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M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD]

Price: £10.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall
  • Directors: Robert Altman
  • Writers: Richard Hooker, Ring Lardner Jr.
  • Producers: Ingo Preminger, Leon Ericksen
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, Japanese, Korean
  • Subtitles: Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 29 April 2002
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UWTI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,572 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

This celebrated satire depicts the crazy antics and the sexual adventures of Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould) and Duke Forrest (Tom Skerritt), all surgeons working in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The black humour of the medical team is contrasted with the terrible waste of life that they are exposed to. This was director Robert Altman's first major hit, and bears his characteristic stamp of documentary-like camerawork, loose narrative and quick-fire, realistically delivered dialogue. A long-running, popular television series followed, although the only cast member to make the transition was Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly).


MASH--a 1970 comedy-drama set among surgeons drafted into the Korean war--was a breakthrough not just for director Robert Altman but for movie-making in general. Although set in the 50s, there are few who did not realise that the film's anti-war messages were directed at the US involvement in Vietnam. Indeed, the Pentagon banned US servicemen from seeing the film.

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

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on 22 July 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are only familiar with the TV version of M.A.S.H., you will find the film very different but very funny. Donald Sutherland (Hawkeye) and Elliott Gould (Trapper)are both brilliant as the crazy surgeons trying to keep sane amidst the chaos of war. The humour of the film is much blacker than the Tv series, of the movie cast only Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly) went on to star in the TV version. These days I find I prefer Donald Sutherland's Hawkeye, Alan Alda's relentless niceness gets on my nerves a bit. In the movie (as in the original novel) there are two other surgeons joining in Hawkeye and Trapper's antics, Duke Forrest and Spearchucker Jones (you may recall there was a halfhearted attempt to include Spearchucker in the first TV series, but he soon faded from view). I love the bit where Duke, a Southerner, is told he's going to be sharing accomodation with a black surgeon, and says plaintively "Oh no, it's bad enough having to share with you two Yankees!" Uptight army nurse Margaret Houlihan is subjected to rougher treatment than in the TV series, as for instance when her all is exposed when the doctors make the shower collapse while she's using it in order to settle a bet over whether she's a natural blonde or not. Then there's the climatic football match where some very dirty tactics are brought into play to make sure the M.A.S.H. team win. The movie is darker, dirtier, and in some ways funnier than the TV version.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By on 15 April 2002
Format: VHS Tape
There is a general law that says books are normally better than the films, though there are some exceptions. That is why i had my doubts before i saw this film, boy was i wrong. Though the book by Richard Hooker is brilliant i think the film is better! Robert Altman did a great job and Sutherlands and Gualds performances are sheer class.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andy Millward VINE VOICE on 19 Mar. 2004
Format: DVD
I usually confine my comments to the standard of the film, but in this case the quality of restoration deserves a mention, as do the extras provided on the DVD. Unusually, these are well worth having and add to the enjoyment of the main feature.
M.A.S.H. is probably best known nowadays for having spawned the classic TV sitcom starring Alan Alda but more an ensemble creation of well-loved characters. A number of these appear in the original film, though it was originally intended as a star vehicle for Messrs. Sutherland and Gould. Where the TV series took much longer to explore the nuances of relationship and unpeel the subtle layers of about war, the film uses the limitations of a 2-hour format to create a dark satire with the essential underpinning of serious compassion and empathy, gloss over some aspects of characterisation and stays lightweight to retain its audience. That said, there is more gore and therefore sense of realism about the big screen version, even if it wimps out of a more direct condemnation of war.
Robert Altman's evolving neo-fly-on-the-wall style will be familiar to anyone watching his later films such as the Player and Nashville. And it works - the comic results are a joy to behold, and stand the test of time remarkably well through the endless topicality of war - consider what the Trapper and Hawkeye of today would feel about the Iraq war from their mobile army surgical hospital in Basra!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 May 2000
Format: VHS Tape
M.A.S.H is one of those films that rewards multiple viewings. Firstly, because of the overlapping, quickfire dialogue. It is almost impossible to get every joke the first time round. Secondly, there are the performances : Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould are superb as the two hell-raising surgeons. It is as if the roles of Hawkeye and Trapper John were created especially for them - they are totally convincing in every respect, whether it's in the operating room stitching up wounded soldiers, or plotting how to rig the final football game. Thirdly, there is the rest of the ensemble, who all give magnificent performances. Particularly memorable are Sally Kellerman as Major 'Hot-Lips' Houlihan, and John Schuck as the suicidal dentist Painless Pole. Much of the dialogue was improvised during filming under Robert Altman's direction. As a result, the characters of the 4077 are brought unforgettably to life. This improvisation gives the film its gritty, realistic edge, which makes it all the more believable. The scenes in the OR - bloody, gruesome, painfully realistic - contrast brilliantly with the anarchy of the surgeons' zany antics when they're off duty. These antics primarily involves the ridicule of anyone who has any respect for the Army authority (oh, and trying to score with the nurses!). Vindictive though this behaviour is, you understand it because you see the job that these people do, since you are there with them in the operating room. M.A.S.H. is a study of people trying to stay sane under insane circumstances. The solution ? The people go a little crazy. Unlike the TV series, the film is not a laugh-a-second affair. The humour is dark to the point of not being funny. It attacks everything. It satirises everything. This film bites.Read more ›
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By Keith M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD
This 1970 satire on the Korean War, in my estimation, faced a number of hurdles in terms of its cinematic ambition. First, it represented one of master director Robert Altman's early forays into film-making following a long career in TV and, whilst there are some hints of the magical touches he would show in his later (superior) films McCabe And Mrs Miller, Nashville, The Player and Short Cuts, for me this film is more of a mixed bag. Second, the film was, of course, succeeded by the long-running (and, for me, significantly superior) TV series, which, admittedly with a much extended scope (around 50 times the film's duration, if my calculations are correct), allowed much deeper character and plot development.

Having said this, there are, of course, many things to commend the film version. Ring Lardner Jnr.'s Oscar-winning screenplay is in large part hilarious, particularly during the superior first half of the film. Altman also assembled an all-star cast (or, at least, soon to be stars) and there are many standout performances. As the trio of rebellious, philandering doctors variously arriving at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, each of Donald Sutherland ('Hawkeye' Pierce), Elliot Gould ('Trapper John' McIntyre) and Tom Skeritt ('Duke' Forrest) are suitably sardonic in the presence of authority figures. Similarly, there are superb character parts delivered by Roger Bowen as the camp's commanding officer, Colonel Henry Blake, René Auberjonois as the resident chaplain Father Mulcahy and (soon to play the same memorable character in the follow-up TV series) Gary Burghoff as Corporal 'Radar' O'Reilly.
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