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Robert Altman's M*A*S*H Coming To Blu-ray

July 5, 2009


The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is shaken up by the arrival of Captains Hawkeye Pierce and Duke Forrest, amazing surgeons but lousy soldiers, who deal with the daily carnage of the war by raising hell, as M*A*S*H ten-huts onto Blu-ray Disc September 1st from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Directed by Academy Award® nominee Robert Altman (Gosford Park), the film's screenplay was written by Oscar® winner Ring Lardner Jr (Woman of the Year) based on the novel by Richard Hooker.

The original feature film inspired the popular television series of the same name and was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. Garnering both Oscar®* and Golden Globe®** awards, the film stars acclaimed actors Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job), Tom Skerritt ("Picket Fences"), Elliott Gould (Ocean's Thirteen) and Robert Duvall (The Apostle). Hawkeye (Sutherland) and Duke (Skerritt) are joined by renowned thoracic surgeon Trapper John McIntyre (Gould) and Major Frank Burns (Duvall) as M*A*S*H juxtaposes gory operating room procedures with anti-establishment humor, all set against the backdrop of the Korean War.

The M*A*S*H Blu-ray Disc features an array of bonus features including an interactive guide, directory commentary, historical featurette, cast and crew reunion, galleries and more and will be available for the suggested retail price of $34.99 U.S. / $37.99 Canada.

* 1971, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Materials from Another Medium
** 1971, Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy


Synopsis:
One of the worlds most acclaimed comedies, M*A*S*H focuses on three Korean War Army surgeons brilliantly brought to life by Donald Sutherland, Tom Skerritt and Elliott Gould. Though highly skilled and deeply dedicated, they adopt a hilarious, lunatic lifestyle as an antidote to the tragedies of their Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, and in the process infuriate Army bureaucrats. Robert Duvall, Gary Burghoff and Sally Kellerman co-star as a sanctimonious Major, an otherworldly Corporal, and a self-righteous yet lusty nurse.

Blu-ray Disc Specs:
The M*A*S*H Blu-ray Disc is presented in widescreen format 2.35:1 aspect ratio with English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include:
o The Complete Interactive Guide to M*A*S*H
o Audio commentary by director Robert Altman
o Theatrical trailer
o AMC Backstory - M*A*S*H Enlisted: The Story of M*A*S*H Through the Lens
o M*A*S*H Reunion
o Still gallery
o BD+ BD Live ready bootstrap
 

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I'm curious to see what it looks like. They apparently lost the original 35mm Panavision camera negative and the standard edition DVD was mastered from duplicate elements. While it was clean visually (no dirt or scratches), it was somewhat soft and grainy exacerabated by the cinematography
which was intentionally murky and underlit for atmosphere.

The original R rated camera negative prints back in 1970 didn't look that good nor did the cut re-issue prints rated PG.

I wonder if they were able to digitally improved the sharpness and grain structure on blu ray
or will it look worse in the format.

The production history of the movie is an amusing as the film itself. The only reason Altman
got away with shooting this outrageous film was that Fox was so bogged down in the big budget
epic "Patton", they didn't pay too much attention to this low budget cheapie filmed on the back
lot. The actors didn't like nor trust Altman's eccentric style of shooting and strange approach of everyone talking at the same time and tried to get him fired. They later appologized after seeing the final product.

The screenplay Oscar to Ring Lardner Jr. was somewhat of a sham since Altman threw out the screenplay he wrote and had the actors improvise most of their lines. The Academy didn't realize they were voting on what the actors did which wasn't in the original script.

The film is much more anarchic than the TV show which was entertaining but more heavy handed
in it's 'message' and attitude. This film is very dated and part of the 'New Hollywood' movement although
it's one of the few features from that era and with that worldview that can still be enjoyed by
contemporary viewers. Suffice it to say Korea stands in for Vietnam although that was not the
intention of Richard Hooker who wrote the novel the picture was based on.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm curious to see what it looks like. They apparently lost the original 35mm Panavision camera negative and the standard edition DVD was mastered from duplicate elements. While it was clean visually (no dirt or scratches), it was somewhat soft and grainy exacerabated by the cinematography
which was intentionally murky and underlit for atmosphere.

The original R rated camera negative prints back in 1970 didn't look that good nor did the cut re-issue prints rated PG.

I wonder if they were able to digitally improved the sharpness and grain structure on blu ray
or will it look worse in the format.

The production history of the movie is an amusing as the film itself. The only reason Altman
got away with shooting this outrageous film was that Fox was so bogged down in the big budget
epic "Patton", they didn't pay too much attention to this low budget cheapie filmed on the back
lot. The actors didn't like nor trust Altman's eccentric style of shooting and strange approach of everyone talking at the same time and tried to get him fired. They later appologized after seeing the final product.

The screenplay Oscar to Ring Lardner Jr. was somewhat of a sham since Altman threw out the screenplay he wrote and had the actors improvise most of their lines. The Academy didn't realize they were voting on what the actors did which wasn't in the original script.

The film is much more anarchic than the TV show which was entertaining but more heavy handed
in it's 'message' and attitude. This film is very dated and part of the 'New Hollywood' movement although
it's one of the few features from that era and with that worldview that can still be enjoyed by
contemporary viewers. Suffice it to say Korea stands in for Vietnam although that was not the
intention of Richard Hooker who wrote the novel the picture was based on.



good information, like usual richard. it will be interesting.
 

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Senior Shackster
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792 Posts
Yes. I guess the 'style' of this movie is what still works for modern audiences. The
story is no longer shocking or outrageous as it was in 1970. And most people
are more familiar with the TV show than the original feature. I'm not a fan of
Altman's episodic struture or people talking at the same time in other movies but
it does work here. Korea doesn't superimpose well onto Vietnam. The public supported
the Korean conflict but opposed Vietnam, in large part because of the influence of
New Hollywood filmmakers like Altman. However, I'm not sure that linkage still exists so today
you can watch MASH from a different perspective. Contemporary viewers can enjoy the
anarchic humor rather than see it as a 'message' film about Vietnam which it was in 1970.
 

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Registered
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526 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yes. I guess the 'style' of this movie is what still works for modern audiences. The
story is no longer shocking or outrageous as it was in 1970. And most people
are more familiar with the TV show than the original feature. I'm not a fan of
Altman's episodic struture or people talking at the same time in other movies but
it does work here. Korea doesn't superimpose well onto Vietnam. The public supported
the Korean conflict but opposed Vietnam, in large part because of the influence of
New Hollywood filmmakers like Altman. However, I'm not sure that linkage still exists so today
you can watch MASH from a different perspective. Contemporary viewers can enjoy the
anarchic humor rather than see it as a 'message' film about Vietnam which it was in 1970.




Yes I agree Rchard. Most of todays viewers are too young to remember Vietnam anyway. Its the humor there after.
 
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