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I was so cruel, says Cuckoo nurse

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

"I was really shocked in those scenes where I was actually so cruel," Fletcher said of the movie, which starred Jack Nicholson.

In 1975, Dr Dean Brooks, then the superintendent, opened the campus to the cast and crew.

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

Fletcher said it wasn't until she saw the film for the first time with an audience, in Chicago, that she was convinced she pulled it off. "They all stood up and cheered in the theatre and were stomping their feet. That got to me. I realised, 'Hey, I created a real villain here.'"