I don’t like buying Twilight Time Blurays because they’re always jacking up the price — TT always charges $30 for Blurays that should, according to God’s benevolent scheme, be priced at $20. Which is why I chose to purchase the recently popped British Bluray of Hal Ashby‘s The Last Detail for 15 pounds, or $18.72 U.S. I watched the movie a couple of weeks ago — definitely the best it’s ever looked or sounded. Then again I haven’t seen the UHD 4K streaming version, which you can actually buy via British Amazon.
Alexander Payne as he appears in Robert Fischer’s “About a Trip: Alexander Payne on Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail“
Last night I watched a supplementary Bluray video containing Alexander Payne‘s thoughts and ruminations — “About a Trip: Alexander Payne on Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail,” and it’s almost worth the price in itself. Charming, open-hearted, highly intelligent.
Here is an audio excerpt in which Payne (a) describes his favorite scenes in this 1973 film, (b) laments the absence of long, slow dissolves in today’s films (along with the use of zoom shots and voice-overs), (c) flat-out calls The Last Detail “a love story,” which of course it is, (d) mentions that he was very impressed with Daryl Ponicsan‘s script for Last Flag Flying, and was thinking about directing it back in ’10 or thereabouts, and (e) further mentions that the plot hangs on the three characters (Buddusky, Mulhall, Meadows), now in their 60s, getting together to deliver the body of Meadows’ son, killed in the Iraq War, to his mother or to a funeral service or something along those lines.
Richard Linklater wound up directing Last Flag Flying. It costars Bryan Cranston as Buddusky, Steve Carell as Larry Meadows and Laurence Fishburne as Mulhall. The Amazon release will probably open sometime in the fall.
Excerpt from a letter I wrote to Payne last night: “One of my favorite Detail scenes is when Jack Nicholson and Otis Young first get the chaser assignment from Clifton James, and in response to something or other Young says ‘You’re shittin’ me’ and James says, ‘I wouldn’t shit you — you’re my favorite turd.’
“You mentioned during the video that you were blanking on movies about guys in love with each other. One you could have mentioned is Becket with Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton — a total love affair movie. You could almost call it a totally gay love affair movie, except it doesn’t have any sex scenes.”
In another 20-minute Bluray supplement called A Search for Truth, Last Detail editor Robert C. Jones reportedly “talks about his admiration for the film’s style and its reliance on master shots, including the effective drunk carousing scene, as well as the much longer original rough cut that came in at a whopping four and a half hours.”