MASH (Disney +): forbidden film, “stupid” song, furious screenwriter … the funny backstage of the cult satirical comedy

Cult film if there is one, MASH marked the history of cinema. However, this satirical comedy to see and re-watch on Disney + almost never saw the light of day! Discover the craziest anecdotes about this must-see comedy.

Listed by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films of all time, MASH – with among others Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall – can also boast of having won a number of trophies, including the famous Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970. Available on Disney +, this satirical comedy which depicts the daily life of young surgeons anti-militarist party loving and sent in the middle of the Korean War even gave rise to an eponymous series, which aired from 1972 to 1983 and a spin-off, After MASH, in the wake. However, the epic of this feature film is far from being a quiet river … Discover the most improbable anecdotes surrounding this masterpiece.

A banned film

If the general public rejoiced at this satire, this is far from the case for the military institution, furious at the irreverent side of the film. Fact, MASH was banned from U.S. Armed Forces cinemas upon its release. But the army is not the only one who did not appreciate the feature film: in Israel too, the film was banned and banned from distribution, the fault, this time, of scenes of surgery that were a little too bloody …

A screenwriter in turmoil

It is based on the novel Mash: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker that Ringgold Wilmer Lardner Jr. wrote the screenplay for MASH. Problem: the latter – who had in the past been registered on the “cinema blacklist” – had great difficulty in finding a director to set up his project. It must be said that the international context hardly lent itself to this, in the midst of the Vietnam War. Finally, it was Robert Altman who stuck to it, concocting the nugget that we know … And if the success was critical and public, Ringgold Wilmer Lardner Jr., he ended up disavowing the film, which does not almost looked more like its original screenplay …

The “stupidest song ever written”

According to Johnny Mandel, who composed the music, “Suicide Is Painless”, the title song of the film – which has become the credits of the eponymous series – has a unique story. Indeed, the director Robert Altman, at the time of the preparation of the film, had only two requirements: that it is called “Suicide is painless” and that tonight “dumbest song ever written“. After trying to write the lyrics himself (without success since he found it complicated for his”brain of 45 year old man writing something pretty stupid“) Altman decided to give this task to his film, Michael, 14 years old. A task that he would have, according to Johnny Mandel, accomplished in 5 minutes. In the end, Robert Altman would have confided that he would have won $ 70,000 in making this film while his son, credited for the film and the series, would have pocketed more than a million dollars, in his capacity as co-author of this song …

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MASH (Disney +): forbidden film, “stupid” song, furious screenwriter … the funny backstage of the cult satirical comedy