And the HD Oscar Goes to: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Brad Dourif, William Redfield, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd.
Director: Milos Forman.
Screenplay: Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman.
Score: Jack Nitzsche.
Cinematography: Haskell Wexler.

Jack Nicholson fans will go crazy over the Blu-ray of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for which he won an Academy Award for playing  a pseudo-psychiatric inmate who winds up running the asylum. It was Nicholson’s first Oscar — he had been nominated four times previously — and was one of five trophies the 1975 release earned. Nominated in nine categories, it also won for best picture (producers Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas), best actress (Louise Fletcher), best director (Milos Forman), and best adapted screenplay (Lawrence Hauben, Bo Goldman) .This coup made it the first movie since 1934’s It Happened One Night to win in each of the major categories (dubbed “the Big Five”). While drab psych ward interiors may not sound ideal for HD showcasing, it’s justified given cinematographer Haskell Wexler also was Oscar-nominated (he lost to Barry Lyndon’s John Alcott). The extras are in SD but stand out all the same. They include a feature-length commentary by the director and the producers, one of the best making-of docos ever undertaken for home video, and 13 minutes of deleted scenes that provide fascinating context and deepen appreciation of the final cut. The revelations range from the trivial (Gene Hackman’s agent turned down Nicholson’s part of Randall P McMurphy for his client) to the tragic (William Redfield, who played inmate Harding, had leukaemia during shooting and died soon after). There’s some overlap between the commentary and the doco but neither seems too long and just about everyone associated with the production, except for Nicholson, contributes.

Movie: 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
Image: 😀 😀 😀 😀
Extras: 😀 😀 😀 😀

This is the third in a series of Blu-ray reviews counting down to the the Academy Awards, which will screen live in HD, for the first time in NZ, on Sky Movies (March 8, 2.30pm).

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