Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Forgotten Movies: M*A*S*H



I was a bit disappointed in watching this a few weeks ago. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the familiar faces but it was almost more like a montage than a movie. I didn't really know the characters by the end. Sally Kellerman playing Hot Lips stood out for me. And Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland were fine if a bit underdeveloped.

I think Altman was so busy trying to create something new with overdubbing lines (or whatever you would call it) that we lost a bit. So all in all, I prefer the TV series. Yes, it did grow didactic over time but there are many great episodes.

My son always says look for the episodes before B.J. grows a mustache for the best scripts. I will.

What do you prefer? Movie or TV series?

20 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, the original film really was great, Patti, wasn't it? So many people think of the TV series, but the film was terrific.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

No question, the TV series by a wide margin, though I liked the movie when I first saw it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I believe Gary Burghoff was the only regular to play the same character in the movie and television series.

pattinase (abbott) said...

As far as I could tell that was the case. And, of course, his role was bigger in the series.

R. T. (Tim) said...

I prefer the short-attention-span-theater format of the TV series; plus, the ongoing saga over the years is much more appealing than a couple of hours in a dark theater among noisy strangers. Now, here is a cultural observation and prediction: I suspect that movies in stand-alone theaters will disappear in another generation because both the environment and format will not appeal to ultra-moderns conditioned by quick and immediate media gratification.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I disagree. Movie theaters are more comfortable than ever. People need to get out of the house. Newer theaters have restaurants, bars, even bowling alleys. There has never been a film that I enjoyed half as much at home as I did in the theater. The only nail in the coffin might be that TV shows are so much better than movies. The film industry has to step up their game.

Rick Robinson said...

The TV series, especially the first few seasons.

R. T. (Tim) said...

Well, yes, I understand your points; however, I also wonder if movie theaters have been pricing themselves out of the market for many people. But, even as I write that statement, perhaps prices have remained stable when adjusted for inflation over the years; my 50 cent admission in the 50s and 60s might be the equivalent of today's ticket prices, but I defer to someone more knowledgeable on that account.

I confess that I am not a movie-goer in recent years. My bad experiences in the 90s and the early years of the 2000s ruined the movie-theater experience for me, and I have not returned since seeing the first Lord of the Rings (which was very disappointing and annoying).

And so ends another rant-and-rave from this aging curmudgeon!

Elgin Bleecker said...

On MASH – I am not a fan of either the movie or the TV show. But the book is a hoot. If you ever find a copy, grab it.
On Movie Theaters – As a child of television, I saw almost every great movie on the tube. But when I was a kid, they re-issued LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO and those were great on the big screen. Today’s TVs are so excellent that theaters ought to be worried. I agree with Patti, movie theaters will stick around, but the movies ought to step up their game.

Elwood Blues said...

Police Squad was just as funny (perhaps even funnier) than the Naked Gun movies.

Zsa Zsa Demure said...

Only Tarantino would have the nerve to film what is essentially 'a chamber piece' in 70mm ! ! !, admittedly its a format that does give a quite astonishing picture and sound quality but personally i think it should be reserved for science-fiction blockbusters rather than obscure semi-westerns.

George said...

I'm with Rick. The first couple seasons of M.A.S.H. were great. It tailed off at the end. They should have done what DOWNTON ABBY did: wrap things up after six years. And maybe make a movie.

Mean Johnny One-Note said...

Its astonishing that "My So-Called Life" (1994) only got one season, of the 19 episodes that were made i think 7 or 8 of them are literal masterpieces, it was one of those incredibly rare shows that had that indescribable magic and genius that cannot be summed up with mere words. They said that Claire Danes didn`t want to do another series but since when has the lead actress sniding off been a reason not to make great television ! ?, there should have been another 2 seasons at least (40 more episodes), but at least we`ll always have those 8 truly astounding episodes to watch over and over again (i watch them endlessly) featuring some of the most amazing scenes in the entire history of television.

Wendel Corey said...

"Land of the Giants" (1968-70) deserved a third season, OK it wasn`t as good as "Lost in Space" but it was still a terrific show that deserved more respect than it got.

Dana King said...

I think of the TV MASH and the movie MASH as two separate tings, much as I do with books that are made into movies. Two different storytelling media with different ambitions. I'd be hard pressed to say which I liked more overall.

Todd Mason said...

Altman's favorite trick was usually referred to as overlapping dialog. Certainly the Asperger's nature of sullen doctors is punched across in the film...I'd suggest the series never was consistently good again after losing Rogers and Stevenson, though it had some decent episodes...the self-congratulation of the later episodes, and their preciousness, was even more off-putting than the didacticism.

The first three/four seasons of the series mostly more engaging than the film. Haven't read the books.

David Cranmer said...

Seen this film a good fifty times over the years. Though favorite Altman is still McCabe & Mrs. Miller.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Mine, too!

Henrik Byzantium said...

What about "Brewster McCloud" (1970) ! ! !, that is such a cult-item par-excellence.

Imogen Freebaser said...

I always liked the way that Warren Beatty snuffed it in "McCabe & Mrs. Miller", after he gets shot he falls down beside that barn and gradually gets covered by the snow, what a perfect way to snuff it!, so cosy.