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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: CE
BLU-RAY disk
09.27.2010 By: Chris Bumbray
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: CE order download
Director:
Milos Foreman

Actors:
Jack Nicholson
Louise Fletcher
Brad Dourif
Danny DeVito
Will Sampson Christopher Lloyd

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
R.P McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a classic rebel, is sent for a thirty day evaluation to the state mental hospital due to his long arrest record and anti-social habits. Once there, he comes in conflict with Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) who runs her ward with an iron fist. McMurphy, never one to back down from a fight, decides to spend his time teaching his fellow patients to fight back. Along the way, he befriends a shy, suicidal young man named Billy (Brad Dourif), and gains an ally in the giant Chief (Will Sampson), who pretends to be deaf and dumb, but is actually anything but.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, for me, is one of Jack Nicholson’s five defining performances (the other four being EASY RIDER, FIVE EASY PIECES, CHINATOWN & THE SHINING). It’s always been a favorite of mine, back to my youth where I had a ratty old VHS copy of the film that I got from a friend. There’s something about McMurphy’s struggle here that’s just universal, and the older I get, the more personally relevant this film becomes.

In the years since its release, mental health has become less taboo than it was back in the day. Two of the more barbaric psychiatric practices shown here, shock therapy and lobotomy, have been outlawed, but the film still doesn’t lose its power. The conclusion of this film is truly one of the more heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen, and The Chief’s final act of compassion for his friend McMurphy chokes me up each time I see it.

I should also mention that Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched makes for one of the most despicable, and terrifying villains ever put to celluloid. She’s truly evil, and her actions are even more insidious in that she hides behind a mask of what she pretends is compassion, but truly is sadism in its purest form. There’s a scene later in the film where she confronts Billy, who’s just lost his virginity thanks to a few prostitutes brought into the ward by McMurphy, which is one of the cruelest, most cold-blooded confrontations ever shot.

As for Jack, well- he’s never been more Jack than he is here, and if this is your first time watching cuckoo, don’t be surprised if you starting wearing lots of denim jackets and black wool caps after this. Truly, he’s cooler than cool, and iconic in the role.

THE EXTRAS
First up in a collector's box with a 52-page commemorative book, another 12 page book of newspaper clippings, some lobby cards, and playing cards (not the nudie ones Nicholson carries in the film).

Next up, commentary by producers Michael Douglas (who made his name in Hollywood producing this after getting the rights from his father, superstar Kirk), Saul Zentz, and director Milos Foreman . Next is a series of deleted scenes . We also get a thirty minute documentary, Asylum: An Empty Next for the Mentally Ill examining the conditions of mental hospitals at the time.

Most noteworthy, and the only new extra to this blu-ray, is an expanded edition of a documentary that appeared on the original blu-ray- Completely Cuckoo , which is feature-length and includes extensive interviews with Ken Kasey (who wrote the original novel, and has always been cool towards the film), and Michael Douglas. Nicholson is completely absent from the extras- reportedly owing to conflicts he had with Foreman during shooting.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
My only problem with this new “Collector’s Edition” of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST is that it feels like a cash grab to me. The only added feature is the documentary, but if you’ve got the previous blu-ray, I don’t think there’s a major need to upgrade. The box has a bunch of bells and whistles, but it’s mostly disposable stuff, and for forty bucks, it’s a wee bit pricey. However, if you don’t already have it, or (gasp) haven’t seen it yet, then this is a total no-brainer. Buy It!
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4:52PM on 10/03/2010
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