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Feature


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... [Official Synopsis]

Video


I can't say I was all that impressed with this 4k Restoration, though by all accounts, its limitations are wholly intentional because of its director Hal Ashby's style.

The presentation here is a little gritty but within the grainy images lies a good level of detail. Black levels are a little too overbearing with detail getting lost within darker clothing such as jackets but outside of that, textures and such look good even if they are never really striking. The darkness of the scenes continue throughout the film and scenes where the three leads are sitting in their dark jackets in a dark area of a bus or car can really look drab with just the actors faces popping out of the crushing blackness.

The image has nice bold colouring but the overcast skies in the film reduce the natural lighting benefits a fair bit, even though it does give the film an extremely real world appearance. Edges are sharp but never super sharp and the film looks more like an extremely good DVD upscale as opposed to a full HD remaster a lot of the time. Not to sound like a broken record but the darkness of this presentation really seems to be the thing preventing the presentation from shining, the film never looks bad but the darkness crossed with the pleasant enough grain level gives the film a murky look that doesn’t really sell the HD of this HD image a lot of the time. Nighttimes based scenes really do turn into a bit of a mess but luckily only for small periods of time and while for a newbie this is a bit unpleasant, generally it seems fans of the film are very happy with the results of this presentation, so you might want to take that into account before listening to this newbie’s appraisal.

Audio


The film is largely dialogue based with the odd bit of military drums and caper-esq style music filling the gaps between conversations. Everything is crisp but rather small in oomph in the mono track. This is the style of the film so the small scale drama only serves up what's required of it really.

Background sounds fill out the track nicely, bus engines, footsteps, general life around our three leads but again its more subtle that a show off elements and all in all this ends up a reliable track but not one out to show off.

Extras


The 'Introduction by Alexander Payne' (05:11 SD) is a great start to the watch. I'd listen to PAyne talk about anything.

The 'Isolated Score' offers a nice crisp way to hear the music of the film.

The 'Interview With Michael Chapman' (the film's DP) (03:55 HD) is short and sweet but with 'About A Trip' (16:36 HD) Alexander Payne once again talking up the film and boy does he sell it with his enthusiasm for even the smallest of moments.

'A Search For Truth (20:35 HD) has Robert C. Jones talking about his experiences on the film  as the editor and last up is the Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery.

Another added bonus is the 'TV Syndicated Cut' that comes in shorter at 95 minutes and in a standard definition 4:3 ratio too.  When compared, it certainly shows the improvements in the HD presentation we have on the disc.

Overall


The Last Detail is a low-fi drama, shot well with three great performances at its centre. By all accounts this is Jack Nicholson's break out role and you can certainly see many of the elements of his future much loved on screen persona fully rounding in this performance. The disc looks okay but its enhancements may take a fan's eye to really appreciate it, the soundtrack is small but crisp and the extras are a very nice addition to viewing the film.

* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer. Additionally, at this time we do not know the actual release date for the Blu-ray.

 Last Detail, The
 Last Detail, The
 Last Detail, The
 Last Detail, The
 Last Detail, The
 Last Detail, The


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