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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Collector's Edition

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
JOKERS WILD Nicholson, right, plays along.

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

It must be significant that people always talk about the boatload of Oscars this film won (five, including Best Picture)---because when you actually watch it, you can't help but notice the dawning of awful trends: proto--indie quirkiness, psychological grandstanding, the crazy-cool hero. (The noxious It's Kind of a Funny Story is the omega some 35 years later; see review)

Still, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest works phenomenally well as comfort food, not edgy so much as endearingly scruffy. The movie belongs to Jack Nicholson, modulating his more subtle work in Chinatown and Five Easy Pieces to play Randle, a charming criminal who's managed to get himself transferred to a mental institution. Nicholson carries the project with his devilish exuberance; he'd soon become a caricature of himself.

Opening up Warner's decadent "Ultimate Collector Edition" is to laugh at the fawning respect paid. Here are reproductions of foreign lobby cards and the original press pamphlet, complete with clippings. A miniature making-of book (hardbound, no less) discusses the shoot. You even get a full deck of playing cards adorned with images of the wild man himself. Most lavish of all: A "coffee-mug-stained" medical folder marked PATIENT FILE with yet more photographs. Happily, the movie itself looks terrific, and there's a bonus disc of new interviews.

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Written by Joshua Rothkopf
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