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The Bad Sleep Well  [DVD]
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THE BAD SLEEP WELL
A film by Akira Kurosawa
Koichi Nishi (Toshiro Mifune) is a grieving son seeking revenge for the suicide of his father. By assuming a new identity he rises through the ranks of the Public Corporation and cynically marries the president's daughter to better infiltrate the company and expose the corrupt practice that was responsible for his father's death. However, as Koichi falls in love with his wife, disaster looms.
The first feature brought out under the aegis of Kurosawa's own production company is an impressive tale of greed, corporate corruption and revenge. It is a powerful indictment of the dark side of business and politics with distinct overtones of Hamlet.
The Bad Sleep Well was shot in glorious Tohoscope and has previously only been available in a shortened international version - BFI video is proud to finally release the film in its uncut, original form,
Japan | 1960 | black & white | Japanese language with English subtitles | 145 minutes | Academy ratio 2.35:1 (16x9 anamorphic) | Region 2 DVD
The Bad Sleep Well tells the story of corruption at the highest levels of Japanese business and its tragic consequences. Though flawed by a tedious introductory sequence and by an ending that seems out of sync with the story, it is a fascinating movie and the middle part is especially exciting.
Japanese legend Toshiro Mifune plays Koichi Nishi, the seemingly stoic bridegroom who is trying to get ahead by marrying the boss's daughter, Kieko (Kyoko Kagawa), who was crippled as a girl. The bride's brother, in a shocking display, exposes the groom's motives during his wedding toast and threatens his new brother-in-law with death if he disappoints his sister. But Nishi is not who we think. He was born the illegitimate son of the man who Kieko's father, Iwabuchi (Maysayuki Mori), manipulated into suicide. Now Nishi wants revenge for his father's death. As Nishi slowly destroys Iwabuchi's life, he makes the fatal error of falling in love with his wife, who already loves him. Their unconsummated marriage stands between these two like a palpable pillar of stone. But just when we think the stone has been tossed aside by love, Iwabuchi finds out who his son-in-law really is.
Shot in black and white, this film falls just short of being brilliant. Mifune is amazing in his portrayal of this complex man who lets his father's past destroy his own future and Maysayuki Mori's performance as the evil Iwabuchi is understated but nonetheless chilling. --LuanneBrown --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Kurosawa wanted to make a film of Social significance for this he chose to look at corruption hiding behind the faceless Japanese Corporations and show the more powerful you are the more corrupt you are.
Basically this is a story of revenge, very much based on Hamlet, it revovles around Toshiro Mifune's character who plots revenge against those who were to blame for the death of his father. He does this by by infiltrating the ranks of the Public Corporation,then cynically marries the President's daughter in order to expose all the conspirators.
The whole film starts at the wedding, this is a wonderful start to the film as we get to meet all the characters of the piece almost all in one go, and we gain an understanding of what has transpired and with the arrival of the extra wedding cake which is a copy of the Public Corporation building with the window Mifunes dead father jumped from to his so called 'suicide' highlighted with a rose we get to see at first hand who the guilty parties are from glances and looks of panic and terror.
Francis Ford Coppola said, it was as perfect a first thirty minutes to a film he has ever seen'
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this film to anyone it's a great piece of cinema from one of the all time great Director's.
It being a Kurosawa film of this vintage, we also have a veritable who’s who of Japanese cinema of the time lining up to impress, at the head of which is (of course) Toshiro Mifune’s cool, calculating Nishi, newly-married into the wealthy family of Masayuki Mori’s construction tycoon, Iwabuchi, and seeking to expose the company’s corrupt practices. The film’s opening 20 minutes depicting Nishi’s elaborate wedding reception is its showpiece sequence – as Kurosawa stunningly marshals a large ensemble cast of wedding-goers, hitting on his themes of social convention and personal disgrace as Koji Mitsui’s mocking journalist and his sidekicks look on (with Strauss and Mendelssohn playing ironically in the background). The use here of a ‘planted’ wedding cake representing the company HQ, on which is marked the window from which an executive threw himself, is a particular stroke of genius. Thereafter, we’re into Kurosawa (and his fellow writers’) twisting and turning narrative as the surreptitious Nishi begins to sow seeds of doubt (and potential guilt) in the minds of the corrupt trio of 'company men’ – the arrogant, ruthless Iwabuchi, Takashi Simura’s Moriyama and Akira Nishimura’s fawning Shirai – prompting attempted suicides and nervous breakdowns (the latter brilliantly conveyed by the increasingly gaunt, zombie-like Nishimura). Kurosawa, via Mifune’s impressive, emotionally restrained performance here, also plays up nicely Nishi’s dilemma between exposing Iwabuchi’s corruption and his increasing affection for his ostensible 'trophy wife’, Kyoko Kagawa’s crippled Yoshiko (a 'weakness’ that eventually leads to Nishi’s undoing).
Despite its length and potentially dry subject matter (Kurosawa’s eye for the forensic detail of corporate corruption is impressive throughout) The Bad Sleep Well never loosens its tense narrative grip (well certainly not on this viewer, anyway). In this respect, the film’s mood called to my mind other 'espionage-type’ thrillers – from the likes of All The Presidents Men to (even) The Ipcress File. Kurosawa’s film also has more than its fair share of surprising twists, not least of which is its final stark denouement. A highly impressive film and one that for me would sit in the upper echelons of works from this deservedly lauded film-maker.
The negative effects of the media were also echoed in other Mifune films
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