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Actress who played Ratched can't stand 'Cuckoo's Nest'

 Posted: 2:00 AM October 04, 2012

SALEM — Louise Fletcher says she can't bear to watch "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" because the Nurse Ratched character she won an Oscar for is so cruel.

"I find it too painful," said Fletcher, 78.

"It comes with age. I can't watch movies that are inhumane."

Fletcher is returning this weekend to the institution where the movie was made in 1975, the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, the Statesman Journal reported.

The hospital, long under fire for inadequate programs and crumbling facilities, has been rebuilt in recent years. Fletcher is attending the opening of its Museum of Mental Health.

The movie is based on the novel by Oregon writer Ken Kesey. It centers on the struggle between the steely Nurse Ratched and Jack Nicholson's scheming character, Randall McMurphy, who eventually gets a lobotomy for leading a rebellion among the prisoners on his ward. "I was really shocked in those scenes where I was actually so cruel," Fletcher said.

In 1975, Dr. Dean Brooks, then the superintendent, opened the campus to the cast and crew. Fletcher said she was in the city 11 weeks, filming six days a week. He and Fletcher have stayed in touch — they talk by phone each July 22, their common birthday.

Brooks recalls the actress as being nothing like the character: "I have found her to be angelic."


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