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M*A*S*H - Season Four (Collector's Edition)

4.5 out of 5 stars 173 customer reviews

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Product Description

As the fourth season opens, Hawkeye returns from a 3-day R&R pass in Tokyo to find Trapper has been sent Stateside. Hawkeye races to the airport but arrives just as TrapperÂ's plane takes off. Too late to tell his friend good-bye, he in nevertheless just in time to welcome TrapperÂ's replacement, Captain B.J. Hunnicutt. Once Hawkeye gets over his anger and disappointment, he realizes B.J. is a worthy ally and takes the newcomer under his wing. Â"The first thing you learn here, B.J., is that insanity is no worse than the common cold. YouÂ've heard of a military post? Ours is a compost. Only the wounded are new. The tedium is relieved only by the boredom. So pitch in, muddle through, pip-pip. Never mind the reason why, ours is but to do and not let Â'em die.Â"

Then Colonel Sherman T. Potter arrives to take over command of the 4077. Not only are Frank and Hot Lips outraged that Frank has lost his command so quickly, but Hawkeye and B.J. know that a Â"liferÂ" Army commander could spell big trouble for them. But then a single reminiscence from Potter puts the docs at ease: Â"Had a still on Guam in World War II. One night it blew up. ThatÂ's how I got my Purple Heart.Â"

One of M*A*S*H's best and must-own seasons marked a turning point for this Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning series. It would be the last for peerless comedy writer Larry Gelbart (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Tootsie), who developed M*A*S*H for television and served as the series' comic voice, conscience, and beating heart. But this old soldier did not just fade away. He concluded his tour with "The Interview," the stunning season finale and a series benchmark. This black-and-white episode, which he wrote and directed, features Clete Roberts interviewing the members of the 4077th (with the notable exception of Loretta Swit's Major Houlihan) about life and death at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (a special citation to William Christopher as Father Mulcahy, who provides the episode's most dramatic moment reflecting on how the doctors warm themselves on the steam that rises from the patients' open wounds).

Reporting for duty in season 4 is Mike Farrell as B.J. Hunnicutt, a welcome replacement for the departed Wayne Rogers. In the Emmy-winning season opener, "Welcome to Korea," Hawkeye (Alan Alda) takes the overwhelmed B.J. under his wing. By episode's end, he is drunk and addressing the insufferable "head twerp" Major Burns (Larry Linville) as "ferret face." The second episode brings a "Change of Command" with the arrival of Henry Morgan as Col. Potter, "regular Army," but compassionate and capable. The Gelbart years were distinguished by the deft balancing of comedy and drama (M*A*S*H is that rare comedy series that plays better without a laugh track, which this set offers as a viewing option). In the Gelbart-directed episode "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?," a wounded bomber pilot identifies himself as Jesus Christ. Gelbart also directed and co-wrote "Hawkeye," an Alda tour de force in which Hawkeye takes refuge with a non-English-speaking South Korean family after overturning his jeep and sustaining a concussion, requiring him to talk nonstop to keep from losing consciousness. The departure of key creative and ensemble personnel would be enough to fatally wound a lesser series, but M*A*S*H would solider on. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

  • 24 episodes on three discs

Product Details

  • Directors: Gene Reynolds, Larry Gelbart, Alan Alda, William Jurgensen, Burt Metcalfe
  • Format: Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 632 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008WJE5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,810 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "M*A*S*H - Season Four (Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 9, 2003
Format: DVD
Season four of MASH had it rough. Two of its major actors left the series after season three.
Wayne Rodgers (who played Trapper John), was tired of Alan Alda's Hawkeye character getting all the spotlight. I read that Wayne made a deal with the creators of the show, during the first season, that this wouldn't happen, but it did.
McLean Stevenson (who played Col. Blake), wanted to quit the show for various rumored reasons. After his character got his discharge in the final episode of season three, his character was killed off, on his way home, over the Sea of Japan.
In this box set, season four, we are introduced to two new characters, who stayed with the show until the end. First, there's Trapper's replacement: BJ Hunnicut. A married man, who stays true to his wife, back home. That was heavily emphasized, different than Trapper. BJ sure had some corny humor.
Then there's Col. Blake's replacement: Col. Sherman Potter (played by Harry Morgan). Harry Morgan appeared in a season three episode, as a different charactor. That of a crazy's been said that because of that role, he was asked to play Col. Potter.
Due to some trouble back home, Gary Burghoff who plays Radar, wasn't in as many episodes than before. This family problem continued, until finally, he quit the show at the beginning of season eight.
There are some great episodes in this box set. "The Late Captain Pierce", where Hawkeye's dad is notified that he's dead, when he hasn't. "The Bus", where the characters are on a bus ride, and get lost, and the bus stalls. "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler", where a wounded man claims that he's Jesus Christ. "The Interview", where a TV reporter interviews the characters at the MASH 4077th. This episode is fimed in black and white.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm so glad that Fox has been good enough to release this great series on DVD, and that they have done such an excellent job. The picture quality on these DVDs far outshines the syndicated reruns on TV, and the full 25-minute-plus cuts of the shows haven't been seen in ages. As with the other box sets, the menus and functionality of the disc are very nice. I would however like to see a "play all" button so you don't have to click through as many menus to see all the shows.
As far as the actual content of the shows goes, I enjoy this period in the series more than the earlier seasons. Contrary to what some other fans think, the addition of Mike Farrell and Harry Morgan improved the show and made it a little more real and less lighthearted. Eventually these new characters really grow on you and become like old friends. The cast changes definitely move the show in a more comedy-drama direction, which I feel is part of what made this show so great, and so different from other sitcoms. A couple of great unconventional episodes are included in this season set, including "Hawkeye" which is essentially a 25-minute monologue by Alan Alda, and "The Interview" which is an all black-and-white documentary-style episode that again breaks the rules of what a sitcom is "supposed" to be like. Great writing, strong characters, top-notch acting talent. What more could we ask of this show?
I can't wait to buy season 5 in December. Now I hope Fox will lavish this same high-quality treatment on more great classic sitcoms like "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Odd Couple", the rights to which I believe they also own.
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Format: DVD
Season Four of M*A*S*H will always be remembered as the big transitional season, with two major character changes as well as the slow push from "Comedy with stabs of drama", to "Drama with stabs of comedy".
Obviously not everyone enjoyed the changes. Some fell in love with the early seasons of M*A*S*H for their comical hyjinx and laugh out loud lunacy. But the actors and filmmakers were constantly testing the boundaries, going for a much more dramatic and/or realistic interpretation of what life at a M*A*S*H station was really like with early episodes such as "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet", "Dr. Pierce And Mr. Hyde", "O.R.", and of course the very memorable "Abyssinia, Henry". They realized the positive impact these episodes were having on their audience and would continue to push the envelope with each future season.
Season Four gives way to many more serious storylines shown than any previous season. The opening double episode: "Welcome To Korea" welcomes us to Captain BJ Hunnicutt as Hawkeye tries in vein to reach Trapper before he is shipped stateside. I must admit, I wished there had been a bigger sendoff for Wayne Rogers as Trapper John McIntyre, but he refused to return for even one more episode to say goodbye properly, apparently due to feeling betrayed by the staff who seemed to turn everything into the Hawkeye Pierce show.
"O.R." was the very first (and only) episode without a laughtrack from Season Three. Season Four would have many more episodes without laughtracks, including "The Bus"(and enjoyable roadtrip outting), "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?" (the famous episode of a bomber pilot who thinks he's Jesus Christ), and "The Interview".
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