(Warner Home Video, 133 minutes)
BY CHRIS ZIMMERMAN
Like so many antiheroes that have come before him, R.P.
McMurphy went down fighting for what he loved; girls, sports, and the freedom
to raise hell. First coming to life in Ken Kesey’s novel of the same name, the
character went on to achieve icon status after Jack Nicholson’s portrayal back
in 1975, bringing the his devil may care attitude to millions of theater goers
Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is mainly set in the ward of a mental
asylum in Oregon
in which patients are ruled under the strict thumb of Nurse Ratched, played by
Louise Fletcher. Tasked with caring for over seventeen patients, each with
their own unique set of problems, Ratched is far from lenient, often appearing
cruel in her attitude toward her patients. Of course even the most secure
empires have their problems and the ward is no different, suffering from
bullies (lots of them) and at times social disorder.
Then you have McMurphy. Convicted of statutory rape, he
faked insanity as a way to escape jail time, thus landing him in the hospital
for evaluation. Naturally there are those who believe he is faking it, among
them the head of the facility. McMurphy is chaos incarnate, shaking the social
order that has been established by turning the patients into likeminded
individuals ready to whatever he asks of them. What results is a tenuous
situation with McMurphy refusing to be ordered putting him in direct conflict
with Nurse Ratched’s pyramid of order.
Warner touts this newest release as a “collector’s edition”
and it more than lives up to that designation. Everything about this release is
phenomenal, from the excellent packaging to the ridiculous amount of bonus
features. Included are extras that have been ported over from the previous
releases such as deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and a theatrical trailer.
There was also a making of featurette that had to be cut for time. This new
edition restores the feature to its original run time of 87 minutes and brings
a host of new extras for fans to sink their teeth into.
An Empty Nest is a new 31 minute documentary detailing the
less than appealing circumstances in which mental hospitals are run and the various
changes instituted since the film’s release. Sporting interviews with doctors
as well as producer Michael Douglas, the featurette is both eye opening and
thought provoking, detailing how they worked with real professionals during the
making of the movie.
The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and likely to tempt a
few who already own the previous release. The discs are housed in a sturdy
cardboard with a foil embossed image of Nicholson adorning the cover. Inside is
a wealth of treats including a reproduction of the original press book, four
reproductions of the original posters, a deck of cards, and a hardcover
This is truly an impressive set worthy of an amazing film.
Nicholson’s portrayal of McMurphy helped launch the actor into superstardom,
taking up similar roles over the years but rarely meeting the same level of
success. The story, the characters, and the challenge of the human condition
made One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest an endearing milestone in cinema. Warner Home Video pulled out all the stops
for this release, making this one collection worth going cuckoo for.
- Theatrical Trailer
An Empty Nest
- Patient Files
- Playing Cards
- Hardback Book