Did you ever wonder why some of the best films ever created originated as novels? It’s because in a good novel, the details are limitless! You are able to see and feel the actual story without a monitor. With only your imagination and the printed words in front of you, you are able to construct an entire world in your mind!
The film ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ (Directed by Milos Forman, and starring Jack Nicholson) is no different. Deriving from a novel written by Author, Ken Kesey, this story is set in an Oregon Psychiatric Ward where a man named Randle Patrick McMurphy comes to serve his prison sentence after pleading insanity in court.
We meet several unique, and at times, bizarre characters once “RP McMurphy” is inside the building. None more solemn and sure of her schedules and processes than Nurse Mildred Ratched. Between the two, RP McMurphy and Nurse Ratched, there is a constant struggle for power over the patients.
One of their early meetings shows just where they both are on the “food chain” and is also one of my favorite scenes in the entire film. — McMurphy joins a group meeting as several of the ward patients sit around and discuss Mr. Harding’s relationship problems. During this very scheduled and systematically controlled meeting, McMurphy obnoxiously shuffles his deck of cards a few times. A quick glance from Nurse Ratched is enough to make him stop, but not before the entire group of patients begin to lose it. An argument breaks out as we hear nothing but crying, screaming and the shouting of random phrases from about 7 different people. To no ones surprise, the meeting is adjourned. — I believe THIS is the point where RP McMurphy gets his first glimpse of what he is truly in for in living in a psychiatric ward. That he is actually living with several very damaged and possibly dangerous people, and at this point, his prison stint turned into a vacation at the crazy house, may not be all that it is cracked up to be.
I also believe this is when Nurse Ratched, without a doubt, now knows that he is not mentally ill. She only stares at him coldly. Searching his face for weakness as she reads the convict.
Though nominated for an Oscar, I don’t feel the cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, receives enough credit – This film is set in an concrete building, but it also allows us some beautiful shots of the Oregon landscape and I feel it gives the viewer a real contrast of the two different scenarios. One being confined to a brick room for 23 hours a day and the other, being totally free and open, in the wilderness of Oregon.
‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ is a great story about rebellion-ism, human behavior and also the comradery of man. If you haven’t seen this classic film that won 5 Academy Awards, I suggest you do! give ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Don’t trust me, huh? Check out what Siskell and Ebert had to say back in 1975, shortly after the film’s premiere in Chicago!