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Battle Circus (1953)

Humphrey Bogart , June Allyson , Richard Brooks  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Battle Circus + Chain Lightning + Conflict (1945)
Price for all three: $50.67

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Product Details

  • Actors: Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn, Robert Keith
  • Directors: Richard Brooks
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Archive
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2012
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00919TH7S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,305 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Long before M*A*S*H, there was Battle Circus. Made during the Korean War, this tribute to the indomitable human spirit takes an authentic, almost documentary-like look at the nurses and doctors who operated in the battlefront Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. Major Jed Webbe (Humphrey Bogart) is a brilliant, hard-bitten Army surgeon with a weakness for women and strong liquor. Fresh from the states arrives Lt. Ruth McCara (June Allyson), a naïve young nurse ready to save the world. The story of their love and heroism, told against the grimly realistic background of pounding artillery and deadly ambushes, forms the core of the film.

The title Battle Circus comes from the way the mobile field units can strike their tents, move to a new battle area, then set them up again like circus roustabouts in nothing flat. And, like circus daredevils, these heroes risk life and death on a daily basis.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual star teaming in neat war story September 26, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
I always tend to enjoy films where the casting is a bit off beat and where the leads are not at fist glance a likely combination. Such is the case in "Battle Circus" with the once off and very unlikely combination of Humphrey Bogart, veteran star of many tough guy roles at Warners, and June Allyson the 40's sweetheart of MGM. I must say it makes for an interesting and surprisingly compatiable star teaming.
"Battle Circus" while never being in the top range of Bogart films over the years delivers a vivid and well documented story set during the Korean war, 30years before the famed TV series MASH tackled the same topic. This film tells the story of one such MASH unit responsible for the care of the allied forces wounded at whatever front the fighting takes them. It focuses on the love /hate relationship that develops between cynical world weary unit doctor Major Jed Webbe (Humphrey Bogart) and dedicated unit nurse Lieut. Ruth McGara. While not love at first sight the story develops so that both these very different individuals learn just a little about life from each other. That is why the casting of Bogart and Allyson , much criticised at the time of release, I feel works so well. Tow contrasting types learning off each other to become better people. These two skilled performers have a great flow in their scenes together and while it is not like a teaming of Bogart and Bacall or Bogart and Hepburn or even Allyson and Peter Lawford it works very well. Both are very believable in the roles and bring a realism to their delivery that further aids the films story in painting a picture of the futility and horror of war.
Indeed "Battle Circus" has often been accused of playing up the romance to the detriment of the real war story happening in Korea.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All is Fair in Love and War August 9, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
Battle Circus is a war film that is set on the borderline of war. It follows the activities of a hospital near the front where wounded soldiers and prisoners go for aid. Humphrey Bogart plays a stubborn and war-worn surgeon who has an eye for a nurse played by June Allyson. The two have suprisingly good chemistry with each other, possibly because they were friends in life. Some might say this film is a lot like MASH, but it reads more like classic Hollywood than modern television.

They really do not make movies like this anymore. The romance between the doctor and the nurse seems stereotypical and doomed to fail, but with the chemistry between the two and the intelligence of the characters, it seems it might just work out despite everything working against them. There is a certain amount of hope projected that is rarely seen today. Too bad; it makes for a great ending and a great film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Circus December 21, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of M*A*S*H for years and this movie filmed during teh Korean Conflict was right on the money. It keeps you on teh edge of your seat. Bogart was great as always. I will watch it over and over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Note to aviation enthusiasts January 29, 2013
This film has a much more frank sexual tone compared with movies made during WW2. It is also less gung-ho and more questioning. For a medical war film, it still refrains from showing any gore.

Besides the ground vehicles trucking the MASH unit all over, there are numerous shots of the H-13 Sioux medevac chopper. There is also a sequence at the beginning intended to show MiGs strafing the compound, but it is confusing when F-86 Sabres are being used with clearly identifiable USAF markings. I almost thought I was seeing a friendly fire incident until I realized the context.

Even if you are a fan of the MASH tv series, it is still interesting to see the real thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Movie December 13, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie was filmed with the Mash unit my father was in, in fact, he is in one of the scenes of the movie. I purchased a dvd for my son, niece and nephew to have memories of their Grandfather.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Circus August 17, 2013
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Bought it for my sister and she said it is great. So, I thank you very much for that..........Always a great service through Amazon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a different MASH!! June 17, 2013
As 2013 (the sixtieth anniversary of
the end of the Korean War) is nearing
it's end, I fondly remember Richard Brooks's
touching, tender, but quite realistic film
about the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals,
the famous MASH. A very different MASH-story
from Robert Altman's award-winning, now
almost "mythical" 1970 film!

If Altman's M*A*S*H was situated in the
context of the Korean War, its language
was clearly that of the Vietnam War. Brooks's
"Battle Circus" was filmed in 1952, in the
middle of the Korean War's most tragic period.
The years of the bloody and useless
battles between 1951 and1953 ( when the peace negotiations
in Pannmunjom continued endlessly, due mainly
to communist refusal to permit Chinese
and North-Korean prisoners of war to stay
in western-territories, and the Allied-powers'
refusal to deliver them to the communists...).

The love story between a naive army-nurse
with "stars in her eyes" and a cynical army-surgeon
"who does'nt believe in love" could be banal
without a marvellous synergy: Laura Kern and Allen Rivkin's
script and Brooks's direction reflecting perfectly
the atmosphere of the Fifties, June Allyson's and
Humphrey Bogart's funny, touching and perfectly credible
characterisation of this "drôle de couple"...The movie
aged very well, it's a very interesting and, fortunately,
non-academic historical document , a nice love story
and a pleasure to watch( or watch again).

Five stars.

Elisheva Guggenheim-Mohosh, Geneva, Switzerland
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 16 days ago by Ron Lange
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Dolores Drapalik
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Movie
Published 1 month ago by kathleen babbs
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the Original MASH movie
the producers of this movies decided they could not call this movie MASH they thought people would think of mashed potatoes. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Signalshifter
4.0 out of 5 stars the original MASH
Without the comedy, without the edginess, this film (originally titled MASH by the way) Bogart shines in this lost treasure. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ed
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle Circus starring Humphrey Bogart
What a wonderful movie! Not enough people know about this Bogart film. It seems like possible inspiration for M*A*S*H (movie and tv show). Read more
Published 6 months ago by Beammeuplori
4.0 out of 5 stars Korean war hospital
good movie with great stars Humphrey Bogart and June Allyson , it is MASH before the TV serie and it is well done
Published 9 months ago by Chantal Xhaflaire
4.0 out of 5 stars Often overlooked precursor to MASH
Interesting forerunner to both the film and TV series of MASH.Different and challenging role for Bogart in what must have been an unusual movie for its era.
Published 14 months ago by David Kibart
5.0 out of 5 stars Good VHS
This VHS was in good is a favorite movie that I haven't seen in a long time..good price.
Published 14 months ago by Mary Marwick
4.0 out of 5 stars see below
Was surprised how well these two fit, wouldn't have thought it. Also, it was a very good depiction of MASH units during the Korean War.
Published 18 months ago by PAT
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