[critical] MASH

Young surgeons anti-militarist loving alcohol and women find themselves in the midst of the war in Korea at the military hospital in mobile where they sow mayhem.

Author’s Note


Original title : MASH

Achievement : Robert Altman

Screenplay : Ring Lardner Jr.

Main actors : Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skeritt, Sally Kellerman, Rene Auberjonois, Robert Duvall

Country of origin : United States

Output : 1 may 1970

Duration : 1h56mn

Trailer :

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MASH, of which the title is taken from the acronym of the military hospitals, american campaign, has sufficiently marked his time to be nominated for an academy award, get the Golden Palm at Cannes in the early 70’s and then declined into a tv series, something quite rare at the time. The director Robert Altman, in spite of the obligation by the studio to precisely locate the action in Korea in the 50’s, we provide here a comedy anti-militarist who seeks quite clearly the american action the release of the film.

There is a band of merry fellows multiplying the pranks and silly things (go see the nurses take their shower or ridicule the officers, for example), as do their craft with a detachment to the limit of the absurd from time to time. The blood is only present on the tables of operation where they amputated the injured by dredging the nurses, the only sounds of guns resound during a football game and with the exception of uniforms from time to time, you’d also watch a movie on a sort of holiday camp where the guys spend their time smoking, drinking, and fucking.

Even quite dated, MASH is clearly a object film of the 70s extremely pleasant.

In this bawdy burlesque, two of the actors are giving their evidence. We can see a young Donald Sutherland is perfect in the role of Hawkeye (Eye of Lynx in VF) three years after having made his weapons in a dozen but well before you become a star : he is the character that we follow from the beginning and that brings up the most intrigue and comedy. It holds up extraordinarily well his character with such a look of dog’s crazy enough to be relevant. In addition, Elliott Gould, almost a beginner as well and whose character does not happen early in the film, will add to its arrival the perfect counter-weight humorous necessary to Sutherland.

By putting into context there are more than 40 years, such debauchery within a military structure as highly regarded as could be the american army be done through a task, and surprises the viewer. The main winning for this film was to meet the success with a topic that is potentially controversial, with a host of unknown actors at the time and a sense of humor as slapstick on a subject not conducive to laughter, especially in 1970. We regret, however, the pace of the film a little too suspended to the succession of his gags and the fact that they are sometimes a bit weak (or meanwhile become too conventional) but that is the only criticism that one can do in this film that, if it is indeed a bit aging in the form, remains a major work.

It will no doubt be surprised by some of bias on the part of the director (the characters who sometimes talk all at the same time, etc) but even quite dated, MASH is clearly a object film of the 70s extremely pleasant. Leaving the place in dialogues, sometimes completely improvised, and in turn a war film without any battle than a football match, Robert Altman’s portrayal of the fighting by the only brush they deserve : that of the ridiculous and the pointless.

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