Milos Forman created a masterpiece when he filmed OneFlew
over the Cuckoo’s Nest
in 1975, based on the novel by Ken Kesey. When 
I watched this film for the first time, I did not see actors portraying the
characters but the characters as real people that I felt for. The premise of
the film, is determining who is “normal,” or sane (both are relative terms),
and who is not in the mental institution that the majority of the film takes place in.       

The opening or establishing shot of the film is absolutely beautiful. It is
a shot of the sun rising behind a mountain; the only artificial or man-made 
thing in the entire shot is a pair of headlights that belong to the car bringing 
Jack Nicholson’s character, McMurphy, to the mental institution. If you did not
hear the music in the establishing shot, you would think that it was very
peaceful and that there was nothing wrong. There are some birds calling and the
sun rising, but there is also some slightly ominous or at the very least
unsettling music that gradually becomes noticeable. The score that Jack Nitzsche
wrote for this scene feels a bit foreboding, it is just unsettling enough to
make the audience think that not all is as it
seems, a common theme throughout the movie. At the ending of the film,
Forman essentially recreates this shot, bookending the movie with shots of
peaceful paradise. This closing shot seems to tell the audience that
everything is as it should be, whether they truly are or not remains
unknown but the audience is allowed to assume that things are as they
should be. That is the power that two simple and similar shots can have in 
one movie.   
As for the acting, it is absolutely amazing. I think that it is even more 
amazing now that I have an even better understanding of what all is required of 
the actors in a cinema production. The movie may be filmed out of continuity,
not in chronological order, there is not a lot of rehearsal time, the other
actors in the scene may not be present, and they have to make it their marks.
The actors have to do all of this and at the same timelook natural while doing
it and behave like there is no camera there. The actors in One
Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
achieve all of this and
I at the very least felt an emotional attachment to the characters very
early on in the film. At first, McMurphy is the only character that seems
truly human and because of that he feels unpredictable, like you literally
have no idea what he is capable of but you know that whatever he sets his
mind to he can do it. The other characters,inmates of the mental
hospital, are all very stoic and passive compared to McMurphy at the very
least. Granted these characters are all on meds so that is a
contributing factor, but they are almost not human. Throughout the
filmthough they regain their humanity and they become fully human
again through McMurphy’s help.  

When Billy (Brad Dourif) talks about his suicide attempt you feel his
pain, the acting is that good. When McMurphy throws the party, you can feel the 
happiness that the characters feel, same as when they all go fishing. It is a 
new experience for them to be happy; it is like they are experiencing the world
for the first time again. In the end (spoiler alert) when Billy commits suicide,
the despair and humiliation that he feels is like a physical thing in the room
with you as you watch it and I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him it
would all be ok if he would just hold on a little bit longer. Also when (spoiler
alert) the Chief kills McMurphy you can really tell that he thinks he is setting
McMurphy free because the Chief knows that McMurphy would not want to continue
on in the state of mind that he is in at that point, because the mental hospital
literally made him crazy by messing with his brain. 

Overall, this is a phenomenal movie and anyone who has not seen it should 
go and see it. That acting is incredible and so are the cinematography, 
directing, and producing. It is truly no wonder that the film won five Oscars, 
along with thirty other wins and twelve other

Sources Cited

Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  Dir. Milos Forman. Perf. Jack
Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, and Michael Berryman.
  Fantasy Films, 1975.

One Flew over the
Cuckoo’s Nest
.” IMDB., Inc. 1990-2013. Web. 24, Oct.

 Prince, Stephen
R. Movies and Meaning: an Introduction to Film.
6th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson
Education, Inc., 2013. Print.
It is no wonder that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has
was nominated for and won so many awards when it was released in 1969, including
but not limited to Oscars, BFTA, Golden Globes, and many more. The entire movie
is incredible and there is too much to do an overall in one blog entry, so in
this entry I am going to focus on the cinematography (lighting and colors) of
the film. I am not going to look at the overall cinematography of the film
because that is still too much, so I will be focusing on color throughout the
film with regards to what it does to the audience’s perception. 
The film starts out in an almost black and white color scheme when Butch
and Sundance are in town casing the bank. It comes off as nearly black and white
because there is such low color saturation (intensity of the color), but as the
characters enter the wilderness and progress to their robbing of the train the
color saturation gets richer and richer very subtly. Speaking of the characters
going out into the wild, the film also employs an expert use of the rule of
thirds with the wilderness shots. In the rule of thirds, the camera is
positioned so that there are three distinct lines in the shot, in Butch
when George Roy Hill (director) includes shots of the wilderness
  the lines are very clean. The mountains as the center, the prairie in the
  foreground and the sky line to complete the thirds of the shot. Moving back to
  color, the character Etta has a very interesting dynamic in the world of color.
  When the audience first meets her she is wearing very white and bright clothes
  and the sun is up providing a lot of naturally bright, happy lighting for the
  scene between Etta, Butch, and the bicycle. However, when they all move to
  Bolivia, Etta’s colors change. She is wearing darker colors such as the
  burgundy/red skirt suit, or the more neutral/natural tones when she is riding
  away from the bank job with the boys. This shift in color sends subliminal
  messages to the audience letting them know that Etta is now an accomplice in
  the robberies, no longer just the love interest of the two main characters. 
The way the traveling was shown through black and white pictures was
something I was unsure of when it first began, but it was able to provide the
audience with a lot of information in a short amount of time and it also showed
a lot more of the relationship between the three of them than certain dialogue
scenes are capable of. There is also the stark contrast of the black and white
photographs that switch to a very white and kind of washed out image of Bolivia
and the place that they end up living. There is also the contrast of the natural
colors used in the states throughout the movie such as the greens and browns,
but when they move to Bolivia the colors shift. In Bolivia there is a lot of
pale brown to the point of near white, there are deem maroon/burgundy reds,
deeper greens, and less dirt browns. The combination of all these color changes
helps emphasize that they are in an unfamiliar place and they need to adjust
very quickly in order to survive. 
There is very little true red shown throughout the movie, but when it is
used, it is extremely vibrant. There are two main times that the red is
intensely noticeable, the first is when Butch and Sundance are on the run from
the group tracking them and they have scratches on their faces, and the second
time is right during the final stand off and they are injured. Both of these
instances involve blood on the male leads of the film. The other colors present
throughout these scenes tend to be more natural/neutral, throwing the red blood
into a much sharper contrast than it would be when paired with other vibrant or
highly saturated colors. The blood, even in something as small as a scratch on
the face serves as a reminder to the audience that these characters are indeed
There are very simple things that cinematographers can do to create a
shift in emotion of the audience, such as a minute shift in the lighting, color
saturation, or even something as subtle as the camera angle. Many people are not
aware of these things until they study them; I know I was very blind to the
factors that enabled the film creators to manipulate my emotions until I began
studying them in cinema class. Cinematography is one of those parts of creation
that seem to fly under the radar of a lot of fans of the film, but
cinematography can make or break a film. It is complex, confusing, spectacular,
and subtle, and when done correctly it can change your world. 
Sources Cited

Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  Dir. George Roy Hill. Perf. Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katherine and Ross.
  Twentieth Century Fox, 1969. DVD. 

Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid
.” IMDB.,
Inc. 1990-2013. Web. 12, Oct. 2013. 

Prince, Stephen R. Movies and Meaning: an Introduction to
. 6th ed. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc., 2013.


    I am a sophomore in college and I started this blog as part of a class.


    October 2013