The personnel at the 4077 MASH unit deal with the horrors of the Korean War and the stresses faced in surgery by whatever means. The tone at the MASH is established by recent arrivals, surgeons Captains 'Hawkeye' Pierce, 'Duke' Forrest, and 'Trapper' John McIntyre - the latter who Hawkeye knows he's met somewhere, but Trapper who won't divulge where - whose antics can be best described as non-regulation, and in the negative words of one of their fellow MASH-ers: unmilitary. The unit's commanding officer, Colonel Henry Blake, doesn't care about this behavior as long as it doesn't affect him, and as long as they do their job and do it well, which they do. Their behavior does extremely bother fellow surgeon, Major Frank Burns, and recently arrived head nurse, Major Margaret Houlihan, who obtains the nickname 'Hot Lips' based on information they glean about her through underhanded means. Beyond their battles with Frank and Hot Lips, Hawkeye, Duke and/or Trapper help unit dentist Painless ...Written by
According to Robert Altman, this was the first R-rated movie to use the word "fuck" in it, but he claimed that it wasn't his idea. During second unit shooting for the football game that comes near the end of the film, John Schuck was told to say something "really nasty" to his opponent. Schuck came up with "All right, bub, your fucking head is coming right off", and it made it into the film's final cut. See more »
Trapper John (Elliott Gould ) was not only not dressed or groomed within the regulations of the US Army of the 1950's, it wasn't acceptable during the 1970s filming of movie. There's no way that a military officer (doctor or not) would be allowed to report to a military unit looking as he did. See more »
The announcer on the camp P.A. throughout the film several times announces the movie that will be shown in the mess tent that evening, with a description and list of stars in it. Near the end of the film, in the last scene, the P.A. announcer says "Attention. Tonight's movie has been MASH. Follow the zany antics of our combat surgeons as they cut and stitch their way along the front lines, operating as bombs and bullets burst around them, snatching laughs and love between amputations and penicillin. Follow Hawkeye, Trapper, Duke, Dago Red, Painless, Radar, Hot Lips, Dish, and staff sergeant Vollmer, as they put our boys back together again. Starring ..." and then lists the actors. See more »
Re-released on DVD and VHS unedited and with an MPAA rating of "R" in January 2002. See more »
M*A*S*H made the reputation of its director Robert Altman, but although Altman's talents are considerable, I think he pulled off a fast one here. The plot careens from place to place, the story doesn't really go anywhere, the script is disjointed, and we don't get nearly the sense of the brutality of war that we see in other films of this period, even the ones that weren't nearly as entertaining. Heck, the TV series did a better job of looking into the utter futility of war. The surgical scenes are somewhat gruesome, but hardly shocking.
I think the sucess of the film and its obvious entertainment value (you will like watching this film) is due to a five star cast from top to bottom. The actors who deservedly made their reputation in this film and give fine performances throughout are Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Gary Burghoff and Bud Cort, and that's just the A-team. Heck, I could make a good movie today with just those people. From the stoic Trapper John to the bible thumping adulterer Frank Burns, the characters ring true and are fully fleshed out.
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