Okay, here are the basics . . . .
1) A U.S. Army hospital unit in war-torn Korea in the early 1950s;
2) Wounded soldiers and civilians being rushed into the compound via helicopters, trucks and jeeps -- to be operated on by incredibly talented surgeons who, in their off hours, are womanizing party animals and who have little or no respect for authority;
3) Fine, dedicated, caring nurses;
4) Medical personnel, faced with the bloody, gory realities of war, act crazy to keep from GOING crazy;
5) A ranking surgeon, who is somewhat less than competent, is romantically involved with the by-the-book, strong-willed regular army chief nurse,
6) A commanding officer who is not exactly a born leader;
7) The place seemingly being run by a shrewd, but innocent young clerk who seems to know things are going to happen before they do.
8) War is Hell; The Army is stupid.
It's all brilliant, inventive, and very original.
Unfortunately, in this movie, something goes wrong following the establishment of the above-mentioned wonderful basics, and the film loses that wonderful feel at just about the mid point.
For one thing, the less-than-competent ranking surgeon is disposed of relatively early and much too swiftly -- taken away in a straitjacket following an altercation with one of his colleagues.
There is a completely absurd sequence during which the camp dentist -- an educated man, presumably -- wishes to commit suicide for no good reason and is actually fooled into believing that his medical comrades, following a "Last Supper"-like ceremony, have given him a pill that will do the job. He even gets into a coffin, believe it or not, in preparation for his expected demise. This is followed by his friends filing past him and, in turn, paying their last respects. The only thing that makes this ludicrous scene at all watchable, for me, is the terrific acoustic guitar and vocal performance of the "MASH" theme song, "Suicide Is Painless." The dentist, incidentally, seems to be neither confused nor surprised by the fact that he is still alive the next day. (Instead of dying after taking the pill, he had been helped through his "crisis" by a very kind and desirable young nurse.)
Not long afterward, the unruly-yet-skilled surgeons travel to Japan to play some golf and, oh, operate on a congressman's son and help a sick infant . . . along the way disrupting a hospital, drugging and framing a colonel, and telling off a snooty head nurse.
Eventually comes a much-too-long, totally-out-of-place scene in which the MASH unit hustles another army outfit in a game of football by bringing in a "ringer" and drugging the other team's star -- who inexplicably is oblivious to a needle being stuck into his arm after being tackled. Where the football uniforms, equipment, field, scoreboard, goal posts and referees come from is a mystery. Incidentally, during this segment, the aforementioned by-the-book, strong-willed regular army chief nurse is magically transformed into a brainless pom-pom girl, enthusiastically cheering the very maniacs who have been harassing and humiliating her throughout the movie . . . and pretty much getting everything wrong.
Add to all of this the fact that the "M" in MASH stands for Mobile, yet this particular MASH unit never moves even *once* during the entire film.
All in all, a beautiful original concept which got lost somewhere along the way.
Luckily for us all, a group of very talented individuals later took all of those great "basics" of this movie which I mentioned at the start of this comment and transformed them into just about the greatest television series of all time. When you play the TV series DVDs, and eliminate the chuckle track, you are treated to what this movie quite possibly could have and maybe should have been.
Asked to give this movie a 1-10 number rating, I gave it a 7 (5 for the movie itself, plus an extra 2 for giving the TV series its initial main characters, a setting, and a visual style).
Action / Comedy / Drama / War
Action / Comedy / Drama / War
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 ...
Uploaded By: LINUS
November 19, 2015 at 10:41 AM