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
The scene where Father Mulcahy is blessing the Jeep was improvised. Rene Auberjonois found the blessing in a copy of the Army Chaplain's Handbook, and thought it would be a good addition to the story, and to his character. Robert Altman agreed, and the scene was shot in one take. See more »
"The Japanese Farewell Song (Sayonara)", which plays over the P.A. speaker when Frank Burns is being taken away in the straitjacket, was not published until 1955, two years after the fighting in Korea ended. See more »
I too, like another reviewer, had seen this pic only after being accustomed to the TV series. The TV show's characters had a warmth and comradeship, especially in the later seasons. Hawkeye, Trapper or BJ might have teased Frank, Hot Lips or Winchester, but always with a twinkle in their eye. In the movie however, despite Trapper avenging Frank's blaming an intern for a soldiers death and Hawkeye's helping Painless's "problem", I found the movie's characters extremely self-centered, hard-nosed, mean-spirited and hubristic. Hawkeye and Trapper just walk over anyone and everybody to have their way. I guess they feel they are such good surgeons that they don't have to obey any Army regulations. In the REAL army of that period, their shenanigans would have them in court-martial in less time than you could say "I like Ike." Everyone excepting Radar, Father Mulchay and Spearchucker comes across as stuck-up morons. The movie and TV show seem to be completely about something different. I sympathize with the Tokyo jeep driver's sentiment "Goddam Army!"
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