I love it when older titles are released on to the Blu-ray format providing they have been restored well. The film I’m reviewing here is a 1973 Jack Nicholson comedy, drama that has been released on dual format, that is to say you get both the Blu-ray and DVD. The question is if worth upgrading to? It’s time to find out here’s my The Last Detail Blu-ray review.
- The Last Detail (1973)
- UK Rating 18
- Discs: 2 (Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)
- Released By Indicator aka Powerhouse Films
Two Naval personnel, Buddusky and Mulhall (Jack Nicholson & Otis Young) are ordered to escort a young sailor Seaman Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) to Portsmouth Naval Prison in Maine.
What follows is in essence a road film, as Buddusky and Mulhall decide to take a detour along the way to show Meadows a good time.
Based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan.
Style / Direction
The Last Detail definitely falls into the road movie category as the journey starts off on bus and then train. It’s well shot and the pacing is just about perfect with the film always producing interesting situations.
Clearly the intention of the filmmakers is to suck in the two characters into the plight of the young Meadows and we the viewer find ourselves equally along for the ride. To be fair they achieve this very well.
One of the other big style choices is director Hal Ashby’s decision to use very long dissolves between scenes which gives the viewer time to process the emotion that has just occurred before moving on. I say very long we are only talking a couple of seconds but it has a huge effect on the emotional tone of the film. Personally I think it’s really well done and not a technique used very often these days in major films. Please feel free to prove me wrong with some examples.
Music / Audio Effects
The music is provided by Johnny Mandel. One of the main pieces of music used is done in the style of a military band that fits the tone of the film and reoccurs throughout. In some scenes a faster more comical style is used to seemingly poke fun at the farcical situation that Meadows finds himself in.
Acting / Characters
Jack Nicholson is the one who drives the direction of the film and puts in a very good performance. He plays Signalman 1st Class Billy L. Buddusky aka Badass.
He’s a guy who is always looking for fun and trouble in equal measure and really wants to show Meadows the meaning of fun.
Otis Young is an excellent foil to Nicholson and plays Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Richard Mulhall aka Mule. He is happy to goes along with Buddusky up to a point but he is the one that worries about the consequences.
Randy Quaid plays the young and naive Seaman Larry Meadows who was arrested for allegedly stealing $40 dollars from a charity box and has been sentenced to eight years in Prison. Quaid plays this very well and is perfect for the role of Meadows.
The three work incredibly well together which really makes the film an enjoyable experience.
Conclusion: The Last Detail (1973) Film Review
In essence The Last Detail is a simple tale of escorting a prisoner from point A to point B. However what starts out as a simple detail turns into a story of genuine friendship between the three men. In the end they faced with the stark reality that they are taking their friend to a place that could well destroy him and that reality really hits home as they present their prisoner at the gates of the prison.
It really does provide a range of emotions from the darn right funny to the desperate plight of a naive young man.
Jack Nicholson excels in his role and really brings the film to life with plenty of energy and unpredictability.
This is a film that tends not to be shown that often on television these days certainly in the UK and one I would urge you to give a look.
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Conclusion: The Last Detail Blu-ray Review
Now to the picture quality and on the whole it’s very good. The film has had a 4K restoration from the original negative and I think it looks great. There are no specks of dirt of any marks that I could see. Some people have complained that the print is not as clean as it could be. However that’s not really true, the film is shot with quite a bit of noise therefore it will never look noiseless. That said I think they have done an excellent job in getting the balance right.
Compared to the original DVD release, not the one included here it looks pretty amazing. The Last Detail is an excellent Blu-ray release from Powerhouse films Indicator label. I have no hesitation in recommending you upgrade from that first DVD release to this new Blu-ray / DVD.
- TV Cut
- An Introduction by filmmaker Alexander Payne
- About a Trip
- An Appreciation by Alexander Payne
- A Search for Truth
- Interview with Editor Robert C Jones
- Michael Chapman Interview
- Isolated score
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Limited Edition 28 page booklet
A really great set of extras that provides a genuinely interesting insight into the making of the film. Well worth watching!
On to my movie rating for The Last Detail (1973)
- Movie Rating: RECOMMENDED / MUST SEE
- Blu-ray Picture Quality: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
The Last Detail (1973) is available now on Blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster with trailer…
Clip not representative of the Blu-ray version
That’s my The Last Detail blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film leave them in the comment section below:
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Summary: The Last Detail (1973) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: The Last Detail (1973)
Duration: 104 mins
Director(s): Hal Ashby
Actor(s): Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young
Genre: Comedy, Drama
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
A truly gripping and emotional rollercoaster ride that now looks fantastic on Blu-ray.