Favorite Title Theatre: MASH (1970)


I still think this is the most melancholy title scene in American film history. I have nothing but my own projections to argue, not to mention that any song called “Suicide Is Painless” is kind of a downer. But I associate MASH with Sunday night viewings, edited for television, a staple in my home as my folks were in the military so they appreciated the swipes at brass. As a youth, the tonal shifts in MASH always unnerved and intrigued me, a crass cruelty combined with some kind of joie de vivre. Coming at the start of a new decade, this is the first real film of the 70’s, the one that would reflect its dark cynical and experimental nature. I love the opening credits for those reasons, especially at 1:12, where the body, strings and camerawork lift in the air to weave Robert Altman’s cinematic tapestry.

2 Responses to “Favorite Title Theatre: MASH (1970)”

  1. I actually came into this film assbackwards being a fan of the TV spin-off first and then discovering Altman’s film. Man, this film still holds up and Sutherland and Gould have to be one of the great comedy duos of all-time. So funny and to think, initially, they wanted Altman fired ‘cos they had no idea what he was doing! What a killer cast this film had.

  2. I saw M*A*S*H* when it first came out — on a double bill with “The Kremlin Letter” (!) at a drive-in in Buffalo, N.Y. The newspaper ad of the legs extending up to the two-finger peace sign was an unavoidable presence those days. I loved the song and bought the soundtrack — unaware that the album was all dialog from the film. I played that lp over and over to the point where I couldn’t watch the film anymore — I knew every line before it came out, even the PA announcements.

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