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The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
"Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 5,336 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 52 critic

A vengeful young man marries the daughter of a corrupt industrialist in order to seek justice for his father's suicide.

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Title: The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kôichi Nishi
...
Public Corporation Vice President Iwabuchi
Kyôko Kagawa ...
Yoshiko Nishi
Tatsuya Mihashi ...
Tatsuo Iwabuchi
...
Kô Nishimura ...
Contract Officer Shirai
Takeshi Katô ...
Itakura
Kamatari Fujiwara ...
Assistant-to-the-Chief Wada
...
Public Prosecutor Nonaka
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Prosecutor Okakura
Kôji Mitsui ...
Reporter A
Ken Mitsuda ...
Public Corporation President Arimura
Nobuo Nakamura ...
Legal Adviser
Susumu Fujita ...
Detective
Kôji Nanbara ...
Prosecutor Horiuchi
Edit

Storyline

In Kurosawa's HAMLET-like story of corporate scandal in post-war Japan, a young man attempts to use his position at the heart of a corrupt company to expose the men responsible for his father's death. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 January 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first co-production between Kurosawa's newly-formed company Kurosawa Production and Toho. See more »

Quotes

Contract Officer Shirai: I met the young lady twice while plannung the wedding. She's a genuinely sweet person. When I think of her agony, I wish a peaceful resolution were possible.
Itakura: Unfortunately there just isn't any way. That man's evil! If we hesitate, we're finished.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kurosawa: The Last Emperor (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March
(uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the presentation of the wedding cake
See more »

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User Reviews

Something's Rotten in the State of Japan
17 September 2002 | by (Falls Church, Virginia) – See all my reviews

Akira Kurosawa's "The Bad Sleep Well" is too dense and frankly too slow a film to qualify as a thriller in the usual sense. Although the elements are there - intrigue, double crosses, revenge, and crimes both naked and invisible - the pacing is too deliberate and there is little real suspense.

Yes, it's "Hamlet," though in a subtle, understated, Japanese way. Some of the characters are left out, but you'll eventually spot the Prince, Horatio, Ophelia, and Claudius. However, unlike his "Macbeth" ("Throne of Blood"), this is only a partial transposition and Kurosawa wisely does not carry the parallels too far.

Although it takes patience, the picture has its rewards. The performances are good, especially Masayuki Mori as the reptilian manipulator Iwabuchi, Kamatari Fujiwara as the hapless accountant Wada, and, as always, Takashi Shimura as master bureaucrat Moriyama. The sharp black-and-white cinematography gives the film a photo-journal aura of authenticity. And Masaru Sato's wonderful opening theme, heavy with menace and unease, certainly sets an appropriate tone.

Toshiro Mifune as Nishi/Hamlet is unusually restrained here, his normal fire largely internalized. He's adequate, but this casting against type doesn't really suit him.

"The Bad Sleep Well" is Kurosawa's attack on Japan's post-war business corruption that apparently was endemic by 1960 and perhaps still is today. His critique is harsh and unsparing, though one can't help but get the feeling that he's shooting at fish in a barrel.

Beyond the corruption of the corporate scandal, which the film literally headlines, is a strong sense of inner decay. Nearly everyone, regardless of their position, is uncomfortable. Even Iwabuchi, for all his power, must answer awkwardly to greater, unseen forces. Only the jackal-journalists who cover the opening wedding banquet seem immune to the pervasive uneasiness.

Yet all, save Nishi, are prepared to accept this state of affairs in return for their security. Ironically, Nishi himself seems most comfortable in an old air raid shelter in the ruins of a munitions plant, his own "castle", as it were, where he fights for honor as he understands it.

Recommended for Kurosawa fans and anyone interested in Japanese psyche, culture, or style. Those expecting a slam-bang 1940s Warner Brothers treatment will be extremely disappointed and probably won't last an hour.


33 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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