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M*A*S*H

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Robert Altman

With the release of Robert Altman's M*A*S*H in 1970, a new form of comedy was born, one that would help to forever change the face of cinema. Altman's audacious film reflected the American counterculture's growing distrust of religion and … see full wiki

Director: Robert Altman
Release Date: 1970
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about M*A*S*H

M.A.S.H. - 1970

  • Aug 16, 2008
Rating:
+3
Pros: the cast, completely

Cons: decent overall

The Bottom Line:
“The size of your heart determines who wins.
Modern day life; let the fury begin.
War is hell.”
~ The Warriors

There are probably few people today that haven’t heard of M.A.S.H. and the troops that worked and cavorted in the 4077. Of course, the television series and the movie are somewhat different, but that can be expected when you squeeze everything in a mere two hour segment as opposed to the long running series. Despite that, the movie was well worth watching and it brought a lot of the series back to mind.

M.A.S.H. was a medical camp during the Korea War. It was greatly understaffed with poor conditions and faulty leadership. The surgeons pushed the commander well past his limits on more than one occasion and their even more annoying antics among the other staff did nothing but increase pressure. While it could be viewed as almost irreverent, in the long run you realize the show these surgeons put on is just that, a show. It is a way to relieve the stress they face every day as legions of broken and damaged bodies cross their threshold.

If you never viewed the series on television, you would totally appreciate all the workings on this movie. However, after being under the umbrella of the series, I was constantly looking for my favorite characters to appear and wondered what happened to this actor or that actor. Of course, the choices for the movie were completely acceptable and highly talented.

Donald Sutherland landed the role of Capt. Hawkeye Pierce while Elliott Gould matched wits as Capt. Trapper John McIntyre. The joining of Sally Kellerman as Maj. Hotlips O’Houlihan and Robert Duvall as Maj. Frank Burns was even more enjoyable. Tom Skerritt played Capt. Duke Forrest, who I don’t recall from the TV series. Of course, everyone’s favorite Corporal, Radar O’Reilly, was played by Gary Burghoff, who went on to portray the part in the TV series. I did miss the character of Klinger from the series.

It was the unique blending of this talent that made this the special movie that it is and what makes people of all ages appreciate it for the spoof on the tragedy of war. On a whole, the plot really has no bearing because without the character development by each cast member, this movie would probably fall short. It is the interaction between characters that give this the liveliness and wit among all the horrific scenes.

War is not a pretty thing and for those that like to put a smiling face on it and clean it up, you are doing us a great injustice. It is gruesome and dirty, bloody and hell. Like the players in this little movie, we look for the comedic episodes to help us through the grit.

This was directed by Robert Altman; Ring Lardner wrote the screen play from the novel by Richard Hooker. It was nominated for 34 awards, winning 15.

Overall impression
While I didn’t think this was nearly as good as the TV series, it was definitely worth seeing. I equally enjoyed the antics and pranks as well as the moments of defeat. It’s a classic movie, but not a classic.

Thanks,
Susi

Recommended:
Yes

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