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Nurse Lt. Ruth McGara is assigned to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit near the front lines of the Korean War. There she meets and is roughly romanced by Major Jed Webbe, one of the unit's surgeons. Webbe is pushy and seems to care only for momentary pleasures, but McGara falls for him just the same. Their romance blossoms in the midst of overwhelming numbers of casualties, threats from the enemy and from the weather, and emergency evacuations that test the mettle of even a unit whose very name suggests quick mobility. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The film originally had a different title but the studio and the director thought that title would mislead audiences, so "Battle Circus" was instead chosen. The original title that was rejected was "MASH 66," which referred to the same Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit in the Korean War later made famous in both the film MASH (1970) and the TV series _"M.A.S.H." (1972)_. See more »
Early in the film Bogart's character tells the nurses that "the smoking lamp is out"; smoking lamp is a navy phrase. A phrase not used in the army. See more »
The black and white photography, camera angles and editing of Battle Circus are top rate adding verisimilitude to an unusual story about medics during the Korean War.
The dialog between Bogie and June is hard-boiled and cheesy and quite wonderful. It is entertaining to see a big-hearted 1950's female character (Allyson) deflecting an in-your-face, unapologetic wolf (Bogart) without need of feminist presumption, sexual harassment law and political correctness cops.
With their distinct, defining and appealing faces and voices, both leads make the film's romance seem some what logical within the logic of 1950's Hollywood. It sure is fun watching them.
And so too is a terrific Keenan Wynn and the mechanics and team work required to set up MASH units in a war zone. In the film, the tented hospitals were set up, taken down and hauled off and set up again by men and women who were clearly experienced in the service.
The surgery tents and medical sequences in Battle Circus are sanitized compared to what one sees on television these days and what was depicted in the TV series M.A.S.H! Back then, the entertainment world respected the privacy of someone's innards particularly when their guts were spilling out of a body ripped by shrapnel.
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