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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
DVD Special Edition
Specs and Features
Disc One - The Film
133 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, Digipack packaging with slipcase, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 65:47 in chapter 16), audio commentary (with director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz), cast and crew bios, awards listing, film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (33 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD mono), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned
Disc Two - Special Features
NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), The Making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest documentary, 8 additional scenes, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens with sound, languages: English (DD 2.0 Surround)
While most free-thinking film fans have long since stopped using the Academy Awards as any sort of reliable standard of excellence, it's still fun to handicap them in the same way as you would a horse race. In those terms then, it's exceedingly rare for a movie to pull off an Oscar exacta, winning the five big guns, Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay, either original or adapted. So far, it's only happened three times. The first time was in 1934, when Frank Capra, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert and screenwriter Robert Riskin did it with It Happened One Night. Most recently, Jonathan Demme, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, and Ted Tally brought home a trophy case full of statues with The Silence of the Lambs. And in between those two sweeps came the 1975 classic, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
Based on the book by counterculture giant Ken Kesey, Cuckoo's Nest tells the story of Randle P. McMurphy (one of many defining performances by Oscar winner Jack Nicholson). McMurphy is a petty criminal transferred from the prison work farm to the state mental institution for observation and evaluation. Expecting an easy ride until his assumed release date, McMurphy makes himself right at home, becoming a role model and ringleader for the rest of the guys on his ward. But he doesn't count on the iron fist of Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), a woman who will brook no wavering from the strict rules she's laid down.
Clearly, Cuckoo's Nest is dominated by the commanding performances of Nicholson and Fletcher. This is a textbook example of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. From the second these two lay eyes on each other, we expect sparks to fly and we are not disappointed. But it must be noted that Cuckoo's Nest is also one of the greatest ensemble films of all time. The other patients on Nurse Ratched's ward are filled out by some of the most memorable character actors ever assembled, many of whom went on to become famous in their own right and made their film debuts here. Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Vincent Schiavelli, and Brad Dourif each turn in brilliant and specific portrayals. But for my money, top acting honors on the ward go to the late Sydney Lassick as Charlie Cheswick and the stoic Will Sampson as the Chief. Once you've seen these two in this film, you never forget them.
For director Milos Forman, Cuckoo's Nest was his first English-language film, following such great Czech comedy-dramas as The Firemen's Ball and Loves of a Blonde. Probably because he isn't as prolific as most of his contemporaries, Forman has never really earned a reputation as one of the world's great filmmakers, despite winning Oscars for both this and Amadeus. I've always considered him to be vastly underrated, with Ragtime ranking high among my personal favorites of his films (he's also responsible for a couple of more recent overlooked gems, The People vs. Larry Flynt and the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon). Cuckoo's Nest finds him working at the top of his game, imparting a claustrophobic feel to the film that never feels staged or theatrical. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest may not necessarily be Forman's best film but it has endured. Unlike many, many other films from 1975, Cuckoo's Nest has not aged a day. Today it feels as fresh and original as it did the first time around.
Warner's re-release of the film marks a definite technical improvement over their first attempt. The picture is cleaner and a bit sharper than the prior release with no apparent edge enhancement or digital artifacting. The soundtrack has also been given a clean up and any faults here are inherent in the limitations of the original recording, not the new remaster. Nothing to give your home theatre a workout here but you shouldn't really be expecting that from this film anyway.
The main fault with the original release of Cuckoo's Nest lay in the knowledge that none of the extras from a previous excellent laserdisc had been brought over to the DVD. Warner apparently heard these criticisms and has attempted to make things right by giving Cuckoo's Nest the two-disc special edition treatment. Unfortunately, while their intentions might be good, the results are a decidedly mixed bag. The first disc boasts a feature-length commentary by Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz. In fact, this is the laserdisc commentary by Forman with separate interviews with Douglas and Zaentz edited in here and there. The results aren't bad necessarily. It's a reasonably interesting track with all of the participants providing insight into the making of the film. But the technical aspects of the track are a little frustrating. First of all, after you select the commentary option from the menu, you'd better be good and ready to listen to it. The disc launches you into it immediately without so much as a chance to get comfortable in your chair. Secondly, none of the participants are ever introduced. Fortunately, most people know what Michael Douglas sounds like and if you know that Forman speaks with a Czech accent, you can pretty much figure out the last man standing is Saul Zaentz. But if you don't know any of that, you're just going to have to play catch up as they go along.
Disc Two features a 45-minute documentary, "based on" the doc that appeared on the laserdisc. In regular English as opposed to creditspeak, this means it's an edited-down, shorter version of the earlier documentary. Why they decided to do this beats the hell out of me. Certainly what's left is very much of interest, although it fails to address the reaction and lasting effect the film has had. After you get through the eight deleted scenes, all of which are worth watching, and the theatrical trailers, you're done with the second disc. This is one of the few times I can remember that I spent less time going through the special features of a special edition DVD than watching the movie itself.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is undeniably a great film and Warner's special edition DVD is a far better treatment of the film than their original disc. But when all is said and done, I can't help but feel that there should have been more meat on the bone. There's nothing inherently wrong with simply porting the contents of a laserdisc over to a DVD. Criterion's Brazil is the standard bearer for this type of set. But if you're going to take that approach, why not go ahead and port the entire laserdisc onto the DVD? Whether or not Warner's reasons for editing the commentary and documentary into new configurations were justified, whether they were for legal or aesthetic reasons, the effect it ends up having is making the viewer feel like they're simply not getting everything they should.
entertain - to keep a group of people interested or amused:
We hired a magician to entertain the children.
Most children's television programmes aim to educate and entertain at the same time.
entertainer - someone whose job is to entertain people by singing, telling jokes, etc.
entertaining - amusing and enjoyable:
an entertaining story/film
His books aren't particularly well-written, but they're always entertaining.
entertainment - shows, films, television, or other performances or activities that entertain people, or a performance of this type:
There's not much in the way of entertainment in this town - just the cinema and a couple of pubs.
FORMAL This season's entertainments include five new plays and several concerts of Chinese and Indian music.
reviewed by Victoria Alexander
Arthur: Clive Owen
Lancelot: Ioan Gruffudd
Tristan: Mads Mikkelsen
Gawain: Joel Edgerton
Galahad: Hugh Dancy
Guinevere: Keira Knightley
Merlin: Stephen Dillane
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: David Franzoni
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Executive producers: Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, Ned Dowd
Director of photography: Slawomir Idziak
Production designer: Dan Weil
Music: Hans Zimmer
Costume designer: Penny Rose
Editors: Conrad Buff, Jamie Pearson
Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Running time - 126 minutes
QUOTE: Who cares about the toying of a sacred legend? This film works on it’s own merits.
It’s the name recognition that pulls us in, but screenwriter David Franzoni has created persuasive masculine heroes, and director Antoine Fuqua provides a dazzling, cold and fierce medieval landscape for these men to exploit the beginning of the King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table legend.
The only misstep is Guinevere (Keira Knightley). Here she is a battle-hungry nymph in a costume straight out of Milla Jovovich’s THE FIFTH ELEMENT closet. This sweet 19 year old is the best archer and ruthless fighter in Arthur’s band of hell-raisers. She swings a heavy sword and spits out war cries.
I liked the story: It begins in 452 A.D. and the Roman Empire’s outposts are under constant attack. A small group of six Samaritan warriors are under the command of a half-British/half-Roman officer Lucius Artorius Castus (Clive Owen). Arthur, as he was known in Britain, was forced to join the Roman army at a young age for 15 years.
His knights, well known to us, are Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd), Bors (a very unSEXY BEAST Ray Winstone), Galahad (Hugh Dancy), Dagonet (Ray Stevenson), Gawain (Joel Edgerton) and Tristan (Mads Mikkelsen).
On the day they are to be given their letter of freedom from warrior servitude, Arthur is assigned one more task: On the direct orders from the Pope, he and his men are to rescue a Roman nobleman and his family, which includes the Pope’s favorite godson. Arthur and his men must journey to Hadrian’s Wall where they meet up with tattooed fighters known as Woads under the leadership of the magician Merlin (Stephen Dillane). Merlin joins forces with Arthur against the pursuing barbarian Saxons led by Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgard) and his son Cynric (Til Schweiger). The ferocious Saxons are ready to seize Britain as the Romans retreat, killing everyone in their wake.
In the Roman nobleman’s dungeon, Arthur finds a chained Guinevere. She’s an expert killer masquerading as a peasant girl. As Lancelot keeps eying her beauty, she falls in love with Arthur.
While Owen and Gruffudd are engrossing, strong characters tethered to testosterone, it is Skarsgard who is original and electrifying in his tribal ruthlessness as the sadistic leader of the Saxons. In one great scene, the Saxon leader revels in finally meeting Arthur on the battlefield. The subliminal conflict between Cerdic and his son Cynric and the dominant idea of religion creating wars, elevates this script into the vein of GLADIATOR.
This is not the King Arthur of legend. He and his men are battle weary and dispassionate killers. Fugua is the right director for bringing a hardened backdrop to the harsh ways of pre-medieval life. The battle scenes are authentically brutal and there is a wonderful scene on ice that is thrilling and the highlight of the film.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - Abridged
Presented by the Reduced Shakespeare Company
By Adam Long, Daniel Singer, Jess Winfield,
with additional material by Reed Martin.
Piccadilly Circus, WC2
Tube Piccadilly Circus
Eves Wed-Sat 8pm
Mats Thur 3pm, Sat 5pm, Sun 4pm
Duration: 115 mins
Prices: UKP6.00- UKP25.00
All of Shakespeare's plays, plus sonnets, stuffed into 97 frenetic minutes.
The bard transformed as rap artist, American football pundit and speed freak in what is now the longest running comedy on the West End stage. The piece has lost some of its original shock value but the three American performers have kept the energy levels up and regular infusions of new gags keep the stew simmering along nicely.
The trio turn their caustic talents to their native land on Tuesday nights (8pm) at the same venue with The Complete History of America (Abridged).
'The spontaniety which might once have driven such a lazy and perfunctory exercise is long gone. It just ain't fun any more.' Time Out
The British Museum
The British Museum holds in trust for the nation and the world a collection of art and antiquities from ancient and living cultures. Housed in one of Britain's architectural landmarks, the collection is one of the finest in existence, spanning two million years of human history. Access to the collections is free.
The British Museum was founded in 1753 to promote universal understanding through the arts, natural history and science in a public museum. Since its foundation, the British Museum has been guided by three important principles: that the collections are held in perpetuity in their entirety; that they are widely available to all who seek to enjoy and learn from them and that they are curated by full-time specialists.
The British Museum's international standing and its key role in the display of the world's and nation's heritage make it one of the most-visited public buildings in London, contributing to its cultural and economic life. London's largest covered public square, the Great Court has changed the face of Bloomsbury as a cultural quarter.
As a social enterprise the British Museum has exceptional reach. It creates a context in which cultures can be seen, experienced and studied in depth or compared and contrasted across time and space to inspire and delight over five million visitors a year. Through its public, curatorial, exhibition and education programmes the Museum engages with the public to advance understanding of the collections and cultures they represent.
Hello and welcome to the world of Hollywood collectibles and related movie / film
… Original Studio Issued Movie Posters … ( Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Western, etc. )
… Original Studio Issued Lobby Cards … ( Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Western, etc. )
… Movie Star Photos / Stills ... ( Black & White and Color ). Images of many big stars.
… Sheet Music … ( Vintage Hollywood related plus others dating back to the 1890s )
… Magazines, Magazine Ads, Books ... ( Some dating back to the 1920s )
… Original Cartoon Animation Art ... ( Flintstones, Mighty Mouse, Smurfs, etc. )
… Press Books ... ( Originals issued to the theatres to promote films locally )
… Vintage TV Paper Items ... ( TV Guides, books, photos, etc. )
… Some Toys, Films ( 8 MM Only ) and Records
… Comic Books ... ( Westerns, Disney, etc. )
… Vintage Sports Photos and Sports Posters
… Miscellaneous Items … ( Movie Star Postcards, Movie Star Buttons )
I have some items dating back to the 1890s. I buy, sell, trade and occasionally accept consignments for the items listed above. I look for items in the best possible condition.
What is your favorite film or films? I may have the poster. Poster collecting is a recent trend (30 to 40 years). The hobby has expanded into the commercial art collecting field which includes film buffs, serious investors, galleries and several museums featuring posters.
These posters bring back great memories for you, your relatives and friends. Framed, they make very, very unusual gifts. People and businesses use them for decorating offices, home theatre or recreation rooms and for collecting. Film collectors need them to go along with their favorite films. Prices at major auctions of rare original items ( Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Snow White, etc. ) have gone way up. However, other popular movie posters from the 1940s through the 1990s are available and affordable -- to date. But, prices keep rising. People are hoarding them. So, if you want some items, buy them now or pay more later. People can identify with Hollywood memorabilia. They have favorite stars and/or films.