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The Last Detail

Hal Ashby, USA 1973, 104’
Harold and Maude Shampoo

Hal Ashby was known as a great collaborator, and his light touch and ability to bring out the strengths of others is particularly effective in this, his third feature as director. While the editing of his first two films was much more stylized and pronounced, here he fully entrusts cutting duties to Robert Jones (who would later also become a screenwriter for Ashby), and feel of The Last Detail is much more relaxed and naturalistic as a result. The story of two naval policemen, Billy "Badass" Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young) transporting a young prisoner, petty thief Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid), to jail, it is a compelling, brash and ultimately moving road movie of sorts, a film about masculinity and how men try (and often fail) to connect. It was brilliantly adapted from Darryl Ponicsan's novel by Robert Towne, whose profane screenplay is brought vividly to life by the three central performances; a bravado Nicholson is the standout, and was rightly nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

Nick Dawson

Hal Ashby

Hal Ashby, in full William Hal Ashby, (1929-1988), American filmmaker, one of the preeminent directors of the 1970s, who was especially noted for such films as Harold and Maude (1971), Shampoo (1975), and Being There (1979). 

Selected filmography

1970 Właściciel / The Landlord

1971 Harold i Maude / Harold and Maude

1973 Ostatnie zadanie / The Last Detail

1975 Szampon / Shampoo

1976 By nie pełzać na kolanach / Bound for Glory

1978 Powrót do domu / Coming Home

1979 Wystarczy być / Being There

Cast & Crew

director Hal Ashby
screenplay Robert Towne
cinematography Michael Chapman
editing Robert C. Jones, Ken Zemke
music Johnny Mandel
cast Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young
producer Gerald Ayres
production Columbia Pictures Corporation, Bright-Persky Associates, Acrobat Productions
sales Sony
language English
coloration colour
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