HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
   
 
  Last Detail, The In The Navy
Year: 1973
Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Otis Young, Randy Quaid, Clifton James, Carol Kane, Luana Anders, Michael Moriarty, Kathleen Miller, Nancy Allen, Gerry Salsberg, Don McGovern, Pat Hamilton, Michael Chapman, Jim Henshaw, Derek McGrath, Gilda Radner
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Navy man Billy "Badass" Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) was enjoying a quiet nap until he was told to report to a higher ranking officer (Clifton James) for his detail. He wasn't the only one either, as "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young) is there when he reluctantly arrives at the office to receive his orders. It seems they both have to escort a young prisoner, Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to military jail where he will spend the next eight years. Wondering what he has done to deserve such a sentence, Buddusky and Mulhall discover that the sentence is down to petty theft: Meadows stole the grand total of forty dollars from a polio charity box, and as the charity is the pet project of the commanding officer's wife the punishment is strict. However, when they meet Meadows, it dawns on them that jail is the last thing he needs...

Nowadays we can take swearing in films for granted, but when Robert Towne's wrote the script for The Last Detail, taken from Darryl Ponicsan's novel, he peppered the story with strong language of a kind unheard of in such density in an American film. This lends the production a real life air, as you wouldn't expect sailors to be speaking in tones of terrible politeness, but funnily enough the Navy wasn't impressed and refused to co-operate with the filmmakers. However this may have been more to do with the anti-establishment theme that gradually arises from the characters' journey, and specifically seasoned military men Buddusky and Mulhall's consciousness raising that occurs, leaving them seriously dissatisfied by the end.

The journey that the three men embark on is a cross country one, and once they board the bus Meadows' guards take a little time to get to know their charge. He is an eighteen-year-old innocent, not so much innocent of the crime he has been convicted of, but naive to the ways of the world; when Buddusky and Mulhall are told by him that he never even got away with the money but was apprehended before he had removed his hand from the box they can scarcely believe his bad luck and idiocy. Mulhall may wish to keep Meadows at arm's length, but Buddusky feels more protective towards him and for the handful of days they spend together, takes him under his wing.

Nicholson is the standout in the cast, earthy, foul mouthed but simmering with undirected emotions beneath the surface - it's one of his very best performances. That's not to dismiss his co-stars, as both Young (why didn't his career take off after this?) and Quaid are excellent, yet don't quite shine as much as Nicholson who tends to dominate the screen, and he's in just about every scene, which helps. If there's a problem with The Last Detail, it's that without the strong acting it would seem even more of a doodle than it is, as much of the plot is given over to the three men wandering about, rambling, and at one point getting drunk on what seems like a hundred cans of beer.

Predictably, the guards feel the need to make a man of Meadows and so escort him to a whorehouse where he is initiated by bored prostitute Carol Kane, but this sequence, with its dingy surroundings, lacks significance, even futile. Earlier on, they stumbled upon a new age religious meeting that caught the imagination of Meadows while the other two were unimpressed, and he receives his own chant which he thinks will magically cure his worries if he says it often enough - more proof of his lack of direction and the hopelessness of his situation. It's only in the latter stages that a sense of righteous anger is felt, where Buddusky and Mulhall grow powerlessly frustrated with a system that would put away a lost cause like Meadows, a system they are inextricably a part of, when what he really needs is guidance. Music by Johnny Mandel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4515 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Hal Ashby  (1929 - 1988)

Cult American director who started out as an editor, notably on such works as The Loved One, In the Heat of the Night (for which he won an Oscar) and The Thomas Crown Affair. Thanks to his friendship with Norman Jewison he was able to direct his first film, The Landlord, and the seventies represented the golden years of his career with his sympathetic but slightly empty dramas striking a chord with audiences. His films from this period were Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, Shampoo, Bound for Glory, Coming Home and Being There. But come the eighties, Ashby's eccentricities and drug dependency sabotaged his career, and he ended it directing a forgotten TV movie before his untimely death from cancer.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: