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The Last Detail [DVD] 
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Jack Nicholson is at his very best in this highly-acclaimed dramatic comedy about three sailors on the loose. Two hard-boiled career petty officers, Buddusky (Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young), aredetailed to take a young sailor, Meadows (Randy Quaid), from a Virginia Naval Base to a New Hampshire Naval Prison to serve an eight-year sentence for a trivial offense. Buddusky and Mulhall take a liking to Meadows and are determined to show him a good time on their journey north. Their escapades begin in Washington where they narrowly escape a bar fight, then get blind drunk in their hotel room. In New York, they tangle with some Marines, and in Boston, Buddusky takes Meadows to a brothel forhis first sexual experience. Finally, after reluctantly turning in Meadows, Buddusky and Mulhall realize they are as much prisoners of their own world as Meadows now is of his.
The Last Detail nearly didn't get a release. Columbia, for whom it was made, was alarmed by the movie's barrage of profanity and resented the unorthodox working style of its director, Hal Ashby, who loathed producers and made no secret of it. Only when the film picked up a Best Actor Award for Jack Nicholson at Cannes did the studio reluctantly grant it a release--with minimal promotion--to widespread critical acclaim. Nicholson, in one of his best roles, plays "Bad-ass" Buddusky, a naval petty officer detailed, along with his black colleague "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young), to escort an offender from Virginia to the harsh naval prison at Portsmouth, NH. The miscreant is a naïve youngster, Meadows (Randy Quaid), who's been given eight years for stealing $40 from his CO's wife's favourite charity. The escorts, at first cynically detached, soon start feeling sorry for Meadows and decide to show him a good time in his last few days of freedom.
Ashby, a true son of 60s counterculture, avidly abets the anti-authoritarian tone of Robert Towne's script. Meadows is a sad victim of the system--but so too are Buddusky and Mulhall, as they gradually come to realise. A lot of the film is very funny. Nicholson gets to do one of his classic psychotic outbursts--"I am the fucking shore patrol!"--and there are some pungent scenes of male bonding pushed to the verge of desperation. But the overall tone is melancholy, pointed up by the jaunty military marches on the soundtrack. Shot amid bleak, wintry landscapes, in buses and trains and grey urban streets, The Last Detail is a film of constant, compulsive movement going nowhere--a powerful, finely acted study of institutional claustrophobia.
On the DVD: The Last Detail disc doesn't have much in the way of extras. There are abbreviated filmographies for Ashby, Nicholson and Quaid (though not for Young) and a trailer for A Few Good Men (1992). The mono sound comes up well in Dolby Digital, and the transfer preserves DoP Michael Chapman's subtle, subfusc palette and the 1.85:1 ratio of the original. --Philip KempSee all Product description
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on 16 August 2017
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Further proof Ashby is one of the most talented directors of his generation. Stands comfortably alongside his other leftfield and culturally significant gems: Harold and Maude, Being There and Coming Home. Although it has a loose, almost improvised/naturalistic feel and slow-ish pace, there is a touching melancholy at its core and the tender portrayal of the three main characters (boosted by fantastic performances from Nicholson et al) leave you feeling fuzzy and moved (if a tad depressed).
on 1 May 2017
Format: Amazon VideoVerified Purchase
I had sen this move at the time it came out, and it is just as powerful as at the time. Or even more, as in the era of political correctness the dramatically realistic portraits of the lives and behaviour of these sailors is even more shocking. Nicholson is a nuclear bomb of an actor here. Great.
on 20 October 2003
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
'We ain't leaving this town until we've got ourselves a belly-full of beer!' Jack Nicholson's smile seems to spread halfway across the screen. This film's like the canal near my old house: it seems a lot shallower than it actually is. It's about lots of things - the way men bond; the effects of a broken home; America after Vietnam - but they're all wrapped up subtly in humourous scenes which could easily be misunderstood as merely 'laddish'. Fantastic script, fantastic editing, and all put together perfectly by Hal Ashby. In my opinion, this is an overlooked New Hollywood classic.
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Most recent customer reviews
I'd always been a bit scared of The Last Detail; the larey cover, the promise of navy life; but it isn't like that...Read more
New to Amazon Prime, I thought it was a free to view video. Cost me £19 for one view!. Film itself was ok, but for £19 I would expect a private viewing in Hollywood.Read more
Three good lead actors , especially Nicholson, make this a great movie. There are some interesting contemporary themes (from 40 years ago) and there is a lot of swearing if that...Read more
This is my first purchase of a bluray by 'Indicator', and im not dissapointed. Brilliant transfer, sound is good, not the best, sometimes the dialogue is quiet, but i put that...Read more
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