A sharp eyed reader of The Far Corner alerted me that Kirk Douglas took his one man show “Before I Forget” onstage last Friday in Los Angeles. Undaunted by his ninety plus years, the man behind the man behind One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest also uses his Myspace blog to actively support the reparation movement.
March 9th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · Interviews, Side Notes, Videos
March 7th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Side Notes
My mistake! Milos Forman didn’t get a phone call asking him to direct One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The offer came in the mail.
Michael Douglas, Milos Forman, Louise Fletcher, Jack Nicholson and Saul Zaentz celebrate their 1975 Oscar sweep for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
“I holed up in the Chelsea Hotel in Greenwich Village, he recalls, sleeping 23 hours a day. My close friend Ivan Passer, another Czech filmmaker, would visit a psychiatrist, tell him my symptoms, and then come back to my hotel to relate what the doctor had said.”
Forman was close to a nervous collapse in 1973 when he got a package from Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz containing a copy of Ken Kesey’s hit novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
This apparently jinxed project had been turned down by all major Hollywood studios: “Who wants to go see a film about a bunch of loonies?” Douglas and Zaentz asked Forman if he would be interested in making a film of the book. “Of course I said yes. I loved the novel from the start and thought it would make a wonderful movie. This showed me that it’s much more comfortable to slip into a state of acute depression here than back home. In Prague, if the government says, ‘no-you can’t make this film,’ that’s it. But in America, if one studio tells you ‘no,’ the next day comes along Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz who say, ‘yes-we want you to make this film.”
March 7th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Scorecard series, Side Notes
When Milos Forman came to Oregon to shoot One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, he was following in the footsteps of three of his new colleagues.
Star Jack Nicholson had just finished directing his own Oregon film.
Producer Michael Douglas had just finished starring in his own Oregon film.
Father Kirk Douglas, who gave the film rights to Kesey’s novel to son Michael, began his own producing career years before with his own Oregon film.
Total number of Oregon filmmakers working on Cuckoo’s Nest: 4 (counting Milos himself)
March 6th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · Interviews, Side Notes
From a wonderful interview of Milos Forman by one time Oregonian (and rumored Mary’s Club dancer) Courtney Love:
Courtney Love: Can I confront you with something I’ve been thinking about your canon of movies? With all the hardships you went through in your life, growing up under the Nazis and the Communists, there is still no bitterness in your movies. There is no hate. But there is the subtext that if you buck the system, you get a little fucked. In Valmont, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Man on the Moon, there is the idea that if you buck the system you get a lobotomy or you die of consumption or of cancer, or you become a quadriplegic. If you fall in love when you are not supposed to, you die. Tell me about this.
Milos Forman: Listen, I didn’t really experience the fist of authority in my life because I left Czechoslovakia pretty early. And while I was there I was just an observer. But I knew artists who committed suicide after being attacked by authorities.
Milos Forman directed Danny Devito (above) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He directed Courtney Love (above) in The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Man on the Moon.
March 6th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Side Notes, Videos
The original producer for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was Kirk, not Michael, Douglas. Michael Douglas acquired the movie rights to the novel as a gift from his dad, who had starred in the 1964 Broadway play and hoped to star in the film. Neophyte producer Michael Douglas made cinematic history by defying his father’s wishes. He offered the role to James Caan, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman and Burt Reynolds, before he finally found a taker in Jack Nicholson.
Kirk Douglas was miffed, and no wonder. It is easy to see why Kirk Douglas saw himself as Randal P. McMurphy, the man who challenges his roommates in the looney bin to think for themselves. As a producer, Douglas defied industry practice in 1960 when he openly credited blacklisted Dalton Trumbo with authorship of the screenplay for Spartacus, a decision widely viewed as bringing an end to the blacklist all together.
Spartacus was the ninth film made by Kirk Douglas’ Bryna Productions company. The Indian Fighter, an Oregon film, was the first.
March 5th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Side Notes
The screenplay for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest was written by industry legend, Bo Goldman. Here Goldman drinks coffee in Salem’s Oregon State Hospital, where most of One Flew over The Cuckoo’s Nest was shot. The man beside him I believe is Michael Douglas, who co-produced with Saul Zaentz.
Nobody likes it when the producer visits the set, which is why Michael Douglas is trying to make himself invisible by looking as if he is tremendously interested in whatever Bo is saying.
March 5th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · Oregon filmmaker
Milos Forman was about to throw in the towel on his career when he got a call asking if he would like to direct One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Already an internationally acclaimed filmmaker (Loves of a Blonde, Fireman’s Ball) when he arrived in this country, his first American film, Taking Off, had not been financially successful, and he was about to give up and go back to Czechloslovakia.
At the time the call came, Forman was living down the hall from Oregon filmmaker, and famed Chelsea Hotel eccentric, Harry Smith.
Good thing Milos was home when the phone rang! Here he is, twenty years and two Oscars later.
March 5th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Oregon film, Oregon film new definition, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary), Oregon writer
Based on a book by an Oregon author, and shot on location in the Oregon State Mental Hospital, Cuckoo’s Nest is the most widely recognized Oregon film.
March 4th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Lost film, Oregon film, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary)
The first and last film to be shot entirely in sign language, DEAFULA is probably one of the most earth-shattering works of all time. Other IMDB users waste their breath on insults, but I dare you to find a better example of: *a toddler tearing the throat out of a puppy. *a policeman flapping his arms like a bird *hippies stabbing priests *hunchbacks with tin cans for hands *a tiny troll-like policeman that rightfully makes a mockery of all the people of England. …If you can’t enjoy this movie, you are not a human being.
From IMDB.com user comments for Deafula.
Just as Twilight is about high school student who refuses to give into to his vampire nature, Deafula was about a theology student unaware of his own bloodsucking DNA. Told only that he has a strange blood condition which requires monthly transfusions administered by his father, all hell breaks loose when his father falls ill, and can no longer give the transfusions.
I have never seen Deafula. Shot in Oregon, using Portland and Eastern Oregon locations, it is lost film.
Deafula was written and directed by Peter Wechsberg, who also starred. I hereby claim it as an Oregon film.
March 4th, 2009 by Anne Richardson · 1970's, Oregon film, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (cameo)
Astound your friends by seeing a film no one else has heard of.
Lost In The Stars is an American Film Theater production preserving Brock Peters’ 1972 Broadway star turn as Stephen Kumalo, the heartbroken clergyman who counsels his son to tell the truth on the witness stand, even if it means facing death.
Lost In The Stars first opened on Broadway in 1949. Composer Kurt Weill was hard at work on his next project, a musical version of Huckleberry Finn, when he died in 1950.
In the first sequence of Lost In The Stars, Stephen Kumalo boards a train outside Cottage Grove which will take him to Johannesburg.
I hereby certify the long standing claim that Lost In The Stars is an Oregon film, based on this cameo appearance of Southern Oregon passing for South Africa.