“Mystery Train” chugs back to DVD on Criterion

On June 15, the Criterion Collection will re-release Jim Jarmusch’s “Mystery Train” on DVD and Blu-ray in a new director-approved edition. While not a music film per se, it’s a picture with a uniquely musical sensibility: Shot in 1989 in the most decaying neighborhoods in Memphis, it’s an evocative meditation on the Bluff City in which the shade of Elvis Presley plays literal and figurative parts. Jarmusch used musicians in both featured and minor roles to great effect. The home video return of “Mystery Train” affords just enough of an excuse to excavate this wonderful clip, drawn from the third of the film’s three episodes.

The inimitable Tom Waits supplied the voice of the late-night DJ
spinning Elvis’ Sun Records version of “Blue Moon,” cut in Memphis in
August 1954. (Of course, the King also recorded his cover of Little Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train” for Sun in July
1955.) The Clash’s Joe Strummer is the extremely drunk passenger seated in the car next to Steve Buscemi; the gaudily dressed hotel night clerk is rock ‘n’ roll wild man Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (subject of documentary footage to be included on the Criterion package). Note: Hawkins’ character bought his loud threads at Lansky Brothers, the same Beale Street clothier where Presley got his eye-popping outfits.

ï Click here for the SoundCheck homepage
ï Get more music news at Variety.com
ï Follow Us: TwitterFacebook

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0


    Leave a Reply

    No Comments

    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    More Music News from Variety