The Bad Sleep Well [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1960]

Akira Kurosawa's powerful story of corruption and murder in the boardrooms of Japanese commerce gets a long overdue release on North American DVD with is top-shelf release from The Criterion Collection. Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru (aka The Bad Sleep Well) has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed on standard monitors at the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and enhanced for 16 x 9 playback on widescreen equipment. Telecine supervisor Lee Kline has done an especially fine job with this title, capturing the deep-focus details and sharp contrasts of Yuzuru Aizawa's camerawork with commendable accuracy. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono; the dialogue is in Japanese, with optional English subtitles that are clear and easy to read. As a bonus, this edition includes the film's original theatrical trailer as well as a 33-minute episode from the series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create which focuses on the making of The Bad Sleep Well and features insightful interviews with members of the cast and crew. Finally, the accompanying booklet features perceptive essays on the movie from filmmaker Michael Almereyda and author Chuck Stephens. Criterion's DVD releases are widely regarded as the gold standard of home video, and this simple but carefully executed disc is a fine example of their determination to do right by every film they release, and it's an impressive achievement.
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Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • A 33-minute documentary on the making of The Bad Sleep Well
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • New essays by film critic Chuck Stephens and director Michael Almereyda


The Bad Sleep Well
In this engaging drama, acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa deftly splices together the nuances of hypocrisy, old feudal misconceptions lingering in modern corruption, and Shakespeare's Hamlet. The rotten corporate world is taken on by Koichi Nishi (Toshiro Mifune), who is looking for revenge in the death of his father. Koichi is a private secretary to a government official, and in the opening scene, at Koichi's wedding to the official's disabled daughter, a special cake is brought in which jolts those present -- it reminds them of the suicide that paved the way for their current positions of power. Then the police arrive and arrest one of the wedding guests. Unknown to the others, Koichi is the hidden force behind all the strange happenings that begin to sting their consciences and ruin their lives. Ghostly figures and would-be killers in the dark streets contrast with shining corporate offices as the plot maneuvers to its tragic conclusion. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Toshiro Mifune
    Toshiro Mifune - Koichi Nishi
  • Image coming soon
    Kenjiro Ishiyama - Det. Taguchi
  • Image coming soon
    Ko (Isao) Kimura - Det. Arai
  • Tatsuya Nakadai
    Tatsuya Nakadai - Insp. Tokuro
  • Yutaka Sada
    Yutaka Sada - Aoki, chauffeur
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