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Starring Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce and Elliot Gould as Trapper John McIntyre, two hip young surgeons drafted against their will. Their general attitude--while never corroding either their humanity or their professionalism as surgeons--is one of insolence towards military authority and the arbitrary structures and regulations continually droning from the tannoy system. The film, too, thrives on a lack of attention to conventional order, with its cross-dialogue and random, episodic style reflecting the vivacious and unbuttoned feel of the content.
However, MASH has dated and much of what seemed like "liberating" high jinks, today smacks of sexist, frathouse boorishness and harassment, especially at the expense of Major "Hotlips" Hoolihan (Sally Kellerman), while the episode in which "Painless" plans a suicide out of a fear of being gay reflects the persistence of homophobia even in 60s counterculture. Despite this MASH feels ahead of its time and certainly sharper and blacker than the too-cute sitcom it spawned.
On the DVD: this is an excellent restoration, overseen by Altman himself, in which any obfuscation from the original have been cleaned up, especially the sound quality. As well as a commentary from Altman, there are three separate documentaries, featuring interviews with Altman, the cast and screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr, who had been blacklisted during the anti-Communist witch-hunt which swept through Hollywood in the 1950s. We learn he was initially appalled at how little of his script Altman actually used but was mollified by the Academy Award he received. Altman is candid about the making of the movie ("It wasn't released by Fox, it escaped from Fox"). There's an abundance of similarly rich, anecdotal material here. --David Stubbs
Robert Altman's brilliant anti-war satire with surgeons Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland up to their elbows in blood and guts during the Korean War but still finding time... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Brendan Keane
I love the TV series with Alan Alda but the film version carries all the humour of the TV stuff with a much heavier anti-war message. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Mr. John Gayton
You may be enjoying the TV series re-runs, but until you've seen the brilliant performances of a group of then unknown actors directed by genius Robert Altman 'you aint seen nuttin... Read morePublished 1 month ago by R. J. Middleton
We bought this as we had both seen the film some years ago and are currently watching the TV series. We don't really know why but we prefer the TV series now. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mrs. V. J. Charles
Interesting pre cursor to the TV series which must have been well received by the strong anti war movementPublished 4 months ago by David Waring
What a pleasure to see this again, this is as good or better than I remember itPublished 4 months ago by HB
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