Will Sampson Christopher Lloyd
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.
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.