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
When the chopper comes in while Hawkeye and Trapper are playing golf there's a good aerial view of the camp and helipad. The nurses who are sunbathing at the bottom of the helipad when the pilot runs down the hill are not in that spot (or anywhere else) during the helicopters arrival. Also, the dirt hillside of the landing pad where Hawkeye and the pilot scuffle is already messed up from previous takes. The freshly turned over dirt is much darker there than elsewhere on the hillside. 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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