2007 class -- 2008



scene index:

1. Sunrise Credits; medication time

2. Mr. McMurphy's here.

3. Crazy: no more, no less.

4. Meeting colled to disorder.

5. Basketball lesson.

6.Blackjack of a sort.

7. Out of bounds.

8. Majority rules.

9. At least her tried.

10. Getting out the vote.

11. A new ballgame

12. "She likes sa rigged game."


31. "Let's go."

32. Free.

End Credits.

topics: directors * films * movies *
* clip [text, script]
CUCKOO'S NEST by Forman @ Amadeus

Kesey's classic novel: The counterculture embraced this allegory of individualism versus the establishment, which, as a film, gave Jack Nicholson one of his more memorable roles. Cowed by sadistic Nurse Ratched, the inmates of a mental hospital are galvanized by a new patient, the free-spirited McMurphy, who enters a pitched battle of wills with the nurse. 0451163966

"Much more complex than the movie, the novel works on many levels. The characters are gripping, and the psychological undertones amazing. In short, it is a modern masterpiece."

The novel was originally dramatized on Broadway (an adapted play by Dale Wasserman) beginning in 1963 with actor Kirk Douglas starring in the lead role as McMurphy and Gene Wilder as stuttering Billy Bibbit. Kirk Douglas bought the rights to the novel, but couldn't convince film studios to produce the film. Many years after its short theatrical run, Douglas transferred the rights to his son, actor/producer Michael Douglas, who co-produced the United Artists film with Saul Zaentz. Michael Douglas had considered playing the starring role, but by the time of the film's production, he judged himself too old.

Kesey had derived most of the novel's secondary characters from real-life psychiatric ward patients at a VA hospital (in Menlo Park, CA) where he had once worked in a night job in the late 50s. (In the novel, McMurphy was a stocky redhead with a poorly-stitched gash across his cheekbone and nose. And 6' 8" tall, 'mute' native American Chief Bromden, a paranoid schizophrenic, narrated the story and was the central character in the novel, providing hallucinatory images of an all-powerful, all-seeing bureaucratic 'harvesting machine' designed to foster complete social integration - a Combine, that would squelch all individuality and create a compliant society (both within the hospital and in the wider society). Those who were non-conforming would be relegated to a correctional facility for repair or removal. Kesey was so incensed by the change in the perspective of the story-telling (away from Chief Bromden's first-person perspective) and other changes in the script that he sued the producers.)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) is one of the greatest American films of all time - a $4.4 million dollar effort directed by Czech Milos Forman. Its allegorical theme is set in the world of an authentic mental hospital (Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon), a place of rebellion exhibited by a energetic, flamboyant, wise-guy anti-hero against the Establishment, institutional authority and status-quo attitudes (personified by the patients' supervisory nurse). Expressing his basic human rights and impulses, he protests against heavy-handed rules about watching the World Series, and illegally stages both a fishing trip and a drinking party in the ward - leading to his own paralyzing lobotomy.

... Bracketed by the English translations of Michel Foucault's studies of madness and imprisonment, it reflected society's disillusionment with the psychiatric modalities that had enjoyed so much acclaim two decades earlier. (Discipline & Punish)

Page-to-Screen Adaptation ISSUES:

To adapt the story so that it would work as a motion picture, the filmmakers changed the point of view to an omniscient, all-seeing perspective. The camera focuses upon the characters directly rather than interpreting them through the Chief’s eyes. This choice eliminated the need for both the hallucinations and the conspiracy of the Combine. Rather than being controlled by an evil machine, in the film adaptation Nurse Ratched is the ultimate authority-wielding bureaucrat. Forman understood that audiences would better relate to the struggle against a personified, rather than mechanical, enemy. His Nurse Ratched relies upon rules and her power to change them arbitrarily in order to enforce conformity over individualism.

Although Forman elected to retain many of the novel’s references to McMurphy as a Christ figure, he chose a more subtle approach for the film. For example, his electric shock table is not in the form of a cross, and McMurphy does not ask whether he gets a crown of thorns, as he does in the novel. The ending of the film, as of the novel, deals with death and resurrection. However, Forman modifies it for the screen: in the novel, by the time McMurphy returns from his lobotomy, most of the patients on the ward have already signed themselves out and managed to escape before McMurphy and the Chief do. In the film, all the characters are still on the ward. Forman’s Chief escapes alone, leaving the window gaping open behind him for those who might choose to follow—a visually satisfying image that also underscores the importance of independent thought to a joyful life.

* Although Amadeus won eight Oscars in 1984, including Best Picture and another Best Director award for Forman, critics generally acknowledge One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to be his foremost work. In November 1977, the American Film Institute voted it into its Top Ten of America’s Best Films, along with Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and Citizen Kane.

Film Study ***
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called film. Make your own badge here.

2007 class : see google.com/group/filmstudy



Winner & Losers

McMurphy: Which one of you nuts has got any guts?
It's ironic that the image of Jack Nicholson's character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest -- R.P. "Mac" McMurphy, in that black watch cap and grinning his devilish grin -- has become a kind of visual shorthand for insanity. McMurphy isn't insane...
Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Three geese in a flock.
One flew east,
And one flew west,
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest

An energetic, swaggering, wisecracking, non-conformist, rebellious patient/prisoner Randle Patrick (R. P.) "Mac" McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), 38 years old, is escorted into the ward where he meets some of the bizarre, memorable patients/inmates (most of whom are voluntarily committed):

* a silent, dignified, huge and towering Indian giant "Chief" Bromden, aka "Broom" (Creek Indian Will Sampson in his film debut) - a "deaf and dumb Indian" "as big as a god-damn tree trunk" - with a father blinded after many years of alcoholism

* a pathetic, incessantly stuttering, paranoid boychild, thirty-year old Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif in his film debut) - shy, virginal, impressionable, and deathly afraid of his mother

* an ineffectual, rationalizing intellectual Dale Harding (William Redfield) - relatively sane but unable to get over his wife's betrayal and adultery when she "seeks attention elsewhere"

* an insecure neurotic Charlie Cheswick (Sydney Lassick) lacking self-confidence

* a short, smiling Martini (Danny De Vito in one of his earliest roles) with an immature personality

* a cynical, trouble-making sadist Taber (Christopher Lloyd in his film debut)

Types: "We, Americans..."



Chaplin > Carleone > Mac (Big Lobowsky)

- Who is you, my fellow American?

Continue with SCRIPT into DIRECTING (Acting and Camera Acting)


Almost no one in the film world believed that a film could be created successfully from Ken Kesey’s hallucinatory, nonlinear novel, yet, through Milos Forman’s direction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest not only succeeded but garnered significant critical and popular acclaim. Forman brought his unique vision of realism and revelation to the work: he chose actors capable of flexible and spontaneous approaches, including some unknown or nonprofessional actors.

Jack Nicholson, already a star, excelled under Forman’s direction. At the beginning of the film, when the prison guards remove McMurphy’s manacles, he laughs gleefully, grabs the guard and kisses him. As they rehearsed, Forman did not feel he was getting the response he wanted from the actor playing the guard. Taking Nicholson aside, Forman told him on the next take to kiss the other guard, who was not expecting it. That spontaneous take made it into the film.

Most of the supporting cast members were little-known actors. Some, like Danny DeVito (Martini) and Christopher Lloyd (Taber), went on to long Hollywood careers after their success in this film. Forman coaxed particularly fine work out of the newcomer Brad Dourif as Billy Bibbit, the suicidal stutterer: Dourif won the 1975 Golden Globe award for Best Film Debut. Two key characters were played by nonactors, yet under Forman’s direction they gave subtle and believable performances as Dr. Spivey and the Chief. Forman enhanced the real-life feel of the movie by utilizing nonactors.

Forman’s use of actual settings and natural light, as well as his emphasis on the human face, also emphasizes the film’s realism. He wanted the audience to realize that the mental institution and its inmates are not far removed from the rest of the world. Forman shot locked doors, wire screens, bars, and chain-link fences to underscore the repression of the people caught inside. The hard, white surfaces of the walls, floors, and tiles intensify the contrast between the institution and its human inhabitants. Forman uses close-ups of the characters’ faces to tell their stories. In order to increase the tension of the scenes, he uses extremely close shots, cropping out characters’ hair or necks. By concentrating on eyes and mouths, particularly expressive features, Forman stresses the men’s humanity.

Most of the film occurs in short takes, edited to provide multiple points of view in each scene. During the group therapy sessions, the camera moves from face to face without lingering. Nurse Ratched is smug and controlled as she asks painful, personal questions. Cheswick holds his breath and looks like he will implode. Martini grins and scowls simultaneously. Billy Bibbit folds himself into a near-fetal position. These short takes of varied perspective consistently build tension in the scenes.

Another of Forman’s strengths as a director is his ability to use varied camera work to capture the moments at which characters reach important revelations. For example, he sets the moment of McMurphy’s epiphany apart through the use of an unusually long take. He cuts quickly back and forth between the doctors and McMurphy at his sanity evaluation, so when he shoots one long, unedited take of McMurphy’s face, the importance of the scene stands out. When McMurphy sends Billy Bibbit to sleep with Candy, then sits by the open window, Forman again keeps the camera on McMurphy’s face, this time for a full sixty-five seconds. McMurphy in turn becomes troubled, thoughtful, and somber. He shows a hint of a grin as he realizes the cost of his sacrifice, looks up toward the open window, and then closes his eyes in acceptance. Under Forman’s tutelage, actors fully inhabit their roles, the hospital becomes an evil institution, and the movie poignantly celebrates the human spirit.

@film.vtheatre.net 2005-2008 index * anatolant.stumbleupon.com

2006-2007 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Copyright © 2005 by filmplus.org. Permission to link to this site is granted.
print.google.com + scholar.google.com * eCitations * Lijit Search

 Subscribe in a reader

film home: 2006 : new * biblio * books * film analysis : links * film-north : links * keywords * appendix * webmaster * youtube.com/group/directing * 2007 google.com/group/filmstudy

www.filmsite.org/onef.html Greatest Films: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Amazon : One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1975)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher
Studio: Warner Home Video : DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002 : Run Time: 133 minutes : ASIN: B00006FDCP
Plot Outline Upon arrival at a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients together to take on the oppressive Nurse Ratched, a woman more a dictator than a nurse.
Plot Synopsis: McMurphy thinks he can get out of doing work while in prison by pretending to be mad. His plan backfires when he is sent to a mental asylum. He tries to liven the place up a bit by playing card games and basketball with his fellow inmates, but the head nurse is after him at every turn.

Commentary by: director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul ZaentzUnknown Format
New 2001 digital transfer from restored elements
Soundtrack remastered
"The Making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," a 48-minute documentary featuring the actors, the moviemakers, and writer Ken Kesey recounting the history of the original novel to its stage and movie adaptations
8 additional scenes



http://www.samuelfrench.com/store/product_info.php/products_id/2219 -- play


See who's visiting this page.