Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

March 21, 1974 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-03-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


I ri t r-A I;- ri 1 3^ R 07 =

Page Five

F'age ~1ve

N icholson s


Like John Cassavetes' Hus-
bands, Hal Ashby's The Last De-
tail concentrates on an insulated,
all-male group of three.
The basic idea is the same,
and works well again: by expos-
ing the way that sailors think
and act away from their home
base, a lot can be said about the
military, just as Cassavetes
made what I think was a power-
ful statement about marriage
by showing what suburban men
are like away from their wives.'
In both films there is hardly
a shred of plot. Husbands main-
tained interest and established
a humorous continuity with its
parodic cinema - verite tech-

niques. Ashby has no distinctive
visual flair, but Detail is a Jack
Nicholson film, and as Badass
Buddusky he is not merely re-
quired to play his role but to in-
tegrate all of the film's themes
in his performance.
In some of his other films a
similar task fell on Nicholson,
but the role was usually not
meaty, enough to explain or fill
out the inscrutability of the film.
For instance, in Five Easy
Pieces, there is really no way
that he can convey the charac-
ter's reasons for his lack of mo-
tivation - it is simply a "given"
that he throws away the piano
for the construction job.
But in The Last. Detail Nichol-
son is playing a man who is not

cursed with the acute awareness
that entraps Bobby Dupea in
Pieces or the younger brother in
The King of Marvin Gardens.
Buddusky is, quite simply, a
beer-drinking lifer in the Navy
with a rather vulgar sense of
humor and an occasional need to
let out his frustrations in a good
brawl. The sharp - tongued sar-
casm has become a Nicholson
trademark, and we like Buddus-
ky for his ability to talk back
to waiters and bartenders; a
sympathy slowly Develops in us
for an otherwise d spicable char-
acter, this being the genius of
Nicholson's performance, in
drawing us close to the type of
man it would be easy to detest.
Buddusky, along with Muihall

(Otis Young), has been ordered
to transfer a weak-willed klepto-
maniac (played by Randy Quaid,
who along with Nicholson is nom-
inated for an Academy Award)
from the bus to the train, we see
ripping off anything he can get
his hands on, indicative of how
senseless his eight-year impris-
onment will be towards curing
him of his stealing.
Buddusky and "Mule" begin
to pity Meadows, who breaks
down crying on the train, and,
since they have five days to de-
liver the prisoner, Buddusky as-
serts himself, prolonging the
trip so that he can treat the boy
to a good time. He is then, do-
ing his job while pretending not
to do it, to be both Head Honcho
and Mr. Nice Guy, to be, in his
own words, "the Badass." The
journey then proceeds through
some fine comic scenes of gar-
gantuan beer-consumption, a visit
to a house where they smoke
grass and Mule gets hassled
about Nixon while Buddusky
makes an ass of himself in try-
ing to seduce a young college
girl, and a pathetic and touch-
ing night at a whorehouse where
Meadows loses his virginity. '
Slowly the, relationship be-
tween the three begins to change,
and we see that much of Bud-
dusky's apparent kindness is
really only a device to avoid
recognizing that he is going to
be the one that locks Meadows
up. He wants Meadows to let
off steam, to belt him one. lie
sees through Meadows' weakness
but fails to see his own self-de-
structive behavior and isolation
from the variety of alternatives
outside the military life.
The leeway they have been
given in delivering the prisoner
begins to haunt Mule and Bud-
dusky, who cannot avoid the re-
ality that seeps in through the

roof of the mind. When they first
got on the train Mule settled
down in his seat, looked out the
window, and smiled like a con-
tented cat. "I love trains," he
said. He and Buddusky were to-
tally ignoring Meadows, Even
when Meadows broke down sob-
bing, Mule just says, "Man, he's
Paradoxically enough, it is
Buddusky who experiences the
final psychological vertigo, as he
sadistically loses his head and
psychotically beats Meadows
senseless after a lame attempt
at escape. Mule had told the
Nicholson character earlier that
there was no middle ground, that
they either had to let Meadows
go or finish their ugly job as
quickly as possible. Buddusky
agreed at the time, but after a
cathartic fight in a lavatory with
some Army men, they continue
to entertain Meadows until by
the film's end he has learned
enough from the two to do the
one thing he never would have
been capable of before-attempt
to escape.
The moments preceding the
beating are probably the film's
best. The three are out in the
cold barbecuing hot dogs, al-
though they have no buns. It is
cold, and Buddusky sits among
the snow-covered benches drink-
ing beer and shivering. He
muses about how "it takes a sa-
distic kind of guy to be a ma-
rine" and how Meadows will
never make it through Ports-
mouth with "those goddamn
grunts kickin' the shit out of him
for eight years."
As he-sits there his eyes seem
to well up with tears, or is it
the cold? At any rate, Nicholson
is never more brilliant than
when confronting the impotence
of his position, and we feel the
rage burning in him, because in

viewing the film -we ourselves
forget that they are going to
lock Meadows up, and when two
hours have passed and the
chore seems imminent, we get
as fidgety as the characters.
When Meadows trots off in his
awkward, penguin - like gait, we
know what is coming. Chasing
him down into a ravine, Nichol-
son beats the prisoner and then
collapses, exhausted, yelling
about having lost his shoe in the
snow. All during the film there
had been the assurance on Bud-
dusky's part that in releasing
his rage he was demonstrating a
true mark of character, but in
this pathetic scene it is obvious
that he is not "the Badass," but
simply a coward out of control.
With a cigar, a short haircut, a
cocky walk, and a few tattoos
painted on his chest, Nicholson
has revealed a range that few
Americans actors can lay claim
to. He makes real the entrapment
of the modern American Loser,
in of his different guises, as frus-
trated artist in Five Easy Pieces
and The King of Marvin Gar-
dens, and now as the tough guy
whose machismo is inextricable
from the weakness that he hates
in others, and which is really his
own weakness. When the gates
close on the blood-spattered Mea-
dows, there is a shot down a
flight of steps to where Buddus-
kv and Mulhall stand strangely
like orphans, and it is obvious
that the gates hakre closed on
them as well.
The Last Detail depends too
heavily on the fine dialogue writ-
ten by Robert Towne for the
screenplay, there being just so
many ways to show three men
talking, even though the back-
ground keeps shifting. But the
ensemble acting is excellent,
right down to the last detail.

Do Your Own Seder!!
Did you ever think of doing your
own seder instead of going to
someone else's seder?
If you want to LEARN how to do PASSOVER
and your own seder in your apartment or
dorm, come to a
SUNDAY, March 24
1 p.m. at HILLEL, 1429 Hill St.

Nicholson: "I am the Badass."

University Baroque Trio
performs esoteric fare

In a sparsely populated Rack-
ham Auditorium appointed with
students crocheting and reading,
the University Baroque Trio per-
formed music of Telemann, Bach
and several more esoteric com-
posers of the eighteenth century
with perfunctory competence.
Rosemary Russell was mezzo-
soprano soloist along with Trio
members Nelson Hauenstein,
flute, Gustave Rosseels, violin,
Charles Fisher, harpsichord, and
Peter Spring on double bass in
a concert that suffered from
sameness and -musical overpre-
The first half of the program
consisted of three. trio sonatas:
the first one was by Franz As-
plmayr, an almost buried baro-;
que composer with nothing sal-
ient to be remembered for (least
of all this composition).
The next one came from the
pen of Christoph Gluck, an ar-
tist who is remembered more for
his operas and larger orchestral
works than for chamber music.
In this Trio Sonata, Gluck
patterned his melodic lines af-
ter his operatic music, producing
a composition whose pathos be-
came awfully hard to absorb af-
ter a short time. Hauenstein and
Rosseels played intimately, in
line with the requirements of the

piece. The third trio sonata by
Tomaso Albinoni moved along
with more dance-like grace and
life than its two predecessors.
After intermission Rosemary
Russell joined the trio in rendi-
tions of two arias_ and a small
cantata. Georg Philipp Tele-
mann's aria "Tod und Moder
dringt herein" from a church
cantata came first, serving as a
vehicle for Russell's totally un-
affected, natural and pure voice.
Then a J.S. Bach aria, "Baken-
nen will ich seinen Namen" fol-
lowed, with all members of the
trio working to supportthe voice.
The small cantata "Die Land-
lust: Kleine Kantate von Wald
und Au", a Telemann composi-
tion on pastoral ideas, was far
and- away the most interesting
piece on the program. Here the
different parts traded musical
sentences, dynamic contrasts
rose out of the mist while a
poetic vocal line floated above it
all. Essentially, Telemann put
the cantata in a bottle, minia-
turizing'Arias, Recitiatives and
winding up with a finale evocative
of shepherd's pipes and hunting
calls. Again Russell sang splend-
To no one's surprise the eve-
ning closed with yet another trio
sonata. This one came from Carl
Stamitz and thankfully proved
itself a less sedate version of

three movement (fast-slow-fast)
Had the University Baroque
Trio chosen a less deadly pro-
gram they would htve played
more out of inspiration than a
sense of duty. The group played
well, but this did nothing to re-
ning: musical boredom arising
pair the gross fault of the eve-
from too much uninspiring, insip-
id and esoteric baroque fare.
Excepting the fine vocalising, it.
was a somewhat somnabulent

FILM-Cinema guild presents Dieterle's Hunchback of Notre
Dame in Arch. Aud. at 7, 9:05; Ann Arbor Film Co-op
features Penn's The Chase in Aud. A at 7, 9; Women's
Studies Films shows The Blue Angel in Lee. Rm: 1 M.L.B.
at 7:30; South Quad Films presents Kurbrick's 2001: A
Space Odyssey in Dining Rm. 2 at 7:30 and 10; and New
World Media International Films features So the People
Show Know; Argentina: Alliance for Progress in the East
Quad Aud. at 8.
MUSIC SCHOOL-The Cambridge University Chamber Choir
and the University Chamber Choir offer a free joint
concert in Hill Aud. at 8 and the opera Eugene Onegin
is being staged in the Mendelssohn Theatre at 8.
BACH CLUB-Ressa Gringorten, clarinet; Brad Wong, clar-
inet; Frank Nezwazky, piano; and Deborah Berman,
piano perform Mendelssohn's Concert Piece No. 2 in d
for two clarinets and piano; Ravel's Le Tombeau de
Couperin for piano and four Hebrew songs for clarinet
and piano in the East Quad Greene Lounge at 8. .
POETRY-Burnette Meyer and Nicholas Piombiro read in the
St. Mark's Church in the Bowery: 124 E. Quad at 8.

Quasimodo lives again in this moving adaptation of V i c tor Hugo's
classic Romantic novel. Lcughton's performance c ha Il e n g e s Lon
Chaney's great original. Maureen O'Hara plays Esmeralda and Basic
Rathbone is the evil priest.
**Tonight at AUDITORIUM
cinemag ud 7 and 9:05 A




Heart-warming award winning film; starring Cicley Tyson
"A Film of rare warmth and beauty."
Atlantic Records Silver Anniversary Special
A special film documentary showing musical highlights a n d insights
into the workings of a record company. Courtesy of WCBN & Atlantic
NAT. SCI. AUD. 7:00 & 9:30

TONIGHT-Live Broadcast of
live interview direct from the
8:30-Midnight on GENE'S BLUES
WCBN-FM, 89.5
SATURDAY, MARCH 23 adm. $1
new time: 8 P.M.
Bursley W. Cafeteria
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
is pleased to present

...all it lakes
is a litle
Shows at 1:30, 4:00, 6:30
& 9 P.M.

603 E. Liberty
DIAL 665-6290
Open 12:45. Shows at
1, 3, 5, 7, &9 P.M.
3 Academy Award
Nominations incl.

xt I 'nv43CflFa sl+i 7' i369si ,:,

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan