Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.
Greek Sea, World War II. An Italian ship leaves a handful of soldiers in a little island; their mission is to spot enemy ships and to hold the island in case of attack. The village of the ... See full summary »
A bad Polish actor is just trying to make a living when what should intrude but World War II in the form of an invasion. His wife has the habit of entertaining young Polish officers while ... See full summary »
The story follows an underground weapons manufacturer in Belgrade during WWII and evolves into fairly surreal situations. A black marketeer who smuggles the weapons to partisans doesn't ... See full summary »
Semi-autobiographical tale from the early life of director Franco Zeffirelli looks at the illegitimate son of an Italian businessman. The boy's mother has died, and he is raised by an ... See full summary »
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow Marine recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 in Hue, Vietnam.
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. That's where two young surgeons, Duke and Hawkeye end up during the Korean War. There is no plot as such, but instead a series of episodes during which they put their stamp on the camp including a football game against a larger unit with thousands riding on it, a trip to Tokyo to operate on a congressman's son and play a little golf, and finding out if the head nurse is a natural blonde. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The opening title sequence has a text that identifies the place as Korea. This was added at the insistence of the studio after director Robert Altman had removed every reference to Korea, intending it to be mistaken for Vietnam, which would reinforce the anti-war statement. See more »
When O'Houlihan has a discussion with Hawkeye in the mess tent shortly after her arrival, there is a shot over Hawkeye's shoulder where you can see that his glasses have appeared back on his face even though they were off in the previous shot. See more »
"M*A*S*H" is continually lauded as an important American film and I suppose that it has a valid claim to that title. However, I think that apart from historical significance the film is not particularly exceptional.
Robert Altman's direction is interesting but to be honest I just didn't appreciate some of his techniques very much. The frequent use of zoom wasn't very attractive and while the overlapping sound may have enforced realism I would rather have had clearer dialogue. Nevertheless, there is one particularly impressive scene: Painless's 'last supper', framed & shot in irreverent manner by Altman. That scene and the opening credits also feature "M*A*S*H"'s well-known theme song "Suicide is Painless".
The cast of then-unknowns is pretty authentic and do their jobs well. Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall & Sally Kellerman, among others, populate the story with vivid characterizations. Nevertheless, the film is still a bit lacking in terms of character development, which isn't surprising given the breadth of the cast.
As for the story, I'm unclear as to how exactly this is to be construed as an anti-war film. It's certainly not pro-war but it seems to me to be too escapist to tackle any stance whatsoever. Yes, there are gruesome scenes in the operating room which are contrasted with the zany antics of the surgeons. However, these merely suggest the aim of maintaining sanity in an insane situation. The plot (what little of it there is) is as rambling and chaotic as the war itself, which doesn't help to make the filmmakers' points any clearer. There are indeed some memorable episodes but overall the story just seems to lack substance.
While I wouldn't say that the film lives up to its reputation I do consider it worth watching. Altman & company are successful more often than not and do indeed create some memorable moments. Unfortunately, those memorable moments are surrounded by other, not so memorable moments.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?