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The Last Detail [Blu-ray]
(Hal Ashby, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Video: Twilight Time / Indicator (Powerhouse) UK
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:44:00.734 / 1:44:00.984
Disc Size: 27,186,481,210 bytes / 45,770,851,926 bytes
Feature Size: 26,423,924,736 bytes / 32,178,681,216 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.99 Mbps / 34.71 Mbps
Chapters: 24 / 12
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case / Transparent Case
Release date: January, 2016 / February 27th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1065 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1065 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 967 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 967 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps /
LPCM Audio Undetermined 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
• English (SDH), None
• Isolated Score
• Liner notes by Julie Kirgo
Limited to 3,000 Copies!
TV Syndicated Cut (1:35:23) 9 Meg / 1080P / 11.99 Mbps
Description: Two Navy "lifers" and one military innocent briefly attempt to thumb their nose at Authority in Hal Ashby's The Last Detail (1973). "Badass" Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned to escort young sailor Meadows (Randy Quaid, who beat out John Travolta for the part) from their Virginia base to a New England military prison, where Meadows will serve an eight-year sentence for attempting to swipe the commander's wife's polio donation can. Buddusky thinks that the sentence is a waste of Meadows' formative years, and he convinces a skeptical Mulhall to show the hapless Meadows a good time by partying on their per diem for the rest of the detail's allotted week. As they head north, the comically posturing Buddusky leads Meadows through the masculinizing rituals of getting drunk, getting in a fight, and getting laid; and he teaches Meadows to stand up for himself so well that Meadows tries to escape.
Objecting to the wall-to-wall obscenities, Columbia put off releasing the movie, but, after Nicholson won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival, finally opened it for Oscar consideration in December 1973 before a full release several months later. Even with nominations for Nicholson, Quaid, and Towne, and rave reviews despite the notorious cussing, The Last Detail failed to find an audience.
The Last Detail is so perfectly tailored to the star that it could've been mapped out from a Pythagorean theorem. U.S. Navy petty officers Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Nicholson) and Richard “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young) are assigned a shore-patrol detail in which they're to escort sailor Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid) from Norfolk, Virginia to a naval prison near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It's apparent that Buddusky and Mulhall have long ago lost whatever zeal or optimism they may have felt toward their profession, and they clearly see this assignment as a way to screw around for a few days. The plan is simple: With a week to accomplish a task that should reasonably take two days, Buddusky and Mulhall will bust ass getting Meadows to jail so they can take their time drinking and eating through their per diems on the way back.Excerpt from Slant Magazine located HERE
Despite Robert Towne's often sharp script - about two veteran sailors detailed to escort a young and na´ve rating to prison, and showing him a sordidly 'good time' en route - and despite strong performances all round, one can't help feeling that the criticism of modern America hits out at all too easy targets in a vague and muffled manner. Also that the overlay of bleak cynicism barely conceals a troubled - and, dare one say, sometimes misogynist - sentimentality about what it means to be men together. (From the novel by Darryl Ponicsan.Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Last Detail comes to Twilight Time Blu-ray in a dual-layered, 1080P transfer with their usual high bitrate. The visuals are extremely thick, often soft - well-representing the film's original heavy, dark, appearance. Some may reject this textured appearance but this is a true reflection of the production style. The Last Detail was never meant to look tight and glossy. It appears quite consistent in-motion with no damage or speckles. I see no evidence of manipulation or noise. This Blu-ray gives a wonderfully grainy presentation in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio - probably as good as it will get for this film.
Predictably - no significant difference at all - the pixels have moved around a bit. the Indicator has the more technically robust transfer and this may show up in-motion to the very discerning eye. Otherwise another fabulous representation of this gritty film.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Perhaps equally as important as a solid representation of The Last Detail is the audio - we get a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1065 kbps (24-bit). There is an optional Isolated Score and English (SDH) subtitle options and the disc is region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Indicator, again, go liner PCM - original mono 24-bit - and it sounds as solid as the Twilight Time. The, fairly passive, track is authentically flat and austere - benefitting is Johnny Mandel's (Pretty Poison, Point Blank, Deathtrap, M*A*S*H, That Cold Day in the Park, Heaven with a Gun etc.) grass roots score balanced well with the film's stark narrative. There is an optional Isolated Score and English (SDH) subtitle options and the disc is region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Twilight Time add only a trailer with the usual Isolated Score Track for the digital supplements. The package has some liner notes by Julie Kirgo and is limited to 3,000 copies.
This is the area Indicator advance heavily. They include the TV Syndicated Cut running about 9-minutes shorter - it's more a curiosity than to view Ashby's masterpiece. We get a new 5-minute introduction to the film by director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne as well as a short (4-minute) interview with Michael Chapman the DoP of The Last Detail. What are excellent extras are two of Robert Fischer's Fiction Factory bonus featurettes; About a Trip has Payne, again, discussing Hal Ashby and The Last Detail for almost 17-minutes and In Search of Truth runs over 20-minutes and has Robert C. Jones, editor for The Last Detail, discussing the film. There is the aforementioned Isolated Score, trailer and a Promotional Material Image Gallery plus a liner notes booklet. It is Dual-Format and includes a second disc DVD and is also limited to 3.000 units.
Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Indicator - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Indicator vault ahead with their extensive extras and make their edition the definitive one for Ashby's film. It's likely to go out-of-print in this particular release and we encourage fans of the film to indulge in this unforgettable work. Indicator does it again...
January 20th, 2016
February 17th, 2017
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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