Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1973. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Bright-Persky Associates, Acrobat Productions. Screenplay by Robert Towne, based on the novel by Darryl Ponicsan. Cinematography by Michael Chapman. Produced by Gerald Ayres. Music by Johnny Mandel. Production Design by Michael D. Haller. Costume Design by Theodore D. Parvin. Film Editing by Robert C. Jones. Academy Awards 1973. Cannes Film Festival 1974. Golden Globe Awards 1973. National Board of Review Awards 1974. New York Film Critics Awards 1974.
Jack Nicholson is marvelous as a marine who along with Otis Young is assigned to escort Randy Quaid from his court martial to the jail where he will serve a prison sentence. Getting to know him while on the road, the two supervising soldiers realize that Quaid is still fresh to many experiences of the world, so they decide to show him around a little before locking him behind bars. Terrific performances aren’t fully compensatory for a rather plodding narrative or Hal Ashby’s merely satisfactory direction, but it’s a great character study with plenty of enjoyable moments.