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Burt Metcalf

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  • M.A.S.H. - Complete Series 1-11 - The Martinis and Medicine Collection M.A.S.H. - Complete Series 1-11 - The Martinis and Medicine Collection | DVD | (25/12/2008) from £26.99  |  Saving you £173.00 (86.50%)  |  RRP £199.99

    This M*A*S*H-tastic 36-disc collection is one for the television time capsule. It contains all 11 seasons of this multi-Emmy Award-winning series. Adapted for television by legendary comedy writer Larry Gelbart, the series has long since supplanted Robert Altman's film in the public's consciousness. Life and death at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War doesn't seem like ripe fodder for a comedy series, but M*A*S*H masterfully balanced laughter and tears (less so in its later, more preachy seasons). It often does play better without a laugh track (a viewing option for all episodes). During its run, M*A*S*H survived several delicate operations, including the departure of Gelbart after season 4 and the loss of core ensemble members McLean Stevenson as Col. Henry Blake and Wayne Rogers as Trapper John (after season 3), Larry Linville as Frank Burns (after season 5) and Gary Burghoff (a veteran of the original film) as Radar (after season 8). The show thrived with the introduction of some new blood, Henry Morgan as "regular Army" Col. Potter and Mike Farrell as compassionate BJ (season 4) and David Ogden Stiers as elitist Charles Emerson Winchester III (season 6). M*A*S*H was honored with the prestigious Peabody Award "for the depth of its humour and the manner in which comedy is used to lift the spirit and, as well, to offer a profound statement on the nature of war." This was a sitcom that did not always leave you laughing, as witness the classic season 3 episode "Abyssinia, Henry." And throughout its run, M*A*S*H broke the sitcom mould with several episodes, including "The Interview" (season 4), in which Clete Roberts interviews the staff of the 4077th, "Point of View" (season 7), subjectively seen through the eyes of a wounded soldier and "Life Time" (season 8), which unfolds in real time. M*A*S*H boasted one of television's greatest ensembles, fully embodied characters who each became icons, most notably Alan Alda, who served with distinction as Hawkeye, the series' soul and conscience. But a special salute to Loretta Switt, whose Margaret Houlihan went from "Hot Lips" to nobody's pushover. From the "Pilot" to the feature-length finale, "Goodbye, Farewell & Amen," still the most-watched episode in history, this essential (but not so much if you bought the individual season sets) collection honours one of television's greatest half-hours. --Donald Liebenson

  • M.A.S.H. - Season 7 M.A.S.H. - Season 7 | DVD | (31/05/2005) from £10.79  |  Saving you £19.20 (64.00%)  |  RRP £29.99

    The war in Korea wages on with no end in sight, but the medical corps at the 4077th valiantly battle on against soulless military bureaucracy, tedium, and insanity. The seventh season of one of television's most decorated series continued to break new ground, with episodes such as "Point of View," which unfolds under the subjective eye of a wounded soldier. And just when you think you have these characters pegged, the writers provocatively challenged them. One of the most powerful episodes of the season, and the series, is "Preventive Medicine," in which Hawkeye (Alan Alda) takes drastic measures to stop a gung-ho colonel from further endangering his men. "Inga," another series benchmark, written and directed by Alda, finds Hawkeye threatened by an accomplished woman doctor (Mariette Hartley). Unlike Larry Linville's one-note Major Burns, David Ogden Stiers found new notes to play as Charles Emerson Winchester III. His character remains, as Hawkeye observes, "pompous, arrogant, conceited, and a total bore." But he's also "all right" in three of his finest half-hours: "Major Ego," in which he lets a magazine profile go to his swelled head; "Rally Round the Flagg, Boys," in which he outwits camp nemesis Colonel Flagg; and "Ain't Love Grand," in which he falls for a Korean girl he meets at Rosie's Bar (the setting for another essential episode, "A Night at Rosie's," in which the company seeks refuge from the war). The seven-year itch got to Gary Burghoff, who would depart the series in season 8. Episodes such as "Hot Lips Is Back in Town," in which Radar sweetly woos a new nurse, demonstrate why he would be keenly missed. The two-part "Our Finest Hour" is anything but. It is a rehash of the season 4 classic, "The Interview," that serves as a clip episode. This is a rare misstep in another satisfying season that did this series proud. --Donald Liebenson, Amazon.com

  • M.A.S.H - Seasons 1 - 11 Complete Box Set M.A.S.H - Seasons 1 - 11 Complete Box Set | DVD | (30/10/2006) from £32.95  |  Saving you £144.77 (72.40%)  |  RRP £199.99

    Korea 1950. They were a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit stationed three miles from the front. Incoming helicopters full of wounded brought the horrors of war to them daily and sometimes bullets flew right outside the operating room door. Hilarity and hijinks were all that kept them sane. Now journey back to that special place where friendships were forged laughter was found and drinks were served. Featuring all the episodes from the complete 11 seasons of M*A*S*H!

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