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One Flew Over The Cuckoo One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest: Ultimate Collector's Edition
Movie Rating:
DVD Rating:
Overall Rating:

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Jack Nicholson
Danny DeVito
Louise Fletcher
Scatman Crothers
William Redfield
Michael Berryman
Alonzo Brown
Peter Brocco
William Duell

Special Features:
* Commentary By Director Milos Forman, Producers Michael Douglas And Saul Zaentz Providing Scene-By-Scene Insight Into Creative Choices Made In This Timeless Film
* Completely Cuckoo, A Comprehensive 87-Minute Retrospective In Its Full Original Length
* All-New Interview With Michael Douglas
* 52-Page Commemorative Hard-Bound Book
* Reproduction Of The Original Press Book
* 52-Card Deck Of Cast-Inspired Playing Cards
* 4 Mini-Reproductions Of Original Worldwide Theatrical Posters
* Cast/Character Photo Cards

Other Info:
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English
Run Time: 133 min
Rating: R

Synopsis from DVD Cover:
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 & glib on his tongue, fakes insanity & 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.

Quick Review:
This film is a classic. One of the best films of the 1970s and one of only three films to win all five major Academy Awards (Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Actress; the other two films to do so are "It Happened One Night" and "The Silence of the Lambs"), it's arguably the high point of Jack Nicholson's career and also a masterful ensemble piece. Many of the now-famous character actors portraying inmates created some of their earliest roles here, including Christopher Lloyd and Brad Dourif, both of whom debuted in this film.

The film is heartbreaking, funny, upsetting, and ultimately surprising as the ending isn't what one would necessarily expect. It holds up excellently and feels just as relevant today as it was at its release. This was director Milos Forman's first English-language film, and his restrained direction contributes hugely to the film's success as a showcase for its powerhouse roster of actors and the material itself, sharp-edged and keen as it is in Ken Kesey's novel, although reportedly Kesey himself did not care for the film.

When McMurphy (Nicholson) cons his way into the psych ward, thinking to serve out his sentence in an easier environment than prison, you can see the outlines of a story that might be told by lesser writers and filmmakers, a story in which McMurphy's rebellion triumphs, the other broken inmates are liberated and healed, and the tyrannical staff get their comeuppance. That is not this movie. This is a film in which the innocent take their own lives, the strong feign weakness, the ostensible hero falls in utter defeat and the eventual scant shards of victory are claimed only by a murderer. The fact that as this plays out on screen it seems like nothing but what had to happen is a testament to the performances and the writing. The claustrophobia of the hospital setting (only one scene takes place outside its walls) puts the viewer inside the situation with McMurphy and the inmates.

This film was released on laserdisc with a passel of extras, but the first DVD release contained none of them. With this Special Edition, Warner has attempted to rectify this situation, but they've gone about it a bit oddly. The feature has a commentary track featuring Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz, which is really the original laserdisc commentary (which featured only Forman) with new material from Douglas and Zaentz spliced in. There's also a 48-minute making-of documentary, which is a very good watch, but puzzlingly, it's an edited-down version of the docu from the laserdisc. I don't know why they didn't just bring over the whole documentary. There are deleted scenes and trailers and that is it. What's there is good, but it feels like fairly meager offerings for a Special Edition release, especially considering that very little here is new but has been co-opted from the existing laserdisc special features. The absence of Jack Nicholson in the commentaries and interviews is a bit inexplicable, especially considering that he has participated in commentaries and interviews in some of his later films.

In Conclusion:
It's a no-brainer for a fan of this film to own this edition. The previous DVD release did not have any of the extras. Only if you already owned the laserdisc (and still had a laserdisc player) would this edition be redundant. The editing of the bonus features is a downside but it's a vast improvement over nothing.

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