Insanity: Robert Altman's MASH
"In a mad world, only the mad are sane."
"What this picture is about -- and it keeps getting more clear to me all the time -- is the insanity."
MASH was not Richard Nixon's favorite war film of 1970. Of the four highest grossing war films released domestically in 1970 at the height of the Vietnam War -- Paramount's satirical Catch-22 and Fox's trio of MASH and the more conventional Tora! Tora! Tora! and Patton -- the recently-minted war president's personal favorite was by far Franklin Schaffner's biopic of World War II general and fellow Californian George S. Patton. Mark Feeney, in Nixon at the Movies, suggests that Patton, with his "macho, swaggering, impulsive" qualities, was a "Nixonian beau ideal: an example to aspire to, even if not a model to live by."
A large cohort of America, of course, had a different pick. The low budget subversive antiwar comedy MASH, which "Fox thought would just play in drive-ins," grossed an astonishing $36.7 million that year -- just over $200 million in 2008 dollars -- and came in as the third highest grossing film of 1970, just behind Love Story and Airport. The vaunted studio pictures Patton and...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 909 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7181 literature essays, 2016 sample college application essays, 296 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in