Cinema: Catch-22 Caliber

"And if I laugh at any mortal thing,/ Tis that I may not weep," wrote Byron. That philosophical fragment accounts for the duality of all black farce; looking between the cracks, one catches glimpses of hell.

M.A.S.H., one of America's funniest bloody films, is also one of its bloodiest funny films. Though it wears a dozen manic, libidinous masks, none quite covers the face of dread. The time is wartime, any time. Specifically it is the day before yesterday, during the Korean conflict. Somewhere outside Seoul, a group of Army doctors operate —in every sense of the word. Whatever rationality they possess...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!