A down on his luck gambler links up with free spirit Elliot Gould at first to have some fun on, but then gets into debt when Gould takes an unscheduled trip to Tijuana. As a final act of ... See full summary »
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
Margaret's surname is scripted as "Houlihan". The 'O' was added due to a slip of the tongue by G. Wood and Roger Bowen, the only two people who refer to her as "O'Houlihan" in the whole movie. See more »
As comedies go, it doesn't get much better than M*A*S*H! Script, direction, casting, music and acting are all at their very best in this satirical take on the Korean War - ironically, there is no army action played out during the movie, just the escapades of Elliot Gould, Donald Sutherland, et al where they are stationed to take in casualties of war.
From the opening shots we feel the slow mood of the film, yet if we look a little closer, we see comedy and havoc all around. This is in my opinion, Altman's finest piece - the film is superbly shot, showing fantastic long shots, typical of the era. Elliot Gould has never been so cool, and Donald Sutherland's dryness is sublime. The cast as a whole are the driving force behind this movie - the actor's clearly have taken time to learn their character's, and it really shows, right down to Radar's communication with the field Marshall (or whatever he is). It is very much a character driven movie.
The football game just shows what these people are really like - fun, scheming, lovable cheats - but it pays off because the opposition is so loathsome.
Beautifully written, shot, acted and the rest. Without a shadow of a doubt this is a 10 out of 10 and one of the best comedies around.
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