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Mystery Train (1989)

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



1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Screamin' Jay Hawkins ...
William Hoch ...
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")


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


Comedy | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

One Night in Memphis  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$2,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The hotel where the three stories converge is no longer standing, so many fans of the movie have made pilgrimages to the site only to find that it no longer exists. It can, however, be seen in the background of the scene in Great Balls of Fire! (1989), in the scene where Alec Baldwin is preaching from his broken-down car. See more »


When the Japanese couple get off the train at Memphis, they sit in the waiting room and the train times board says "Illinois Central". Surely a mistake? See more »


Jun: [after making love] Mitzuko... do women always worry about their hairstyle?
Mitzuko: [angrily] What are you talking about? In all the times we've made love - and this is number 11 - I've never once thought about my hairstyle!
Jun: Eleven?
Mitzuko: And if that's what you're thinking, try shaving first next time.
Jun: [touching his face] But I just shaved two days ago.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For Sara See more »


References Lost in Space (1965) See more »


Blue Moon
Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
Performed by Elvis Presley
See more »

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User Reviews

Memphis Soul Stew
8 May 2000 | by See all my reviews

Jim Jarmusch's follow-up to 1986's "Down By Law" is an engrossing trio of stories revolving around one night in a run-down Memphis hotel. Continuing his tradition of casting musicians as actors, he enlists Joe Strummer as a British Elvis and the late Screamin' Jay Hawkins as the hotel night clerk. R&B great Rufus Thomas appears in the train station, and Tom Waits is the voice of the radio DJ. John Lurie provides the score, along with a fabulous soundtrack of classic Memphis music (from Elvis Presley to the Bar-Kays). The stories are intertwined, with certain events being shown from the perspective of each of the three sets of characters. The town has fallen a bit since its heyday as a musical hotbed, but the spirits of its past can be sensed in the delapidated buildings and landscapes, all lovingly embraced by Jarmusch's lens. All of the night shots were actually filmed at night, and some scenes are subtitled in Japanese and Italian. As is typical with Jarmusch's work, the action unfolds at a leisurely pace, and not without some humor. The film's juxtaposing of cultures is a popular theme with the director, and one he would use again in his next anthology piece, "Night On Earth."

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