MASH (1970)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, War


MASH (1970) Poster

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

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7.6/10
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  • Elliott Gould and Jo Ann Pflug in MASH (1970)
  • Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould in MASH (1970)
  • Indus Arthur and Roger Bowen in MASH (1970)
  • Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould in MASH (1970)
  • Robert Altman in MASH (1970)
  • Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould in MASH (1970)

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22 August 2007 | StanleyStrangelove
Outrageous, in-your-face black humor
M*A*S*H is a groundbreaking film. Along with Catch 22, M*A*S*H had the audacity to ridicule two of the pillars of American society: war and religion. Whether you find this appalling, subversive, treasonous, outrageous or funny depends on your political and religious orientation. Surely the religious right will find the film blasphemous and the political right will find it treasonous. No matter what your point of view, M*A*S*H is certainly an in-your-face film.

The irony of the film is that for the time it was considered gruesomely bloody. Yet there are no battlefield scenes; all the blood is in the surgical unit. The CSI TV series shows more carnage than M*A*S*H, but M*A*S*H was filmed over 30 years ago.

M*A*S*H is loaded with bizarro characters. Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerrit, Loretta Swit, Radar are all insane in their own way. In "M*A*S*H," everyone is cruel, playing mean practical jokes and the anti-heroes Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould are just plain heartless. They absolutely torment Major "Hot Lips" Hoolihan and Robert Duvall. None of the characters in the film tries to be funny. There are no jokes. The humor just grows from the situation which is the grim reality of a mobile surgical unit whose doctors and nurses try their best to repair the horribly mutilated bodies from an insane war. Having worked in a hospital setting, outrageous and black humor is commonplace, especially in the ER, but in M*A*S*H it's taken to a new level.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland kept calling each other "Shirley" on the set. Gould did it in one shot, cracking Sutherland up, and Robert Altman decided to keep it in the film. "Shirley" was a reference to Donald Sutherland's second wife, Shirley Douglas.


Quotes

Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: Radar.
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: Yes, sir. I'll get ahold of Major Burns...
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: I want you to get a hold of Major Burns...
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: ...Tell him to hold a couple day surgeons over into the night shift.
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: Tell him we're going to have hold a couple of surgeons over from the day shift out of ...


Goofs

When O'Houlihan has a discussion with Hawkeye in the mess tent shortly after her arrival, there is a shot over Hawkeye's shoulder where you can see that his glasses have appeared back on his face even though they were off in the previous shot.


Crazy Credits

There are no end credits, other than an announcer reading the actors' names, after which the film abruptly cuts to black.


Alternate Versions

This movie was one of the first releases on early 80's RCA Selectavision CED discs system. The disc contains what is today considered to be the R rated version of the film even though the packaging shows a PG rating. Also, instead of letterboxing or squeezing (as was customary at the time)the title frame is simply shows cropped off at the sides so that the all you could see of the M*A*S*H title was "A*S*"


Soundtracks

Suicide Is Painless
(1970)
Music by
Johnny Mandel
Lyrics by Mike Altman
Sung by an unidentified chorus during the opening credits
Also sung by Ken Prymus (uncredited) during the last supper scene

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Drama | War

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