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MASH
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FAQ for
MASH (1970) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for MASH can be found here.

What is 'MASH' about?

Three extremely non-regulation army surgeons -- Captains Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould]), and Duke Forrest (Tom Skerritt) -- are drafted and sent to the 4077 MASH unit on the Korean front during the Korean War [1950-1953]. Forced to share their quarters with extremely regulation surgeon Major Frank Burns (Robert Duvall), they deal with the horrors of war by ignoring protocol, engaging in zany antics, and snatching laughs and love between amputations and brain surgery.

Yes, The movie is based on MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968) by Richard Hooker, the pen name for American surgeon Dr. H. Richard Hornberger and American sportwriter W.C. Heinz, based on Hornberger's experiences as an army surgeon during the Korean War. The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr. The movie's popularity led to the long-running TV serial 'M*A*S*H' (1972-1983).

What does MASH stand for?

Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

He's referring to the color of his hair. Dago Red is actually a slang term for cheap red wine, particularly the homemade wine brewed by Italians.

'It's creamed chipped beef on toast, commonly served in military chow lines. The GIs dubbed it 'SOS', which was an acronym for 'Sh**-On-a-Shingle'.

Dentist 'Painless Pole' Waldowski (John Schuck) was legendary for his well-endowment and sexual prowess. However, he has a bad night (i.e., he couldn't get it up) and starts doubting his own sexual orientation, so he decides to commit suicide. His friends humor him, going so far as to arrange a fake suicide on his behalf ("the Black Capsule") and instead of dying, he has sex with Lt Maria 'Dish' Schneider (Jo Ann Pflug) who restores his self-confidence.

How does the movie end?

At the end of the first half, the 325th EVAC team has racked up 16 points to the 4077's zero. During half time, Col Blake gets Gen Hammond to double the bets. Now it's time, as planned, to put 'Spearchucker' Jones (Fred Williamson) into the game. The 4077th begins to rack up points...16-6, then 16-12. With just seconds left in the game, Spearchucker comes up with a special 'center eligible' play. Instead of hiking the ball to Hawkeye, SSgt Vollmer (David Arkin) slips it under his jersey. While the 325th is ganging up on Hawkeye, Vollmer runs unchallenged to the goal line for a touchdown. Final score 325th 18, 4077th 18. The team returns to camp, cheering over their victory. After a game of poker, Spearchucker, assisted by Duke and Hot Lips, performs a brain surgery while Hawkeye sits outside petting pup-pup. Radar walks bye and directs Hawkeye to a messenger who tries to hand him a paper. Shortly thereafter, Hawkeye interrupts the brain surgery to inform Duke that they have received order to go home. Duke and Hot Lips exchange furtive looks with each other as Spearchucker complete the operation. In the final scene, Hawkeye and Duke say goodbye to Trapper John and allow Father Mulcahey to bless their jeep. They drive off together in the same 'stolen' jeep in which they arrived.

While most of the main characters, i.e., Hawkeye, Trapper John, Col Henry Blake, Cpl 'Radar' O'Reilly, Major Margaret 'Hot Lips' Houlihan, Major Frank Burns, and Father Mulcahy, made the transition from the movie to the television show, the only actor to remain in his role was Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly). Some minor characters, such as Spearchucker Jones, Lt Dish, Pvt Boone, and Brig Gen Charlie Hammond also appeared during the first season of 'M*A*S*H', but they were not seen in succeeding seasons. The only minor actor to follow his movie role into the TV show was G. Wood (Gen Hammond). Timothy Brown, who plays Cpl Judson in the movie, appears as Spearchucker Jones during the first season of the TV series. Duke was mentioned on the TV show as 'that brain surgeon from Georgia' but didn't appear physically.

Who wrote the theme song?

Robert Altman's son, Michael Altman, then 14, wrote the lyric. Director Robert Altman states that his son earned over a million dollars in royalties much more than his $70,000.00 Director fee.. Johnny Mandel wrote the music

Through early morning fog I see,
Visions of the things to be,
The pains that are withheld for me,
I realize and I can see...

[REFRAIN]

That suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make,
All our little joys relate,
Without that ever-present hate,
But now I know that it's too late, and...

[REFRAIN]

The game of life is hard to play,
I'm gonna lose it anyway.
The losing card I'll someday lay,
So this is all I have to say.

[REFRAIN]

The only way to win is cheat,
And lay it down before I'm beat,
And to another give my seat,
For that's the only painless feat.

[REFRAIN]

The sword of time will pierce our skins.
It doesn't hurt when it begins.
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger...watch it grin, but...

[REFRAIN]

A brave man once requested me,
to answer questions that are key.
Is it to be or not to be?
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?'

[REFRAIN]

'Cause suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes.
And I can take or leave it if I please.
And you can do the same thing if you please.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 5 months ago
Top 5 Contributors: gibsonj338-3, pacificboy, gnalkhouri, adampearce96, miamiscifi

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