M*A*S*H (MASH)-Season 9 (1980)

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Released 8-Mar-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1980
Running Time 500
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan Alda
Hy Averback
Gabrielle Beaumont
Terry Becker
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Alan Alda
Wayne Rogers
McLean Stevenson
Loretta Swit
Larry Linville
Gary Burghoff
Mike Farrell
Harry Morgan
Jamie Farr
David Ogden Stiers
William Christopher
Odessa Cleveland
Johnny Haymer
Case ?
RPI $42.95 Music Benny Golson
Earle H. Hagen
John R. Harris


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The appeal of MASH for many is its juxtaposition of hijinx and comedy with serious and often touching moments. Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and BJ (Mike Farrell) are usually the centre of attention in both kinds of episodes and more often than not Major Winchester (David Ogden Stiers) plays their foil. Season Nine, though, belongs to Winchester who stands out in several particularly strong episodes. Still pining for the cultural leisure of Tokyo in No Laughing Matter, Winchester has a chance for revenge when Col. Baldwin - the man who sent him to the 4077th to avoid a cribbage debt - arrives in the unit on a fact finding mission. He grovels, deliberately loses cribbage, and undertakes all manner of shady plans to gain passage to Tokyo but in the end stands on principle and protects a friend, losing his chance of escape in the process. Death Takes a Holiday reveals Winchester's caring and charitable side as he tries to make Christmas a little better for others. The final episode of the season is the real stand out, though. The Life You Save finds Charles dealing with mortality and the uncertainties of death after a sniper's bullet passes through his cap while he tries to revive a patient. Beneath his veneer of pomposity and snobbery, Winchester is just as human as the rest of the MASH family, and Stiers' fine work in Season Nine was justly nominated for several Emmy Awards. It's a shame Larry Linville was rarely given similar opportunities to develop his character Frank.

    The entire cast is in fine form and the comic timing is as enjoyable always (even when refusing to make a joke for twenty-four hours, Hawkeye can't help but be funny). Most of the episodes are excellent and I personally found this season the best of those I have reviewed. For fans of MASH this one's a no brainer, but I would recommend this release for even the most casual of MASH viewers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for MASH Season 9 is quite good and just slightly better than the previous season. The series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    Sharpness is very good. Season Eight's sharpness was variable, but Season Nine is far more consistent. Some scenes do appear a little soft. Shadow detail is also good and blacks are acceptable. Several scenes are a little washed out but not nearly as often as in the season before.

    MPEG artefacts are controlled throughout except for a little pixelization. Edge enhancement is visible at times. Fly screens on the 4077 tents show moire effect. As some scene transitions fade in from black, a series of vertical lines cross the entire screen momentarily. A smattering of film artefacts are also present, especially in the opening titles. Season 9 is very clean though.

    Subtitles are quite accurate, dropping a few words here and there. They are in a white font and well placed. Sometimes they shift to the top of the screen obscuring faces and heads.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is satisfactory. Two Dolby Digital English 2.0 mono tracks are included, one with and one without the laughter track (default). The usual French track has been dropped for this release.

    Dialogue is clear and audible. It is, though, undynamic and has some echo. Audio sync is accurate. The monaural audio is flat and tinny but faithful to the original source. There is naturally no surround or subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras are included.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Apart from NTSC-PAL differences, Region 1 and Region 4 releases are identical.

Summary

    Season Nine of MASH ranks as one of the better season of the series giving some fine moments to Major Winchester.

    Audio and video are good and just a shade improved over Season Eight.

    Extras are once again AWOL.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Monday, June 05, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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