I was a little too young to watch Chinatown in the theatres when it was first released and sadly it wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I was able to first catch this absolute masterpiece of film neo-noir by Roman Polanski (Rosemary’s Baby) and starring Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining), Faye Dunaway (Bonnie & Clyde, Network), and John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Would Be King).
Since I’m firmly entrenched in playing Rockstar’s film Noir inspired game, L.A. Noire, it seemed the perfect time to post about Chinatown!
A big thanks to Jacknicholsonbr for posting this over at YouTube!
Set in Los Angeles during 1937, the film is based on historical disputes in Southern California that had reared their head during the 1910’s and 1920’s. Though I won’t spoil what the disputes were actually over…it is kind of important to the plot of the story and I refuse to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing the film yet.
Just a little bit of trivia, the weasel with the knife in the trailer that attacks Jack Nicholson is the film’s director, Roman Polanski. This was also the last movie that Polanski filmed in the U.S. as he fled to France in 1977 for charges against him involving a minor.
If you found yourself intrigued by the trailer above go ahead and do yourself a favor and take some time to watch this film, I’d would say it ranks in my top ten movies of all time.
My father really enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I never asked him why. Did he like Nicholson or was it the work of Forman? I have no idea. What I do know is that as a very young man, me and my two sisters all saw this film. I do not exactly remember the where and why, but I remember it simply because it freaked me out. I was waaaaay too young to understand what was going on. It wouldn’t be until the 1990s that I would get up the courage to watch the film again and seeing it through adult eyes made me fall in live with the film. Nicholson’s scary yet effortless charm, a great tragic yet unpredictable story and a cavalcade of amazing supporting players (maybe I do know what my father liked about it). The day after that second viewing I went and bought a copy of the film on VHS and that copy has served me well for many decades, but no longer. I now have something much better and much more powerful The 35th Anniversary Collector’s Blu-ray edition of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Overview A nice rest in a state mental hospital beats a stretch in the pen, right? Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson), a free-spirited con with lightning in his veins and glib on his tongue, fakes insanity and moves in with what he calls the “nuts.” Immediately, his contagious sense of disorder runs up against numbing routine. No way should guys pickled on sedatives shuffle around in bathrobes when the World Series is on. This means war! On one side is McMurphy. On the other is soft-spoken Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher), among the most coldly monstrous villains in film history. At stake is the fate of every patient on the ward. Based on Ken Kesey’s acclaimed bestseller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest swept all five major 1975 Academy Awards: Best Picture (produced by Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas), Actor (Nicholson), Actress (Fletcher), Director (Milos Forman) and Adapted Screenplay (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman). Raucous, searing and with a superb cast that includes Brad Dourif, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd in his film debut, this one soars.
I have wanted to replace my copy for a while, but I have been waiting for an HD solution and I am glad I did, this set looks great and has a lot of extras including:
* A full-length commentary by director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz
* Completely Cuckoo – A feature-length documentary about the making of the film
* A brand new interview with producer Michael Douglas,
* Deleted scenes
* The original trailer
* Playing cards
* Character cards
* Pre-production correspondence
If you are not a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest scholar before you get this set, you will once you get through wading through all it has to offer.
Other HD Offering of Cuckoo’s Nest
I know a lot of you have been trying to go disc-less and I think that is great. If you are, you can pick up One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest through iTunes with extras like the all-new interviews with Michael Douglas and the Deleted Scenes.
The Terror was an interesting little low budget gem I watched this morning. It is a typical Roger Corman classic, which means it is decent, despite Corman’s rush job. This is due mainly to the performances of the movie’s two leads – a very old Boris Karloff and a very young Jack Nicholson. The plot is not that important, but here it is: A baron rules over an isolated castle on the Baltic coast, where a Napoleonic officer appears after becoming intrigued by the presence of a mysterious and beautiful woman. Nicholson is great and you can see future star written all over him. Karloff is looking his age in this flick, but is still in every way Nicholson’s equal. Now if the movie was not in the public domain, I might not say you should see it, but since you can stream it off many free sites, why not just put it on in the background and watch for some of the scenes with Jack in them. You will not be disappointed. Watch the Terror for free online at YouTube or Hulu.
This is a really useful movie for people who like to play Six Degrees of Separation. Linking Nicholson to a golden age of horror star is very useful.