The Last Detail
Starring Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid and Otis Young
Directed by Hal Ashby
Screenplay by Robert Towne from the novel by Darryl Ponicsan
Production Year 1973
Running Time 103 minutes
Hal Ashby is one of the finest American directors of the 1970s. His films Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Coming Home and Being There represent the best of that decade in cinema. His movies were quirky, funny and truthful. They exposed and satirised American society and featured standout performances from some of the best actors of that decade.
The Last Detail is penned by Robert Towne, one of Hollywood’s most celebrated writers - famous for his screenplays for Bonnie and Clyde, Chinatown and Marathon Man among many others. The film follows a few days in the lives of a group of sailors - two of them petty officers escorting a young rating to a long jail sentence in a naval prison.
The two older men, feeling sorry for the younger man, decide to show their inexperienced charge a good time during his last few days of freedom and embark with him on a series of adventures. Jack Nicholson plays Badass Buddusky - the hilarious and foul-mouthed leader of the shore patrol.
His extraordinary performance won him awards from BAFTA and the Cannes Festival. Randy Quaid is heartbreaking as the innocent young prisoner. The film, set in the freezing cold of winter in the Eastern United States, is shot in grainy, icy tones by Michael Chapman who was cinematographer on Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.