• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:March 8, 2018

Mystery Train

Director Jim Jarmusch saluted Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in Stranger Than Paradise (1984); here, the artist is given a key part as the hotel night clerk who holds the three stories of the film together. He makes a very amusing team with Cinque Lee as the bellboy. The movie first depicts two Japanese tourists who arrive in Memphis; then, an Italian widow who sees the ghost of Elvis Presley in a hotel room; and lastly, three losers who rob a liquor store. Colorful, funny and well-structured, the film is just as charming as the mythology surrounding Elvis and Memphis; it was shot there and the carefully chosen oldies on the soundtrack add to the haunting atmosphere.

1989-U.S. 113 min. Color. Produced byĀ Jim Stark. Written and directed byĀ Jim Jarmusch. Cast: Masatoshi Nagase (Jun), Youki Kudoh (Mitsuko), Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Night Clerk), Cinque Lee, Nicoletta Braschi, Elizabeth Bracco… Joe Strummer, Steve Buscemi. Voice of Tom Waits.

Last word:Ā  ā€œAs a writer I wanted to amuse myself with something that wasnā€™t linear for a change. Why, Iā€™m not sure. It also happened because I had a number of actors I wanted to make characters for and I was having trouble devising a way to fit them into one film. So it occurred to me to make a film that was devised like a sketch film but was in fact one whole film. But you canā€™t take one story out because it just wouldnā€™t make sense, so somehow this form just presented itself to me by accident. I liked the idea and just kept following the train of thought and invented little connections between them.ā€ (Jarmusch, interview by Ian Johnston)



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