I wrote a column last July complaining about Fox Home Video having failed to put out a DVD of Lamont Johnson‘s near-great, largely unsung The Last American Hero, a moonshine-smuggling and race-car movie with Jeff Bridges, out on DVD. And now, almost seven months later, Fox Home Video has put it out on DVD. Pauline Kael loved this film, and Johnson (whom I called last summer) is alive and well and with a lot of stories to tell, so of course, naturally, FHV has put out a bare-bones DVD without any kind of making-of doc or a commentary track from Johnson or Bridges. (I told Bridges about the release of the Hero DVD last weekend prior to the screening of the Harry Nilsson doc, and he didn’t even know about it.) The Last American Hero “was the only high-velocity ’70s redneck film that was any good, and it wasn’t even a redneck film,” I wrote on 7.15. “It was a scrappy piece of backwoods Americana about a young guy on the wrong side of the law who went on to become a famous stock-car racer, a movie that was actually loved by critics and was also an unfortunate financial disaster. For me, this is the super-daddy of redneck movies, the one that got it right with unaffected realism and a kind of dignity by not dealing in the usual cliches and showing respect for its characters, and by being intelligent and tough and vivid with fine acting. Hero was loosely based on Tom Wolfe’s legendary 1965 Esquire article about one-time moonshine smuggler and stock-car racer Junior Johnson. Wolfe’s piece was called “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson. Yes!” As movies steeped in rural southern culture go, The Last American Hero had roughly the same levels of honesty and sincerity as Coal Miner’s Daughter, which came out in 1980.” Read the Wolfe article, and please, please buy or rent the DVD. (I’m more than a little surprised that none of the leading DVD sites and columnists are even mentioning it, much less reviewing or recommending it. The New York Times‘ usually on-top-of-it DVD columnist Dave Kehr has ignored it entirely, or did in today’s column at least. And you can’t even find the Hero DVD when you do a search on www.dvdtalk.com)