in the book the real evil
person … she’s sort of like a machine. There’s a lot of machine imagery in the
book and in this film when Fletcher brings another component to the film
completely. She had sort of a sexually ambiguous sexual attraction to Nicholson,
so you really don’t know the direction, and way the film is going to
go. So I …her performance surprised me and was one of the pleasant surprises in the
film. It’s a good film. It’s a little bit of a disappointing film. I think it
wasn’t quite the overwhelming experience that I’d expected. I think one of the
problems was that Foreman didn’t just stay with the human element of these
people we meet – the people in the ward. We begin to care about them and their
problems, and that’s good – and Nicholson is good when he’s interacting with those
people, but when Foreman backs up and tries to make his big points about the
establishment, and authority, and sanity, and insanity I think at that point the
movie loses its touch a little bit. I think it also backs up in trying to
give Nicholson so many great things. It’s almost like United Artists can count on
another million dollars in gross every time Nicholson has a riot scene.
And there’s so many, and the film is packed so solid that I think that the essence
of Jack Nicholson is lost by overkill sometimes. All the same, the audience
did love it, as we mentioned at the film festival and love that for scenes like
this one: Nicholson has all the guys out playing basketball, including about a 30 year old
aging Indian Chief who hasn’t spoken in 12 years. He’s allegedly a deaf-mute,
and as we can see in this clip this the chief is not exactly a natural athlete.
Editor’s Note: Siskel’s & Ebert’s review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was generally positive, but the pair did express frustrated criticism with the direction of the film. Elsewhere in the clip, Roger Ebert mentions Nicholson as one of Ebert’s favorite American actors in film.