Darryl Ponicsan’s The Last Detail + Cinderella Liberty (1973)

March 22, 2016 | By

LastDetail_foreign_posterIt’s hard not to talk about The Last Detail without covering its cousin, Cinderella Liberty, a pair of novels by Darryl Ponicsan adapted into films and released in 1973.

It’s a peculiar coincidence and case of perfect timing for a writer, especially because Ponicsan’s Detail was adapted by Robert Towne for director Hal Ashby, and Liberty, directed by melodrama specialist Mark Rydell, marked the author’s first crack at scriptwriting, a damn fine effort that enabled Ponicsan to pen further scripts in the coming years, including Taps (1981), Vision Quest (1985), Nuts (1987), and School Ties (1992).

There’s a common thread that joins those films: aspects of military life, peer pressure, young innocents thrust into circumstances that pit their youth and rebelliousness against a stifling regime or brutal peer pressure, and yearning for a better life where things are easy, yet offer life-affirming and meaningful lessons.

CinderellaLiberty_posterTwilight Time’s Blu-ray of Detail is gorgeous, showcasing Michael Chapman’s debut as a cinematographer, while Fox’s 2007 Liberty DVD is a fine special edition of the kind the studio used to produce on its own before it radically scaled back exploiting its rich back catalogue.

Liberty is certainly ripe for Blu, especially since it features gorgeous yet gritty location cinematography by the late great Vilmos Zsigmond.

Coming very shortly: reviews of Jess Franco’s Count Dracula (1970) starring Christopher Lee from Synapse Films, and Gordon Hessler’s weird Scream and Scream Again (1970) from Twilight Time, starring Lee, Vincent Price, and Peter Cushing in a glorified cameo.




Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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