A film that helped to cement Jack Nicholson
's reputation as an actor willing to take roles on the bleeding edge, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was also notable for giving director Milos Forman
a solid position in American cinema...and for giving composer Jack Nitzsche
a place to show what he could do. As it is, the edgy nature of the film extends into the score, giving it a profoundly disturbing feel at times -- even when it appears to be relatively normal. The music has a tendency to always be a little off-kilter, and from time to time it tilts completely over into a strange little world of its own (something very familiar to fans of Van Dyke Parks
, with whom Nitzsche worked quite a bit). It's a pity that this score has faded from sight over the time since its 1991 remastering; the music has certainly continued to stand up well over time.