7.6/10
25,759
63 user 61 critic

Mystery Train (1989)

Trailer
1:12 | Trailer
Three stories are connected by a Memphis hotel and the spirit of Elvis Presley.

Director:

Jim Jarmusch

Writer:

Jim Jarmusch
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Masatoshi Nagase ... Jun (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Yûki Kudô ... Mitzuko (segment "Far from Yokohama") (as Youki Kudoh)
Screamin' Jay Hawkins Screamin' Jay Hawkins ... Night Clerk (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Cinqué Lee ... Bellboy (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Rufus Thomas ... Man in Station (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Jodie Markell ... Sun Studio Guide (segment "Far from Yokohama")
William Hoch William Hoch ... Tourist Family (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Pat Hoch Pat Hoch ... Tourist Family (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Joshua Elvis Hoch Joshua Elvis Hoch ... Tourist Family (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Reginald Freeman Reginald Freeman ... Conductor (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Beverly Prye Beverly Prye ... Streetwalker (segment "Far from Yokohama")
Nicoletta Braschi ... Luisa (segment "A Ghost")
Elizabeth Bracco ... Dee Dee (segment "A Ghost")
Sy Richardson ... Newsvendor (segment "A Ghost")
Tom Noonan ... Man in Diner (segment "A Ghost")
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Storyline

Over the course of a single night in pale Memphis--the home of Sam Phillips' legendary Sun Studio--a vivid triptych of romantic Rock n' Roll pilgrimage; sad nostalgia; emotional Americana, and forgotten, decrepit places unfolds. Pivoting around the low-rent and almost dilapidated Arcade Hotel, the strange stories of four visitors unwittingly intertwine, as the aloof couple of Japanese teenagers--Mitsuko, who yearns to visit Graceland, and Jun, a sad-faced die-hard fan of Carl Perkins--arrive in the Tennessee ghost town, in "Far from Yokohama". Likewise, the recently widowed Italian, Luisa, who's come to town from Rome to take her deceased husband's body back to Italy, winds up in the same hotel, sharing a room with the garrulous Dee-Dee, in "Ghost". Then, elsewhere in the city during the same endless night, the neighbourhood's barber, Charlie, reluctantly goes on a boozy binge with the unemployed British immigrant, Johnny, and, eventually, they both end up in the Arcade, in "Lost in ... Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The book Luisa is reading when she is approached by the man with a story about Elvis' ghost is "Orlando Furioso" (The Frenzy of Orlando), an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto. See more »

Goofs

After Charlie drops the liquor bottle, the position of the glass fragments changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mitzuko: It's been such a long time. It seems like we've been on this train forever. Hey!
Jun: Huh?
Mitzuko: How much longer till Memphis?
Jun: Two more days.
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Crazy Credits

For Sara See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fargo (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Domino
Written by Roy Orbison and Norman Petty
Performed by Roy Orbison
See more »

User Reviews

 
Elvis Lives!
4 November 2004 | by mickosaerSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

English | Japanese | Italian

Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

One Night in Memphis See more »

Filming Locations:

Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,541,218

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,544,973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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