One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)
A nice rest in a state mental hospital beats a stretch in the pen, right? Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a free-spirited con with lightning in his veins and glib on his tongue, fakes insanity and moves in with what he calls the "nuts." Immediately, his contagious sense of disorder runs up against numbing routine. No way should guys pickled on sedatives shuffle around in bathrobes when the World Series is on. This means war! On one side is McMurphy. On the other is soft-spoken Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), among the most coldly monstrous villains in film history. At stake is the fate of every patient on the ward. Based on Ken Kesey's acclaimed bestseller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest sweptall five major 1975 Academy Awards: Best Picture (produced by Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas), Actor (Nicholson), Actress (Fletcher), Director (Milos Forman) and Adapted Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman). Raucous, searing and with a superb cast that includes Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd in his film debut, this one soars.]]>
The two-disc special-edition DVD offers a great-looking anamorphic 1.85:1 print and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. Disc 2 has the trailer, about 13 minutes of deleted scenes (mostly from the first third of the film, and all pretty good), and a making-of retrospective documentary with interesting material from producers Michael Douglas (who inherited the rights from Kirk) and Saul Zaentz, director Milos Forman, screenwriter Bo Goldman, and many cast members (though not Jack Nicholson). There's also a commentary track by Forman, Douglas, and Zaentz that repeats a few things from the documentary but also goes into more scene-specific detail about the development and shooting. --Kim Newman
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Jack Nicholson starts as R.P. McMurphy-- a Veteran/vagabond card gambler with a criminal record of rape and battery charges. He is described as a slacker who is faking mental illness in order to escape imprisonment. The year is 1962, McMurphy gets admitted to a Salem Mental Institute for an observation. Soon after, he gains the trust of the patients and changes their lives...as a result of his shenanigans, he gets on the bad side of the strict and tyrannical senior nurse on the staff by the name of Ratched.
The film contains many hidden messages about life, sanity, institutionalization, and perhaps the meaning behind society.
- Commentary by director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz, and a theatrical trailer, both of which appear on the 2002 two-disc DVD and all current Blu-ray releases.
- Deleted scenes, which appear on Blu-ray.
- New 87-min. documentary, 'Completely Cuckoo,' which can be found here and on the Collector's Edition Blu-ray. This is essentially an expanded version of the 47-min. documentary put out with the two-disc DVD, recut with input from novelist Ken Kesey (who was notably absent from the earlier piece).
- New interview with Michael Douglas, again common only to the Collector's DVD and Blu-ray.
- Transfer looks to be the same as that taken from the 2001 restoration and is, contrary to Amazon's claim of a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, anamorphic widescreen.
- Also included are a hardbound book filled with extensive production notes, stills and behind-the-scenes photographs; a reproduction of the original pressbook; lobby cards featuring poster artwork; character photo cards; and a deck of cast-inspired playing cards.
While certain of the components here are superfluous (playing cards, I'm looking at you), it is a very attractive package for completists, and for those who agree that 'Cuckoo,' as a unique and valued contribution to American cinema, deserves the royal treatment. 5 stars for the film, 4 1/2 for presentation.
I remember our high school English teacher had us read some pretty dynamic books back in the 70's and this was one of them. I don't know if it's as widely assigned by teachers in this day and age.
Later I saw the movie and read the book again, appreciating what a good novel it is, and perhaps understanding where it was coming from and its influences a little better than I did in High School. Of course the book is better than the movie, but the movie is very good in its own right. Now we have the movie on bluray disc.
I don't imagine anybody needs a description of the films plot and most people buying this would be well familiar with it. But in case you had'nt: a brief no spoiler summary would be that the movie is about a mental ward and a rebellious patient/leader who appears on the ward, nurse Ratched who runs the ward is perturbed by him, he rails against authority and stirs things up (in some ways the Mcmurphy character in this film is similar to the character of Luke in "Cool hand Luke"). Nicholson and Fletcher are great in the lead roles and most of the supporting cast went on to wider notoriety. The movie is both funny and tragic, it has qualities that are rarely seen in mainstream cinema today.
Warner Brothers has done a fantastic job on this Bluray release. The image quality is excellent, and the packaging with booklet essay, photos, and supplements make it a real collector's item. Recommended.