Saturday, November 6, 2010

#92. MASH (1970)

DVD Synopsis: Starring Donald Sutherland, Tom Skeritt and Elliott Gould, MASH focuses on three American army surgeons stationed in Korea during the war. Though highly skilled and dedicated, they adopt a hilarious, lunatic lifestyle as an antidote to the tragedies surrounding them in their Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Robert Duvall, Gary Burghoff and Sally Kellerman also star as a sanctimonious major, a strangely prescient corporal and a self-righteous yet lusty nurse.










What a gloriously crazy film MASH is! What a wonderful bit of anarchy! Essentially a series of sketches centering on the same group of characters, MASH is mayhem to the third power. 

As an example, I offer you the sad story of Painless the dentist (John Schuck). One night, Painless fails to “perform” while in bed with a woman, and is convinced that this failure to act means he’s turned into a ‘fairy’. When Painless announces that, as a result of his newly-discovered sexual identity, he’s going to kill himself, the camp gives him a well-staged sendoff, complete with a coffin, a deadly black tablet and a dinner table set up to resemble yet another famous Last Supper. 

This is but one example of the disorder you can expect to find throughout the film, and thanks to this heightened level of hysteria that's accentuated at all times by Robert Altman's signature style of directing, I’ve never once seen MASH without noticing something new, something I had never picked up on before. This time out, that discovery was a loudspeaker announcement about the movie playing for the camp later that evening, in which it's revealed, quite causally, that “Col. Blake has secured for us The Halls of Montezuma”.


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1 comment:

John DeBoer said...

I first saw this movie as a senior in med school, about to embark on a surgical career, having spent several weeks as a pre-intern at an Army medical center, so I identified with it! The football game was overly long, but otherwise, I loved every part of it. "Your lips are so hot!"