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Other movies in the Library include: Rocky, Return of the Jedi, Start Trek II®: The Wrath of Kahn, Some Like It Hot, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Its a Wonderful Life, Star Wars®, and The Empire Strikes Back.
I have E-mailed Premiere Magazine to produce some more (say, perhaps The Graduate) but retailers tell me Premiere has not shown any interest in this and are actually a bit apathetic towards The Movie Script Library. This is a shame, but I am still grateful to have my M*A*S*H script.
The script differentiates greatly from the movie (or rather, the movie differentiates from it). It is interesting by comparing the script with the finished product just how much input was had by the director (and how much he allowed by others). Now I see why in the opening credits of movies its says: This is a [Director's name]'s Film.
Some of the script's scenes are very similiar to the movie (such as Frank's praying), other scenes are chopped out completely (such as the "deluge" sequence of "fifteen straight days of choppers"), but often times what happens is that Altman cuts, pastes and rearranges scenes and dialogues to get what he wants (e.g. taking the dialogue between Hawkeye and Lieutentant Dish from Scene 10 and using it in Scene 18). Another fine touch of Altman's is his attention to detail. He draws out the little nuances of Army life and the interaction of various personalities. One of his "small" lines can say volumes with its inferred implications. A testy exchange or a longing look signal that so much more is going on than we see. There are almost no throwaway lines in this movie, which requires a painstaking commitent to achieve.
Another thing that cannot be overlooked is the numerous improvisations made to the script that made for so many great moments in the movie. One example is this:
Sister, if I knew the answer to
that I sure as hell wouldn't be
I wonder how a degenerated person
like that could have reached a
position of responsibility in the
Army Medical Corps.
He was drafted.
With Altman leading the way, M*A*S*H was a collaborative effort with the director, screenwriter and actors all contributing to a film to be appreciated over and over again.
The script is presented in a text file for online viewing.
CLICK ON HAWKEYE TO VIEW RING LARDNER'S ACADEMY AWARD WINNING SCRIPT (BEST SCREENPLAY 1970)
"Click me, babe."