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M A S H

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M*A*S*H is a satirical American black comedy novel written by Richard Hooker. It was made into a film directed by Robert Altman and released in 1970. Nominally about an outfit of medical personnel stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital[?] during the Korean War, the film stars Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould[?].

It has an anti-war message but delivers it with a light touch developing anarchy and bizarre conversation from the boredom and stress of the unwilling doctors. It has been criticized however for ignoring the slaughter of war in favor of camp existence and for a certain callousness, notably in the treatment of the characters played by Robert Duvall and Sally Kellerman[?].

The film is episodic, with considerable changes in tone and marked by Altman's trademark style of overlapping conversations or sounds and unusual use of zoom.

In the director's commentary on the DVD release of this film, Altman claims that this was the first movie to dare use the F word. (The word is spoken during the football game near the climax of the film.) This has been proven to be untrue, however; the movies I'll Never Forget What's His Name and Ulysses[?] (both released in 1967) both make the same claim to being the first to utter this famous profanity.

M*A*S*H went on to inspire a television series. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The film won the 1970 Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the Cannes Film Festival.

See also: M A S H (television)



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