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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

M*A*S*H (1970)



Reviews and Comments

M*A*S*H is arguably the first modern black comedy, and small wonder it made such a splash, spawning one of the most popular television series of all time and launching the career of the brilliant director Robert Altman. This episodic film is one of a kind. It's set in a mobile army surgical hospital during the Korean War but is not so much about the war as about the characters making the most of a bad situation by all manner of mischief imaginable. The lengths to which they'll go to walk the line between harmless fun and serious trouble are hilarious.

After asking myself why M*A*S*H resonates so much, only a moment's consideration yielded a number of possible reasons. One, the writing is fantastic, and the straight-faced comic delivery, impeccable; two, never do the characters seem anything less than real people, which is rarely the case in comedies; three, how can we not admire those dedicated to something so honorable yet horrible and successfully making a positive experience about it? Would that all of us could turn life's hardships so much to our advantage with such ease.