Two bawdy, tough looking navy lifers - "Bad-Ass" Buddusky, and "Mule" Mulhall - are commissioned to escort a young pilferer named Meadows to the brig in Portsmouth. Meadows is not much of a thief. Indeed, in his late teens, he is not much of a man at all. His great crime was to try to steal forty dollars from the admiral's wife's pet charity. For this, he's been sentenced to eight years behind bars. At first, Buddusky and Mulhall view the journey as a paid vacation, but their holiday spirits are quickly depressed by the prisoner, who looks prepared to break into tears at any moment. And he has the lowest self-image imaginable. Buddusky gets it into his head to give Meadows a good time and teach him a bit about getting on in the world. Lesson one: Don't take every card life deals you. Next, he teaches Meadows to drink, and, as a coup de grace, finds a nice young whore to instruct him in lovemaking. Mule, who worries aloud about his own position with military authority, seems pleased ...Written by
If you respond to this film, you will probably go all the way and love it as much as I do. It is probably the high point of the drama of social realism started back by the like of "Marty."
It is Nicholson's film, yet Quaid and Otis Young(in his only good movie) really shine as well. It is the most heartbreaking of material played without sap or sentiment. Obscenity like this was still pretty new to movies back in 73, be sure to avoid edited T.V. versions. Reading the comments, it is sad that todays movie fans, spoonfed sledgehammer crappola, really can't respond to a drama played with the kind of subtle grace of "The Last Detail." Give it a shot. Ten out of ten.
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