Mid-Point: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The two-disk release of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’s nest features a great commentary by director Milos Forman and producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz.

Forman is known for his ability to bring out phenomenal performances.

In his trademark Czech accent he expands on his process, from selecting the cast to cutting their dialogue.

Zaentz tells how people at the time didn’t recognise Jack Nicholson (yet), but asked Michael Douglas for autographs instead. The anecdotes are at times moving, as Forman tells about William Redfield’s illness during the shoot and his subsequent death of leukemia.

From a story point of view, I found it surprising to hear that Forman wanted to cut the fishing trip out of the movie. Apart from marking the story’s mid-point reversal, this sequence also gives us a taste of how McMurphy’s story could possibly end. But the director had a problem with the duration and as he says:

“I cut it down television style, under two hours. And you know what was funny? It felt much longer.”

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