…one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, but for the last time. They’re tearing it down.
Oregon State Hospital, the site producer Michael Douglas chose to make his groundbreaking, disturbing 1975 film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, will finally — actually, at long last — face the wrecking ball.
The movie, filmed almost entirely at this dilapidated, overpopulated mental facility, hit the Grand Slam at the Oscars in 1976, winning not only Best Picture, but Best Director (Milos Forman, later of Amadeus fame, another Oscar BP winner), Best Actor (Jack Nicholson) and Best Actress (Louise Fletcher, as the evil Nurse Ratched). Throw about a hundred other awards in there, and you pretty much have it covered. It’s also listed at #7 on IMDB’s Top 250 of all time list. (Look at #1…cool.)
My parents would have never let me see it in the theater (I was a sophomore in high school when it came out), so it wasn’t until the late 80s that I actually saw it, on video, for the first time. In a word: chilling. And realistic.
For those who don’t know — and if you don’t, you really must rent it — the film is about a guy named Randle Patrick McMurphy, a repeat felon who avoids another prison sentence by pretending he’s crazy. What happens to him at the mental hospital is both funny and depressing; hopeful and desperate — and horrifying and profoundly sad in about a dozen different ways. That’s all I’ma say about it. If you haven’t seen it, do so. It’s an emergency.
Right, so this post was supposed to be about the hospital. Remember the OSH story that broke in 2005? They found thousands of cremains from a hundred years ago through the 1970s in an abandoned room. Patients, largely forgotten in life, were left forgotten by family in death. Yep, time for the old place to come down. Apparently, the state is building a new, state-of-the-art mental health facility in its place.
Speaking of mental health…mine is dwindling at the hands of Gustav Mahler. Alas, I must get back to work on it.