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Restored uncut original version of M*A*S*H the movie featuring Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould. Directed by Robert Altman — This Five Star Collection 2 disc set includes on disc 1: the movie, a directors c... more »
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Jack G. from BRADLEY, IL
Reviewed on 8/11/2012...
This is a terrific movie made during a turbulent time as an irreverent poke in the eye. But Alas, we don't learn, squandering billions of dollars and thousands of lives in other peoples wars.
3 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.
M*A*S*H - intelligent satire in a benchmark DVD release
Grant A Thompson | 08/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"M*A*S*H is one of the zaniest and most intelligent satires ever produced by Hollywood. This is a war movie in which only two shots are fired -- as signals in a football game. It is a masterpiece of wider appeal -- even to veterans -- than is suggested by its setting in Korean War military hospitals, or by its director's explicit aim of promoting liberal opposition to the Vietnam war during the '60s and '70s.The 2002 two-disk M*A*S*H special edition from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in many ways is a benchmark for DVD releases of cult movies. Picture and sound quality are high. The special feature content is entertaining and insightful.This content includes extensive retrospective comment by director Robert Altman, producer Ingo Preminger, former studio boss Richard Zanuck, scriptwriter Ring Lardner Jr, actors including Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Tom Skerritt, John Schuck and Gary Burghoff, and medical veterans of the Korean War. We see the 30th anniversary M*A*S*H reunion at Fox, and presentation of a studio life achievement award to Altman.The special content gives fascinating insights into the driving half-mad genius that so often makes a great director, and of egos and bigheartedness in movie making.
Almost everyone, from the scriptwriter to the studio executives and the actors, lined up against the director at some time. Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould once even tried to get Altman fired, fearing that he would damage their careers. In the M*A*S*H special edition features they eat their words and graciously pay tribute to Altman. Former studio boss Richard Zanuck says that until Altman came along other directors were afraid of the screenplay or didn't like it. 'Altman came in, and seemed unruly enough to be able to understand this subject matter.'M*A*S*H was made on a shoestring budget with Fox's Century Ranch standing in for Korea. It emerged from chaotic creative tension as an enormous artistic and financial success. Altman accepted a salary of only $75,000. His son Mike is reputed to have made more money from writing the lyric to the keynote ballad, 'Suicide Is Painless', with Johnny Mandel. Altman kept costs down by casting the movie with mostly unknown and out-of-work actors. 14 of the movie's 30 speaking roles were played by actors making their screen debut. Shooting finished three days ahead of schedule in 1969, and almost half a million dollars under budget. M*A*S*H went on to earn more than $80 million at the box office, a Palme d'Or at Cannes and an Oscar (for the heavily reworked script of formerly blacklisted scriptwriter Ring Lardner Jr), and to inspire a long-running popular TV series.This is a rare thing: a five star classic movie in a five star DVD release."
Suicide is Painless
Jason N. Mical | Bellevue, WA, USA | 01/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Five-Star Collection is Fox Studios' top-of-the-line releases. Movies like French Connection have already made the list, and now Fox debuts the greatest anti-war movie of all time, M*A*S*H. The basis for the long-running TV series (which also debuted recently on DVD), M*A*S*H introduces us to the antics of Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), Trapper John (Elliot Gould), Hot Lips (Sally Kellerman), and Radar (Gary Burghoff). Altman's black comic masterpiece doesn't have a solid plot so much as a series of skits and sketches about life during the war. From golfing 5 miles from the front to suspension of marital promises to trying to figure out why people are dying all around, M*A*S*H handles the gruesomeness of stupidity of war in the only way possible - if you're not laughing, then you're going to be crying, so it's probably better to laugh.And what a way to bring this classic to DVD - the movie has never looked so good. For being 30 years old, it looks great after Fox's extensive restoration and is presented in its original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 with an anamorphic transfer. There's some grain here and there, but the colors are exceptionally vibrant, with great contrast on the blacks and whites especially. The sound mix is a decent DD 2.0, which is fine considering that the movie is mostly dialogue, but the lack of a more dynamic soundtrack was noticeable during the football game and any time there was music. There are enough extras to make up for it, though, including Altman's commentary track, three featurettes including A&E's "The Story of M*A*S*H" and a 30-year cast reunion that's both touching and funny.The lack of the DD 5.1 soundtrack doesn't sully the otherwise pristine quality of the rest of this 2-disc set. It's a must have - get it now. Now, trooper! Now!"
"The game of life is hard to play, I'm gonna lose it anyway"
Mike Powers | Woolwich, ME USA | 03/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Probably no cinematic comedy produced by Hollywood in the last half of the twentieth century is as irreverent, disdainful of authority, critical of war and its effects, and, incidentally, as funny as "M*A*S*H", that 1970 comedic masterpiece starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Gary Burghoff, and Sally Kellerman; written by Ring Lardner, Jr.; and directed by Robert Altman, in his directorial debut. "M*A*S*H" is actually a very difficult film to review for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it's darned near impossible to provide an adequate synopsis for readers who've never seen the movie. Because, unlike most modern films that contain a linear story line, an easy-to-follow plot, and well developed characters that one can either root for or vilify with ease, "M*A*S*H" is a film that can only be described as a series of loosely joined comic vignettes, featuring a set of very true-to-life characters that are all BOTH very likeable and flawed. "M*A*S*H" is one of the best comedies ever made, and for good reason. It is genuinely funny. It is artistically produced; it contains great writing and acting; and it proclaims an important social message to viewers.Having said all that, "M*A*S*H" is very likely NOT a movie that will appeal to everyone's tastes - even now, 32 years after it was first released. How the movie was written and produced has a lot to do with that fact.As the story goes, the idea for producing a movie version "M*A*S*H" got its start when literary agent Ingo Preminger referred Dr. Richard Hooker's famous novel of the same name to 20th Century Fox executive Richard Zanuck. Zanuck enthusiastically supported the idea, hired Preminger as the movie's producer, and set out to find a screen writer and director. Ring Lardner Jr. (son of the famous 1930s sports writer) was brought in to write the script. Robert Altman was hired to direct. (As Altman tells it, he was about the "13th choice" of the studio to direct.)Shooting began during the summer of 1969. At the same time, the films "Patton" and "Tora! Tora! Tora!" were in production. Altman, eager to be successful in his first major film, decided to "hide out" on a back lot of the studio, where he would escape the watchful eyes of studio executives.As a result, Altman was able to apply many innovative techniques to the film. He wanted his actors to improvise as much as possible in each scene. He wired each actor with an individual microphone and encouraged them to talk over one another. He incorporated several bloody operating room scenes in the film. He tried to mask the fact that the film was supposed to be set during the Korean War. He wanted audiences to assume that this was a film about Vietnam, and he wanted them to understand his clear message about the monstrosity of war.(By the way, Altman's technique enraged Lardner, who thought Altman had basically thrown away the script. Lardner came perilously close to disassociating himself from the project, but in the end, accepted both the sole writing credit for the film... and the Oscar for Best Screenplay at the 1971 Academy Awards.).Because of Altman's innovative (some say crazy) filmmaking techniques, "M*A*S*H" succeeds as a brilliant film that achieves almost all of Altman's goals. The film is deeply imbued with a lifelike realism that allows viewers to "feel" what it was like in the fictional 4077th MASH. The actors speak like one would expect them to when confronted with the reality of war and the boredom of inactivity.Comedy scenes are uniformly uproariously funny, employing jokes and gags that range from subtle to coarse to borderline lewd. Interspersed with the comedy scenes are operating room sequences that are bloody to the point of horrific, but that bring home with full force the full brutality of war... so much so that, for a short time, the Defense Department banned the "M*A*S*H" from being shown in military theaters worldwide. I've read some reviews of "M*A*S*H" in which a criticism is leveled that the movie's characters are not well developed. I disagree with this judgment. I found I was readily able to identify with all the characters, whether they were likeable or not. Hawkeye, Duke, Trapper, Frank, Hot Lips, Henry, Radar, and all the others were completely believable, and fleshed out in detail... no small feat since the actors who played these parts were directed to perform their roles in such a highly improvisational manner."M*A*S*H" is one of those rare films that gives viewers everything they could ask for from a great film: wonderfully realistic acting; a great script; brilliantly funny comedy; superb drama, important social commentary; and artful, innovative filmmaking techniques. "M*A*S*H" has steadfastly stood the test of time for thirty years, never becoming outdated or irrelevant. Whether you've never seen it, or, like me, you've seen it many times: RUN, don't walk, to your nearest video store and check it out!"