25 May 2013 4:02 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

After years of minor and starring roles in low-budget independent pictures (mostly exploitation flicks produced by Roger Corman), Jack Nicholson achieved star status playing unaccommodated outsiders in two major countercultural films, Easy Rider (1969) and Five Easy Pieces (1970). Thus began a string of critical and popular successes that included Carnal Knowledge, Chinatown, The Last Detail and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But there was, in 1972, the critical and box-office disaster of The King of Marvin Gardens, now a rarely revived cult classic back in cinemas and on DVD thanks to Park Circus.

One of the most downbeat movies of the time, it features Nicholson as the deeply depressed, anti-charismatic David Staebler, who earns a modest living telling miserable tales about his family in the early hours of the morning on a Philadelphia FM radio station. He's lured at the height of winter to the once grand, now decaying New Jersey »

- Philip French

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