When Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Mulhall (Otis Young) are detailed 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 they decide to show him a good time on their journey north…
Sounds a simple premise and it is but the film focuses on the relationship that builds up between the characters and how they in the end are still forced to obey the rules that they so badly at times hate. Nicholson has said in interviews that this is one of his favourite performances and he does show a great energy on-screen, you look at those eyes and can see that at any minute he can turn into an explosive rage. The co-stars are also very good, Randy Quaid is innocent yet very naive to the way the world works but gets to look upon his travelling companions as good friends, even though ultimately they are taking him to jail. The film is raw in the typical 1970’s style and some may find the pacing slow, but it has rightly become a cult classic.
The disc from Powerhouse uses a very good 4k restoration 1080p transfer, very filmic with plenty of grain to enhance the gritty nature of the story. Colour are muted but again it adds to the mood and enhances the film in many ways. Audio has original lossless mono and is fine. Some of the dialog is hard to hear in a few scenes but apparently that was done intentionally. Selection of extras are as follows:
- The Last Detail: The TV Version – world exclusive presentation of the infamous sanitised ’tv cut’ of the film. A nice touch but not sure if you would watch it all or more than once.
- An appreciation by filmmaker Alexander Payne
- Interview with Oscar-winning editor Robert C. Jones
- Interview with DoP Michael Chapman
- Isolated score: experience Johnny Mandel’s original soundtrack music
- Theatrical trailer
- Image gallery
- Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Michael Pattison and archival materials
A gritty 70’s classic and well worth a look.
FILM: 7.5 PICTURE: 8 AUDIO: 7 EXTRAS: 7