8.1/10
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42 user 54 critic

The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (original title)
Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 22 January 1963 (USA)
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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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 January 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Bad Sleep Well  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. See more »

Quotes

Administrative Officer Moriyama: [imprisoned inside a locked room] Cut the crap! You've starved me for two whole days!
Koichi Nishi: Would you like to eat?
Administrative Officer Moriyama: Of course!
Koichi Nishi: We haven't got much to offer. You like ham and eggs on toast?
Administrative Officer Moriyama: Anything!
Koichi Nishi: [opening up the locked door and showing him the pan of food] Ham and eggs on toast will run you 15 million.
Administrative Officer Moriyama: 15 million?
Koichi Nishi: Surely you're not shocked! 'Always get a kickback!' That's your policy, isn't it?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Good Dick (2008) 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.


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