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
No, not the very wonderful TV series. The Robert Altman film with Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye, Elliott Gould as Trapper John, and Radar as Radar. This is a dark comedy, but it's a delight from beginning to end. And even more effectively than the TV show, the movie illustrates the complete insanity of war. (But even the movie doesn't depict Jesus on the cross hanging from a helicopter. For that you'll need to read the book.) Like most Altman films, this one is episodic. It's also gritty, grim, bloody, offensive, and charming. And Frank Burns (Robert Duvall) is not a character watered down and humanized for television. This is an example of a film so rich in detail (like Altman's "Popeye," come to think of it) that it demands multiple viewings.
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