, Nishi's character is far less ambiguous than Hamlet's; while he may at certain junctures fail to take his plan for revenge the entire way, he doesn't come close to sharing the overall indecision and confusion of Hamlet. But these sorts of differences actually make the complex interrelationship between the two works all the more intriguing and thought-provoking.

The film's story may eventually become "clear as a bell," but it certainly does not start out that way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Excellent movie with great performance.
Published 2 days ago by Cristobal R. Garcia
1.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Kurosawa's worst film
I don’t much write reviews here anymore, but thought it might benefit one or two people considering watching this film to know it will be a complete waste of their time. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Daiho
3.0 out of 5 stars Kurosawa’s Depiction of a Japanese “Iron Triangle”
The Iron Triangle is a label often applied to inherently corrupt (by the standards of most giajin) and inclusive business relationships consisting of government ministry... Read more
Published 8 months ago by William F. Flanigan Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Kurasawa
This is one of the best of Kurasawa's second level films. Not up to Hign and Low, but above Dursu Usala.
Published 16 months ago by Stephen J. Teller
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleeping with Kurosawa
It's Kurosawa. What else can we say? It's Criterion - guaranteed quality. Good deal, good film, good company. Buy it.
Published 21 months ago by I Got Popcorn
5.0 out of 5 stars (Was) My Favorite Non-Samurai Kurosawa! (until I saw Ikiru)
I don't understand how this film could receive a poor review! The film is very loosely based on Hamlet, the main similarities revolve around the revenge and corruption themes. Read more
Published on December 15, 2010 by Christopher Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Scruffy Mifune
Kurosawa's early movies offer a fascinating look into post-WWII Japan. Watch for remaining hints of the US occupation. Marvel at how far Japan has come in just over 50 years. Read more
Published on November 16, 2009 by Toragaiko
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Akira Kurosawa's 1960 black and white film, The Bad Sleep Well (Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru), is often compared to William Shakespeare's Hamlet, but it's an inapt comparison for,... Read more
Published on September 18, 2008 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bad Sleep Well
Based on a story by Ed McBain, this modern-day variation on "Hamlet" is a tense, complex psychological drama, with star Mifune (who was Kurosawa's charismatic, recurring leading... Read more
Published on June 28, 2007 by John Farr
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Hamlet Adaptation
After viewing Ran my initial reaction was simple awe. I had never before seen such a stunning epic, and never had the story of King Lear been adapted so poetically and viscerally. Read more
Published on April 21, 2007 by Rob Larmer
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