Episode 4077: The M*A*S*H Report

A one-off episode in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the theatrical release of Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H and inspired by avoiding the stress and pressure of social distancing.  Join Ben and special co-host Anna as they discuss the sexism, criticism, and other isms embedded in the trauma and drama of this wartime comedy.

Sources and References

Before the internet comes at me, I do hereby acknowledge that, in recent years, there have been a series of spirited defenses of Altman’s Popeye.  I rewatched it myself a few years ago, and found what I always do: I don’t think its comic timing, especially on the slapstick, meshes or syncs.  Each to one’s own.

A New Yorker archive of Pauline Kael’s 17 January 1970 review of MASH, and TimesMachine archives of Roger Greenspun’s 26 January 1970 review and Richard Corliss’ 22 March minority dissent.  Another contemporary review consulted, but not referred to in the podcast, was Roger Ebert’s review available on his website, apparently dated from the 1st of January, although that seems early.

The Guardian article by Noah Gittell that helped prompt this whole palaver can be found here, as can a fifty year retrospective of the publication of Hooker’s novel, again from The New Yorker.

The normal Sousa “Liberty Bell March” was replaced by the Edison recording and 82 Airborne performance of Sousa’s “Washington Post”, which features prominently in the football section of MASH.  The quiz music was taken from Earl Fuller’s Famous Jazz Band recording of “Jazz de Luxe“.

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