Combustible Celluloid
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With: Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, But Cort, Rene Auberjonois
Written by: Ring Lardner, Jr.; based on the novel by Richard Hooker
Directed by: Robert Altman
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 116
Date: 03/18/2013

M*A*S*H (1970)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Necessary Roughness

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Robert Altman's biggest success to date is also one of his least interesting films. Newly released in a spectacular new double-disc set, M*A*S*H (1970, Twentieth Century Fox, $26.98) blew the war movie wide open and set the standard for American film at the beginning of the rambunctious 70s. Larry Gelbart and Alan Alda's later, Marx Brothers-influenced TV series (1972-1983) tends to throw off the more drowsy humor of this film, but some fans still find the original highly enjoyable. To be sure, Elliot Gould and Donald Sutherland make a great team, and Robert Duvall nails the role of Frank Burns. But the rambunctious comedy has not dated well, especially not compared to Altman's more thoughtful films like the superior McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Long Goodbye.

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