The spirit of Elvis haunts—more accurately, graces—Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 film Mystery Train, which will be screened in the Tap Room at Arbor Brewing Company on Wednesday, January 14, as part of radio station WCBN’s monthly series of music-themed movies.
As expressed through the soundtrack, a love of the blues and blues-influenced music is clearly an underlying impetus for Mystery Train. A cameo appearance by the late Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as a red-suited hotel desk clerk and the voice of Tom Waits as a late-night radio disc jockey further augment the blues-inspired ethos of the film. And Elvis’s “Blue Moon” playing on the radio provides a temporal unity, orienting each of the episodes that make up the fractured storyline in time. But Mystery Train—the title borrowed from an Elvis tune—is less an homage to Elvis Presley himself or even to his music than to the enduring mystique of Elvis.