Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well

Final Friday Film Series

directed by Akira Kurosawa
Japan, 1960, 150 minutes

One of three noirs made by Kurosawa

A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in the scathing The Bad Sleep Well. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir to chilling effect in exposing the corrupt boardrooms of postwar corporate Japan.

There is one point where a wedding cake arrives,. It is in the shape of corporate headquarters. A rose protrudes from the office where Furuya, a former Corporation employee, committed suicide. Many people believe Furuya, implicated in a scandal, killed himself to keep from testifying against his superiors.

Police interrupt the wedding to arrest corporate assistant officer Wada (Kamatari Fujiwara) on charges of bribery, and they question him about a kickback scheme. After Wada is released, Nishi must prevent him from committing suicide.

His motives are not kind. Nishi wants to use Wada and also contract officer Shirai (Ko Nishimura) to exact revenge on the Corporation. He reveals to Wada and Shirai that Furuya was his father. According to Nishi, he only married Yoshiko to get close to the family.

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