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The Bad Sleep Well (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Masayuki Mori, Kyôko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Takashi Shimura
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Eijirô Hisaita, Hideo Oguni, Ryûzô 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 (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BR6QCI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,405 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Bad Sleep Well (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


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

So the initial motive of the hero is simple revenge , though his young wife inspires him a deep tenderness .
Hiram Gomez Pardo
It should be noted, by the way, that the selfless and straightforward acting in Kurosawa's films is amongst the best you will ever see.
John F. Isham
The Bad Sleep Well is not Kurosawa's most memorable film, yet it augments many scenes with artistic brilliance.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By A Customer on January 29, 2006
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 (Toshirô Mifune) and Keiko Iwabushi (Kyôko 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 By Hitoshi Noguchi on 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 By Anaguma on October 27, 2004
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 By John F. Isham on March 21, 2004
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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