M*A*S*H, the 1970 satirical black comedy, which dipped a poison pen in so many sacred cows that had been pretty much off limits and taboo in cinema before it, celebrated its 45th anniversary on January 25th, 2015.
Set during the Korean War of the 1950s, M*A*S*H had right on its sleeve an allegorical backdrop to so many current events of the late 1960s such as Vietnam, life in general during that tumultuous time, and anti-establishment sentiments, feelings, and bents. Done sometimes with an almost cinema verite documentary style, one of the end results of the unique approach taken by the directorial maverick film legend Robert Altman, M*A*S*H was the kind of film that had been unseen before in Hollywood. Running with an almost ragtag, loose visual style, it’s almost voyeuristic in the ways we see the comedy in the film and the film in general, and there are plenty of laughs: ranging from slapstick to witty to punny to sublime and ridiculous, there’s all styles and temperatures, from cool to downright raunchy in some respects. Eyebrows must have certainly been raised when the old guard audience of old guard Hollywood first laid their peepers on the film at certain sequences without question. But all the while, it’s the kind of film that is sort of winking at everyone and everything, 100 percent conscious of what it is; there’s a reverberating feeling that hits the tinderbox every time and creates incendiary types of experiences for the viewer when they watch it.