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Post Posted: November 15th 2006 6:21 am
 
OBGYN
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Join: August 25th 2004 12:31 pm
Posts: 3554
I don't know if there are any other M*A*S*H fans here, but I thought I would share my thoughts/comments about the new massive box set of the series which was released last week. I also posted this at www.mashtalk.com:



First of all, this box set is HUGE! The outer box has a canvas texture to
it, and the inside box has an attached clipboard (not sure what it's
supposed to be for), and some very nice pictures of the cast throughout
the seasons spread out over four sturdy cardboard flipper cases. The
"Collector's Handbook" is very cool, and basically includes all of the
episode information and listings from the previous releases of these DVDs,
but also has nice pictures from various episodes and a couple of behind
the scenes shots, all nicely bound in one slick little green book
(actually, I just figured out what the clipboard is for... the handbook is
loose inside the box, but clips nicely to the clipboard clipper. I guess
the South Korean sweat shops were too busy that day.).

The discs themselves are in slipcase pouches, and must be handled very
carefully or they might get scratched. They don't come out of the slots
very easily, which is a good thing, so they won't fall out. But pulling
them out takes a real delicate touch.

The artwork on the discs is identical to the first DVD releases of this
series (the USA Flag on seasons 1, 2 & 3, the olive drab, biege and brown
on other seasons, etc.).

The "Play All" feature still doesn't appear until Season 5.

The episode "OUR FINEST HOUR" from Season 7 is still the same old messed
up syndo-cut from the previous release.

The DVD of the classic Robert Altman film MASH is the same as the
previously redundantly recycled first disc of the 2002 two-disc set, with
Altman's lazy commentary and the commercialized "AMC Backstory" program.
Altman's MASH is hands down my favorite movie of all time, but I still
wish they would have put the early 1980's PBS documentary "MAKING MASH" in
place of this, particularly because this is about the 4th reissue of this
movie in as many years (by the way, many of the inserted retro-interviews
on A&E Biography's 43 minute "MASH: TELEVISION'S SERIOUS SITCOM" and the
sappy and hokey 20th anniversary "MEMORIES OF MASH" include snippets of
this long lost perfect documentary).

SPECIAL FEATURES disc 1:

The "SERIOUS SITCOM" program is an A&E Biography program that spends three
quarters of an hour talking about how great this show was. And as usual,
nobody talks about if Donald Sutherland, Elliot Gould or Sally Kellerman
were asked to be involved with the show or not. Nothing new here. Move
along...

The "BLOOPERS" thing on the first of the two extras discs is only 3:30 in
length, and all of the out-takes focus on Alan Alda. There's more
available for free on YouTube than on this DVD.

"MY FAVORITE MASH" is a 9:40 collection of intros by members of the cast
filmed in the late 70's or early 80's and tagged at the beginning of some
syndicated broadcasts of the show.

This includes:

Alan Alda introducing "DEAR SIGMUND" and "IN LOVE AND WAR."

Mike Farrell introducing "WELCOME TO KOREA" and "QUO VADIS CAPT.
CHANDLER."

Loretta Swit introducing "HOT LIPS AND EMPTY ARMS" and "MARGARET'S
ENGAGEMENT"

William Christopher introducing "DEAR SIS" and "MULCAHY'S WAR."

Harry Morgan introducing "U.N. THE NIGHT AND MUSIC" and "THE GENERAL
FLIPPED AT DAWN."

Jamie Farr introducing "OFFICER OF THE DAY" and "BIG MAC."

"ARCHIVAL INTERVIEWS" is a 15 minute section which is really fascinating
and includes what appear to be short interviews from the early 80's with
most of the last season's lead cast while the show was wrapping up
production. Best part I've seen so far. Great material, including Farr
talking about almost getting killed over the Sea of Japan.

"LAST DAY OF FILMING" is fantastic.
It's about seven and a half minutes of raw material during the shooting of
"AS TIME GOES BY." No narration, no gooey sentimental crap, just the cast,
crew and director working and reworking the last scene ever done on this
show. Amazing.

The "JOCULARITY" chapter is a complete waste of time. It's just recycled
stuff we've already seen and talked about for 30 years, but this time
they've intercut meaningless and uninspired "commentary" from what appear
to be "fans" of the show. One or two overweight women and a couple of
nerds who look like they've never had a date tell us what the show and the
characters mean to them for 26 minutes. There is no reason for this
"Special Feature" whatsoever. Any of us here at mashtalk.com know more
than anything said during this cheap and commercialized silliness.

The "PSA" part in interesting. Members of the cast talk about various
health and social issues for a couple of minutes.

"SELECTED PROMOS" is cute.
It's a collection of dated "THIS IS YOUR GENERIC ANNOUNCER SPEAKING" spots
for a wide range of episodes covering various seasons. Upon further
examination, I discovered that the Selected Episode Promos are not the
original CBS promos from when the shows first aired. They are just generic
syndication promos made for distribution after the series ended.

The first disc of extras ends with a trivia game that again is a complete
waste of time compared to the hours of other "never before seen" MASH
stuff that is still hiding out there somewhere.
It's another "special feature" that isn't so special and doesn't tell you,
me or the fence post anything we didn't know 30 years ago.

SPECIAL FEATURES disc 2:

This DVD starts off with the 30th Anniversary Reuniun, which runs about 90
minutes and is devided up over 16 chapters. No extra cut material or
interviews, as far as I can tell.

Then there is a 25 minute thingy called "FAN BASE," in which the same few
nerdy people from the "JOCULARITY" schtick on the first disc tell us what
the show meant to them. Again, there's nothing in this feature that's
worthwhile or that we don't already know.

This is followed by "MEMORIES OF MASH," which is spread out over 12
chapters and runs an hour and ten minutes. This isn't as sappy and
sentimental as I remember it being, but it still never comes close to the
missing PBS documentary I keep saying they should have included.

Finally, there's "HAWKEYE ON THE DOUBLE," the complete script to the
unproduced episode from the first season. From what I've read so far, it's
pretty hilarious.

That's it for the extras we've been waiting for since 2002.


"GOODBYE, FAREWELL AND AMEN" DVD:

GFA is on it's own separate DVD, and is also included on the separately released Season 11 DVD. This epic finale covers 28 chapters, and runs exactly 2 hours.

The picture quality on GFA is outstanding. They did a great job preserving the original print, and the color and detail are beautiful.

If there was any single episode that should have had a commentary track, this was it. Unfortunately, it doesn't.


In summary, this is an impressive looking box set on the outside, but what's on the inside still leaves me wanting more. And we all damn well know that Fox has more M*A*S*H material out there than they want to bother with. But having said that, the best feature on this and all M*A*S*H DVD releases is the ability to can the intelligence-insulting laugh track. This makes each episode, especially those from the first three seasons, a completely new and fresh experience for this life-long fan.


Post Posted: November 15th 2006 7:53 am
 

Join: March 15th 2005 9:39 am
Posts: 934
Location: Nashville, TN
As much as I love MASH and want the special features, I'm not buying this when I already have Seasons 1 - 4 on DVD. And I really only loved the show when Colonel Henry Blake and Trapper John were on the show. I don't mind BJ Hunnicut or Colonel Potter, but the chemistry just wasn't the same between the actors on the show from then on. I never cared for Frank's replacement, Charles Winchester. I like GFA and have seen it twice on FX in recent years, but I don't absolutely have to have it. Plus, the original movie MASH is included and I don't really care for it.

Glad to see there are other MASH fans here though. Fox blows for not including special features on the individual seasons.


Post Posted: December 2nd 2006 2:35 pm
 

Join: April 28th 2005 2:18 am
Posts: 155
Location: Dallas
I’ve heard many folks talk up MASH – when I hear that music start up I race for the tv and turn it off. I have an old people’s almanac says more watched the send off show than maybe any other and so I know a lot of people liked it. But I don’t see it. I don’t like that superfriend alan alda. Or that guy dressing up as a girl was not ever funny to me. Hotlips did have big titties and I did like that, but not enough to watch it. Wonder women or buck rogers was better. And the titties way better.

I’ll not be downloading this.


Post Posted: December 3rd 2006 7:38 pm
 
OBGYN
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Join: August 25th 2004 12:31 pm
Posts: 3554
sultan bey wrote:
I don’t like that superfriend alan alda. .


Robert Altman agreed with you.

Ever see the original 1970 film of M*A*S*H? It's a brilliant anti-war slam on Korea and Vietnam. If somebody made it today, it would be branded as "unamerican."

I find it interesting that anti-war statements fly clear over the heads of the younger folk of today.


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