1970s M*A*S*H (1970)

Published on March 9th, 2007 | by Chris

1

M*A*S*H (1970)

Review of: M*A*S*H (1970)
Movie by:
Robert Altman

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On March 9, 2007
Last modified:October 16, 2012

Summary:

So is M*A*S*H a "war movie" or an "anti-war movie?" It's been called both, and I think they're right on both counts. Robert Altman's 1970 masterpiece which spawned the spinoff TV series comes at you from both directions, dead serious and dead funny. All at the same time.


M*A*S*H (1970)So is M*A*S*H a "war movie" or an "anti-war movie?"  It's been called both, and I think they're right on both counts.  Robert Altman's 1970 masterpiece which spawned the spinoff TV series comes at you from both directions, dead serious and dead funny. All at the same time.

It follows the doctors of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH!) in Korea during the war.  Some of which were drafted and wind up there by fate, others are "regular army clowns" who seem to live for this stuff.

Now, if you've never seen the movie, but only seen the TV series, you need to take everything you think you know, and just throw it out the window.  About the only common traits the two have is the name, the location, and the characters' names.  And Radar.  He'd be the only actor that stuck around for the series.

There are lots of things which make MASH an incredible movie.  Not the least of which are the performances from a stellar ensemble cast.  Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, and yes even the infamous Gary Burghoff.

MASH jumps between hilarious episodes, filmed with brilliant vision by Altman (my favorite is the "Last Supper" table) and the dead seriousness of their situation.

While watching this, you also realize how much of this you probably couldn't get away with in a movie today without having the riot act read to you. It's damn funny, but given the climate of today you don't really want to laugh in case someone sees you.

One of the problems though, is a lot of the humor is so subtle and "dry" that its lost on a lot of folks.  There's a lot of things that if you're not paying close attention, you'll miss the point.  The style is a bit disjointed and irregular, and could also put a few people off.  Once you get used to the strange cuts and angles, and realize what's going on, you'll get the hang of it.

It's been called an "anti-war" movie, and I suspect that's for a few reasons, probably more to do with the period it was made (at the height of Vietnam) and the way it belittles Army life as a series of mishaps connected by madness.

Of course, in a way, all good war movies *are* "anti-war" to some degree.

That is all.

M*A*S*H (Widescreen Edition) M*A*S*H (Widescreen Edition)
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Description

Sutherland's Hawkeye, Gould's Trapper and Kellerman's Hotlips push the boundaries of irreverence in this bawdy, black comedy about the members of a mobile medical unit during the Korean War.

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: TCFHE
Manufacturer: 20th Century Fox
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Donald Sutherland
  • Elliott Gould
  • Tom Skerritt
  • Sally Kellerman
  • Robert Duvall

Features

  • NEW

Reviews

Customer reviews
Average Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MASH true to the everyday gritty side of life., November 8, 2016
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This review is from: Mash (Amazon Video)
As compared to the TV series, the original MASH was obviously more geared toward everyday reality and the gritty side of humor when it came to war. It is important to be able to distinguish that fact versus the TV series itself which was geared more toward looking specifically at the comedic side of things in general. This Original theatrical release was relative for the time and those especially who had served. Though the time period remains somewhat misunderstood, MASH bridges that gap and remains a keepsake to those who understood this time period even when others didn't. Now for a look at the flip side...

MASH S1EP23 "No Turnip Left Unsqueezed"

Synopsis: The MASH unit hilariously tries to deal with a supply shortage.

INT - OPERATING ROOM - DAY

Hawkeye, BJ, Frank, Hotlips are operating on patients along with a few assistants.

Hawkeye: Dammit! Looks like we're going to need a pint or two to compensate.
Clamp... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Antiwar Satire/Comedy, July 13, 2017
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This review is from: M*A*S*H (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Mash

Robert Altman's classic war satire from 1970, using the Korean War 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as its focal point, as a metaphor for our involvement in Vietnam. The movie was made almost 50 years ago, and withstands the test of time, if one understands the backgrounds of the Korean War depicted and the Vietnam War during which Mash was filmed. The first rate cast includes Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, and Sally Kellerman, all of whom went on to very successful acting careers. A younger audience may find the film irreverent, sexist, homophobic, crude...but must understand the film is a work of satire, and focuses on young drafted doctors (who really don't want to be there) who are skilled/professional at what they do, and when time comes for play, they play hard. Mash the movie, is a completely different animal than the TV series which it preceded.

Altman's Mash uses rapid-fire overlapping dialogue, that demands one... Read more
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The movie's dark humor and message still hold up, July 25, 2015
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you are only familiar with the hit television series "MASH," then you might want to watch the original 1970 motion picture on which it's based. M*A*S*H, the movie, was pretty daring for its time and continues to be one of the best antiwar films ever to come out of Hollywood. Familiar with the movie or not, you may find the Blu-ray edition does it up right, with good picture and sound and plenty of bonus materials.

Upon first viewing this film in a theater, I enjoyed its black humor and antiwar stance, but I wasn't prepared for all the blood of the operating room. We didn't see this much blood forty-odd years ago even in horror flicks. It took me a few more viewings to understand the importance of those grisly scenes, to see that this may have been a funny and entertaining look at war, but it was also a realistic look at war. The blood brought the story back to earth, back to the harsh, grim realities of death, where people didn't die cleanly as they had in... Read more
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M*A*S*H (1970) Chris

Summary: So is M*A*S*H a "war movie" or an "anti-war movie?" It's been called both, and I think they're right on both counts. Robert Altman's 1970 masterpiece which spawned the spinoff TV series comes at you from both directions, dead serious and dead funny. All at the same time.

4.1


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to M*A*S*H (1970)

  1. As is usually the case for a Memorial Day Weekend, several cable/satellite networks will be chock full of classic war movies this coming weekend. Namely Turner Classic Movies, Fox Movie Channel, and AMC. I’m sure there are many more but these are “The B

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