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
Robert Altman felt that he was able to get away with so much during shooting because the officials at 20th Century Fox were keeping a closer watch on their two massively expensive projects, also war films, Patton (1970) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). See more »
During the talk in the office about having a football game, a light, presumably from one of the cameras, can be seen reflected in one of the men's sunglasses. 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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