M*A*S*H

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Overview

Although he was not the first choice to direct it, the hit black comedy M*A*S*H established Robert Altman as one of the leading figures of Hollywood's 1970s generation of innovative and irreverent young filmmakers. Scripted by Hollywood veteran Ring Lardner, Jr., this war comedy details the exploits of military doctors and nurses at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War. Between exceptionally gory hospital shifts and countless rounds of martinis, wisecracking surgeons Hawkeye Pierce Donald Sutherland ...
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Overview

Although he was not the first choice to direct it, the hit black comedy M*A*S*H established Robert Altman as one of the leading figures of Hollywood's 1970s generation of innovative and irreverent young filmmakers. Scripted by Hollywood veteran Ring Lardner, Jr., this war comedy details the exploits of military doctors and nurses at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in the Korean War. Between exceptionally gory hospital shifts and countless rounds of martinis, wisecracking surgeons Hawkeye Pierce Donald Sutherland and Trapper John McIntyre Elliott Gould make it their business to undercut the smug, moralistic pretensions of Bible-thumper Maj. Frank Burns Robert Duvall and Army true-believer Maj. "Hot Lips" Houlihan Sally Kellerman. Abetted by such other hedonists as Duke Forrest Tom Skerritt and Painless Pole John Schuck, as well as such relative innocents as Radar O'Reilly Gary Burghoff, Hawkeye and Trapper John drive Burns and Houlihan crazy while engaging in such additional blasphemies as taking a medical trip to Japan to play golf, staging a mock Last Supper to cure Painless's momentary erectile dysfunction, and using any means necessary to win an inter-M*A*S*H football game. M*A*S*H creates a casual, chaotic atmosphere emphasizing the constant noise and activity of a surgical unit near battle lines; it marked the beginning of Altman's sustained formal experiments with widescreen photography, zoom lenses, and overlapping sound and dialogue, further enhancing the atmosphere with the improvisational ensemble acting for which Altman's films quickly became known. Although the on-screen war was not Vietnam, MASH's satiric target was obvious in 1970, and Vietnam War-weary and counter-culturally hip audiences responded to Altman's nose-thumbing attitude towards all kinds of authority and embraced the film's frankly tasteless yet evocative humor and its anti-war, anti-Establishment, anti-religion stance. M*A*S*H became the third most popular film of 1970 after Love Story and Airport, and it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. As further evidence of the changes in Hollywood's politics, blacklist survivor Lardner won the Oscar for his screenplay. M*A*S*H began Altman's systematic 1970s effort to revise classic Hollywood genres in light of contemporary American values, and it gave him the financial clout to make even more experimental and critical films like McCabe and Mrs. Miller 1971, California Split 1974, and Nashville 1975. It also inspired the long-running TV series starring Alan Alda as Hawkeye and Burghoff as Radar. With its formal and attitudinal impudence, and its great popularity, M*A*S*H was one more confirmation in 1970 that a Hollywood "New Wave" had arrived. Special Edition VHS includes the entire restored, and uncut version as well as the "AMC Backstory" featurette.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Disc One: Director's commentary by Robert Altman; Still gallery; AMC backstory®: "M*A*S*H"; Original theatrical trailer; Disc Two: "Enlisted the Story of M*A*S*H" documentary; M*A*S*H cast reunion; "M*A*S*H: History through the Lens" Background documentary; Film restoration featurette
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Robert Altman's commercial breakthrough after more than 20 years of industrial films and TV work felt like an joyous shout of liberation, not just for its director but for the film industry in general. MASH was proudly, gleefully, gloriously rude as few previous Hollywood films had dared to be, not just in using four-letter words but also in a hilariously casual disrespect for religion, the military, American foreign policy, and authority as a whole. While more than a few war movies had centered on men who served despite personal misgivings, MASH put us in the middle of an Army field hospital in the Korean War, where draftee doctors openly decry the "regular Army clowns" as they try to patch up the butchered bodies of soldiers from both sides. The cynical disrespect and mordant wit of Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould) was a breath of enjoyably foul air, especially at a time when America was knee-deep in the ongoing Vietnam War, the obvious analogue of the movie's Korean conflict. Also, the film's willingness to set its cheerfully vulgar humor (often involving sex and nudity) against the bloody horrors of surgery and the unpleasant realities of war was both brave and appropriate; it gave the film a moral balance that allowed the comic and tragic elements to temper each other. If MASH seems more controlled than much of Altman's later work, his trademark free-floating, catch-things-on-the-sly ambience is very much in evidence, as if he'd been wanting to make this sort of film his whole life and wasn't going to blow his chance. He didn't. Also, if you know MASH as a TV series and not as a film, prepare yourself for a shock; there is nothing warm and fuzzy about this movie, which makes its bitter humor all the more effective.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/7/2006
  • UPC: 024543224563
  • Original Release: 1970
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Elliott Gould Trapper John
Donald Sutherland Hawkeye
Tom Skerritt Duke
Sally Kellerman Maj. Hot Lips
Jo Ann Pflug Lt. Dish
Robert Duvall Maj. Frank Burns
Roger Bowen Col. Henry Blake
Gary Burghoff Radar O'Reilly
David Arkin Sgt. major Vollmer
Fred Williamson Spearchucker
Michael Murphy Me lay
Kim Atwood Ho-Jon
Indus Arthur Lt. Leslie
John Schuck Painless Pole
Dawne Damon Capt. Scorch
Carl Gottlieb Ugly John
Tamara Horrocks Captain "Knocko" McCarthy
G. Wood Gen. Hammond
Corey John Fischer Capt. Bandini
Stephen Altman Hawkeye's 5-Year-Old Son
René Auberjonois Dago Red
Timothy Brown Corporal Judson
Buck Buchanan Football Player (uncredited)
Cathleen Cordell Nurse Corps Captain
Bud Cort Pvt. Lorenzo Boone
Ben Davidson
Danny Goldman Capt. Murrhardt
Dale Ishimoto Korean Doctors
Jerry Jones Motor Pool Sergeant
Ted Knight Voice Only, Voice Only
Harvey Levine 2nd Lieutenant
Weaver Levy
Marvin Miller Offstage Dialog
Lloyd Nelson
Ken Prymus Pfc. Seidman
Fran Tarkenton
Bobby Troup Sgt. Gorman
Technical Credits
Robert Altman Director
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Michael Altman Songwriter
Art Cruickshank Special Effects
Leon Ericksen Associate Producer
Bernard Freericks Sound/Sound Designer
Danford B. Greene Editor
Ring Lardner Jr. Screenwriter
Arthur Lonergan Art Director
Johnny Mandel Score Composer
Ingo Preminger Producer
Stuart A. Reiss Set Decoration/Design
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Jack Martin Smith Art Director, Production Designer
Herbert Spencer Musical Direction/Supervision
Harold E. Stine Cinematographer
Dan Striepeke Makeup
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- M*A*S*H
1. Main Titles [:13]
2. Then There Was...Korea [2:50]
3. The Captain's Jeep [2:02]
4. The New Cutters [2:02]
5. Major Burns [3:50]
6. Meatball Surgery [2:01]
7. Onward, Christian Soldiers [1:24]
8. The Best Cutter [4:03]
9. Meet Trapper John [:59]
10. Trapper's TKO [3:37]
11. A Regular Army Clown [:56]
12. Hail to the Chief [:46]
13. A Good Team [:59]
14. The Big Broadcast [1:59]
15. Hello, Hot Lips [4:11]
16. Burns Goes Berserk [1:35]
17. Walt's Problem [3:19]
18. Suicide Is Painless [1:05]
19. The Last Supper [3:02]
20. An Act of Mercy [4:24]
21. The Blood Donor [1:59]
22. A Real Blonde [1:36]
23. Going to Town [2:04]
24. Drafted [4:29]
25. A Special Assignment [1:26]
26. The Pros From Dover [:46]
27. "Me Lay" Marston [5:05]
28. Waiting for the Colonel [3:48]
29. Fixing the Fistula [1:00]
30. Back to Korea [1:24]
31. Duke & Hot Lips\ [5:18]
32. The General's Proposition [1:24]
33. Football Practice [1:23]
34. The Big Game [2:29]
35. Pressing the Bets [2:31]
36. The Ringer [1:54]
37. Number BB's Sister [:12]
38. The Winning Play [1:51]
39. Going Home [2:25]
40. Tonight's Movie... [1:21]
Disc #2 -- M*A*S*H
1. A Chancy Project [2:18]
2. Creating the Script [2:24]
3. The Casting [2:34]
4. Room to Improvise [4:39]
5. The Loudspeaker [2:31]
6. Sally's Nude Scene [3:00]
7. The Last Supper [1:44]
8. Michael's Song [1:38]
9. Script Changes [2:48]
10. The Operating Scenes [2:01]
11. The "F" Word [1:52]
12. Lardner's Words [:23]
13. An Anti-War Attitude [3:30]
14. Thirty Years After [1:45]
15. End Titles [1:40]
1. Behind the Laughter [1:01]
2. Comedy and Conflict [1:03]
3. The Book [2:11]
4. From Book to Film [3:09]
5. An Anti-War Film [2:55]
6. The Real M.A.S.H. [1:16]
7. The Korean War [1:57]
8. The Mobile Hospitals [1:22]
9. Korean Involvement [4:04]
10. Brand New Doctors [2:00]
11. The Nurses [1:02]
12. Discipline [2:59]
13. Blood and Gore [2:59]
14. The TV Series [1:52]
15. A Quest for Authenticity [3:40]
16. Folding the Tents [3:51]
17. The M*A*S*H Legacy [4:04]
18. End Titles [1:42]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- M*A*S*H
   Play Movie
   Language Selection
      Languages: English Stereo
      Languages: English Mono
      Languages: French Mono
      Captions & Subtitles: English
      Captions & Subtitles: None
   Special Features
      Commentary By Robert Altman
      Backstory: Mash
      Theatrical Trailer
      Still Gallery
      THX
   Chapter Selection
   Officers Mess
   Showers
   Swamp
   Officers Club
   Operating Theater
Disc #2 -- M*A*S*H
   Enlisted: The Story of M*A*S*H
      Play
      Chapter Selection
   M*A*S*H: Comedy Under Fire
      Play
      Chapter Selection
   M*A*S*H Reunion
   Film Restoration
   Burns
   Chief Nurse
   Swamp
   Painless
   Operating Theater
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Movie

    This has been a favorite movie of mine, and also the TV show, this a movie that is made to be funny, but has a serious undertone to it. War is not a funny thing but these people made the best of it in the movie like a family these people came together and worked throught the tough times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews