Cinema: Supergypsy

Jack Nicholson is either a mountebank or a highly gifted actor. Possibly he is both. As the dead-eyed hero of a couple of obscure westerns that he produced himself (The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind), he made Clint Eastwood look like Laurence Olivier. In Easy Rider, he walked on and won the film from Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda. Then he descended to his former persona in On a Clear Day, playing either Barbra Streisand's lover or a codfish. It was difficult to tell which.

Now, in Five Easy Pieces, Nicholson has retaken the high...

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