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Mystery Train (1989)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Drama  -  7 November 1989 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 14,435 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 55 critic

Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley.

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Title: Mystery Train (1989)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Masatoshi Nagase ...
Jun (segment "Far From Yokohama")
...
Mitsuko (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Screamin' Jay Hawkins ...
Night Clerk (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Cinqué Lee ...
Bellboy (segment "Far From Yokohama")
...
Man in Station (segment "Far From Yokohama")
...
Sun Studio Guide (segment "Far From Yokohama")
William Hoch ...
Tourist Family (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Pat Hoch ...
Tourist Family (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Joshua Elvis Hoch ...
Tourist Family (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Reginald Freeman ...
Conductor (segment "Far From Yokohama")
Beverly Prye ...
Streetwalker (segment "Far From Yokohama")
...
Luisa (segment "A Ghost")
...
Dee Dee - Charlie's Sister (segment "A Ghost")
...
Newsvendor (segment "A Ghost")
...
Man in Arcade Diner (segment "A Ghost")
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Storyline

A Japanese couple obsessed with 1950s America goes to Memphis because the male half of the couple emulates Carl Perkins. Chance encounters link three different stories in the city, with the common thread being the seedy hotel where they are all staying. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

7 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

One Night in Memphis  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$367,879 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film contains some of the last known footage of Stax Records. See more »

Goofs

Where Will parks his truck relative to Earl's Cadillac changes from when he enters the bar to when he leaves. See more »

Quotes

Newsvendor: What can I do you for?
Luisa: I would like to buy this newspaper.
Newsvendor: Well now, you should buy this one here as well. The Tri-State Defender.
Luisa: No, thank you. I think I need only this one.
Newsvendor: Well, you know, you only need one leg to get around on if that's all you got. But it sure helps having two, now, doesn't it?
Luisa: Oh, well, uh, yes. This one too.
Newsvendor: How about some magazines?
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Sara See more »

Connections

References Repo Man (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Mystery Train
Performed by Elvis Presley
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Elvis Lives!
4 November 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

'Mystery Train' is probably the most entertaining, interesting and understated of indie-fave Jim Jarmusch's early work (i haven't seen 'Coffee and Cigarettes' yet). The films portrayal of Elvis' birthplace of Memphis, possibly one of the most featureless, gritty and desolate representations of urban America ever committed to film, is a deceptively clever and substantial take on American subcultures.

Without doubt, it is the first of the films three vignettes that makes the film stand out a little more than Jarmusch's other quirky offerings. Two Japanese tourists besotted with the King's legacy and 1950's American retro-culture in general, decide to visit Memphis, where they experience the superficiality his iconic status has been reduced to. The over-excitable and optimistic teenage girl, along with her more austere, cooler-than-cool boyfriend, are equally unimpressed with what the town has to offer. It's quite impressive that 15 years after its release, Jarmusch's depiction of alternative culture manages to capture the pretentious but proudly on-the-edges attitudes probably more apparent in today's retro-obsessed climate than ever before.

Jarmusch's signature eclectic cast is another reason for repeated viewing, the subtleties of, in particular, Steve Buscemi's stuttering and nervous performance, are worth looking out for. As is the linking theme of Elvis' ghost in all three vignettes, a brilliant example of how to take a simple theme, and continually parodize its implications until its every mention leads to some sort of in-joke. The cool, laid-back pace of the film allows the humour to hit you unexpectedly, and the timing is often genius. Very, very, very watchable.


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