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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant black comedy
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...
Published on 22 July 2004 by L O'connor

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An important piece of film history, but - in my eyes - hasn't aged well.
I should probably watch this again, since so many consider it a
masterpiece. Maybe I was over-prepared (Hey, it took me a second
viewing of 'Citizen Kane' to get my past pre-set expectations!). But while
I could see why M*A*S*H was groundbreaking and important for a
Hollywood film of it's day (lack of the usual clear narrative line, anti-war...
Published on 9 Aug 2010 by K. Gordon


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant black comedy, 22 July 2004
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars "The early morning fog I see", 15 April 2002
This review is from: M*A*S*H* [VHS] (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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War - what is it good for?, 19 Mar 2004
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Biting balck comedy anti- war satire from Robert Altman., 9 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: M.A.S.H. [1969] [VHS] (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. It has a stab at almost everything a proud nation holds dear. But there is something about M.A.S.H. - a kind of twisted logic - that makes it all make sense. Perhaps the best illustration of this is that although this film is set during a war, you don't actually see any war. Just the effects of it. Which is enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Racist and sexist but still funny, 11 Feb 2009
By 
Peter Wade (Colchester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I hadn't seen it for a long time so I was interested to see if it was still as funny. I remember first watching it is France in french in about 1971.

It was a breakthrough comedy because we had never seen a funny war film about serious matters.

The only reason it worked was because the main characters were obviously good doctors and they we doing life saving work. Again we had never seen blood and gore in a war film particularly one in a military hospital.

Everyone knows the television series but it was a watered down version of the film as Alan Alda didn't want to appear as a sexist. Also there were no racist comments in the television series.

Spearchucker Jones answers the question as to why he was called Spearchucker by saying it was because he threw the javelin but it is obvious he is called that because he is black.Also Duke Forrest wasn't keen on sharing his accommodation with a black officer.

Also the attitudes towards women is poor in the original film.

If I have any complaints it is that the American football game takes up too much of the film and adds noting to it apart form the fact that they know how to cheat to win.

Still a great film after all these years and has the advantage of having a great theme tune which is a must for great war films.

Worthy of a five and worthy of a few viewings.

I was recently watching the British in Afghanistan with the NHS doctors and nurses. It was gruelling to watch the real thing. that is why it is all the more amazing that anyone thought that a military hospital in the front line could be the subject of comedy. But as they say everything can be joked about as long as it is funny and this is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of all time greatest black comedies, 24 July 2009
By 
Ian Watters "lovingboth" (Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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Is it really true, as Altman claims in his commentary, that most people don't know this exists, and MASH is just a TV series? If so, they're missing out.

That commentary is a bit sparse in places, with long periods of silence, but it's got some interesting bits in it - the story of the crashed helicopter and the secrets of the Hot Lips in the shower scene in particular (although that's in the 'Backstory' documentary, the only one on the single disc version).

It doesn't cover some things I'd have liked, such as the decision to change the script's original storyline of 'The Swamp's houseboy, Ho-Jon, return to MASH as a fatally wounded soldier. (He became the anonymous 'prisoner of war' on the table in one scene - did they think the audience would think they all look alike? - for whom Radar steals blood from Col Henry.)

It would have made the film darker, but deeper: for once, it would be a death the characters - and audience! - directly care about rather than just another piece of meat on the operating table.

Even so, it remains a timeless classic. Made during the Vietnam war, nominally about the Korean, it remains as relevant as ever and could easily be about Iraq or Afghanistan today.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An important piece of film history, but - in my eyes - hasn't aged well., 9 Aug 2010
By 
K. Gordon - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I should probably watch this again, since so many consider it a
masterpiece. Maybe I was over-prepared (Hey, it took me a second
viewing of 'Citizen Kane' to get my past pre-set expectations!). But while
I could see why M*A*S*H was groundbreaking and important for a
Hollywood film of it's day (lack of the usual clear narrative line, anti-war
stance, overlapping, improvised dialogue, sexuality, bloody operating room scenes
serving as ironic counterpart, etc), it felt pretty dated and
unfocused. There are some very funny moments, but a lot of the ironies
seem easy, and there's a lack of a true darker underpinnings and ideas,
unlike, say, 'Dr. Strangelove'.

A lot of the humor is juvenile, cruel and silly. And while I get that's
the point - nothing can be more deeply juvenile, cruel and silly than
war, it got repetitive and heavy handed after a while. The performances
are good, but beyond Robert Duvall, none of the characters have much in
the way of dimensions. People stay exactly what we think they are from the
moment we meet them.

Walter Chow makes a good argument on the web site 'Film Freak Central',
that the sexism, homophobia, etc are the whole point. Altman is saying
we're ALL beasts at heart, even if we act like we're bucking the
system. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure I buy it's what
Altman was intending.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MASH revisited, 23 July 2009
By 
Ellie Mac. (Liverpool, U.K.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I really enjoy watching re-runs of MASH and have even got the final episode (featuring Alan Alda) stored on hard disk. As I had not seen the original 1970 film (unbelievably) I decided to order from Amazon. My package arrived speedily and I settled down to watch. What a difference to the TV series, although I enjoyed the film and realised the level of noise was meant to portray the chaos of war, but did detract from the enjoyment of the film somewhat and at times made it difficult to follow. The sexism, racism and OTT machismo in the film dated it somewhat, but hey, it was the 70's playing the 50's. All in all a good film, making a comedy in a hospital setting based in the middle of a war zone must have been a brave step, but as anti-Vietnam feeling was running high then perhaps it was the right time. I still prefer the film length version of the last TV episode
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, 21 Nov 2007
By 
Roger Gay "rogerfgay" (Haninge, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
It was wonderful seeing this film again after 37 years; a break from the mindless tedium of gratuitous blood and violence, brain-splitting noise, and endless shots of the poor man's opiate - political correctness that so often passes for entertainment today. Modern audiences will not likely identify as strongly as they did then. Today, the US has an all volunteer Army and not the same feelings related to going to war because you're told to. But it has the timeless quality of the human spirit in interesting yet realistic characters surviving in those difficult and uninvited circumstances. And no matter how many times I hear the theme music - Suicide is Painless - I still enjoy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mash stands the test of time, 19 Jan 2008
By 
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This review is from: M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
This film came out around the year I got married 1970 and after all the years still is fantastic to watch and enjoy just like my wife.
Picture quality is very good compared to the VHS video that I have had for some years. The extra disc on the two disc version is well worth the little bit extra that it costs as there are some good features on it.
Great value for money for so much fun. If I am around in another thirty years I am sure I will still be watching it.
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M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD]
M*A*S*H [1970] [DVD] by Robert Altman (DVD - 2002)
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