Author Topic: Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well) (1960)  (Read 1646 times)

Offline Antares

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Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru (The Bad Sleep Well) (1960)
« on: April 20, 2010, 01:21:16 AM »
Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru





Year: 1960
Film Studio: Toho, Janus Films
Genre: Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Length: 151 Min.

Director
Akira Kurosawa (1910)

Writing
Hideo Oguni (1904)...Writer
Eijirô Hisaita (1898)...Writer
Akira Kurosawa (1910)...Writer
Ryûzô Kikushima...Writer
Shinobu Hashimoto (1918)...Writer

Producer
Akira Kurosawa (1910)
Tomoyuki Tanaka (1910)

Cinematographer
Yuzuru Aizawa

Music
Masaru Satô (1928)...Composer

Stars
Toshirô Mifune (1920) as Kôichi Nishi
Masayuki Mori (1911) as Public Corporation Vice President Iwabuc
Kyôko Kagawa (1931) as Yoshiko Nishi
Tatsuya Mihashi (1923) as Tatsuo Iwabuchi
Takashi Shimura (1905) as Administrative Officer Moriyama
Kô Nishimura (1923) as Contract Officer Shirai
Takeshi Katô (1929) as Itakura
Kamatari Fujiwara (1905) as Assistant-to-the-Chief Wada

Review
       This film, for me, is the greatest argument for having movies shown in the true aspect ratio in which they were created by the director. I first watched this film in the late nineties on VHS in the dreaded Pan and Scan rendition, and I did not like it. Years went by and I waited for its eventual release on DVD in its original aspect ratio of 2:35 to 1, so I could see if this was the antidote to my displeasure with the film so many years ago. And lo and behold, upon a second viewing of the film in a widescreen format, my first assessment turned out to be way off the mark. No longer did I view it as overly-long, stilted and uneven, but an engrossing and rich melodrama from one of the most celebrated and creative directors in cinema history, Akira Kurosawa. There has never been another director as adept at framing actors, scenery and narrative action across the broad area of the screen as Kurosawa. And thus, when portions of the film are excised to accommodate the resizing needed for viewing on conventional televisions, the film takes on the appearance of an abridged Cliffs notes version, devoid of substance.

       The Bad Sleep Well is one of the lesser known Kurosawa films from his most creative period. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the film takes place in post-war corporate Japan as the wedding of Koichi Nishi (Toshirô Mifune) and Keiko Iwabuchi (Kyôko Kagawa) unfolds amidst an impending revelation of corporate bribery and graft. At the center of the turmoil is the father of the bride, Public Corporation Vice President Iwabuchi (Masayuki Mori) and two of his administrative executives, Administrative Officer Moriyama (Takashi Shimura) and Contract Officer Shirai (Kô Nishimura). As the press hovers within earshot of the proceedings, detectives interrupt the service and arrest Assistant-to-the-Chief Wada (Kamatari Fujiwara), a secretary whose creative accounting is the backbone of the corruption. As the ceremony continues and the wedding cake is wheeled into the room, Shirai begins his toast to the newlyweds unaware of a second cake which is entering the banquet room behind him. Shaped in the form of a municipal building which Public Corporation won the bid to build by the bribery they are under investigation for, a small red rose protruding from one of the windows on the seventh floor will unnerve Shirai as he recognizes the building and the significance of the rose. Years earlier, another executive at the company was forced to commit suicide by leaping from this window to his death, rather than implicate his fellow conspirators in the bribery and graft scandal that would have surfaced at the time.
   
       Days after the wedding, after the apparent suicide of Wada, small events and circumstances arise that help to weaken the bond between the three executives as their well planned conspiracy begins to unravel. Desperate to find out who is behind these occurrences before they are implicated, they frantically attempt to revisit the earlier executive’s suicide in hopes of finding the linking thread to the mystery that is plaguing them. Unbeknownst to them is that Iwabuchi’s new son-in-law Nichi
(click to show/hide)
Slowly and methodically, he drives Shirai insane by having the still very much alive Wada, appear before Shirai at night in ghostlike situations. With Shirai out of the picture, Nichi sets his sights on Moriyama, whom he kidnaps in hopes of getting some incriminating documents that will topple his adversaries. As he slowly starves Moriyama into submission, the revelation of Nishi’s true identity, unearthed by Moriyama before the kidnapping, will be made aware to Iwabuchi by Nishi’s adoring, yet paternally manipulated wife. In the end Nishi will meet with tragedy,
(click to show/hide)

       While I shy away from rating this film with five stars, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes taut suspenseful drama. If you are new to the films of Akira Kurosawa, this may be too dry and unapproachable to the novice Kurosawa fan. Try out some of his more accessible films such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo first, and then give this one a chance. Once you are anointed to the genius of his filmmaking, this will be a treasure waiting to be discovered.



Ratings Criterion
- The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
- Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
- Historically important film, considered a classic.
- An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
– A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
- Borderline viewable.
– A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
– Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
– A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
- A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 05:13:36 PM by Antares »