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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Full-Length Theme Song from the Movie M*A*S*H (Video and Lyrics)

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

“Suicide is painless”? Says who? Says the 15-year-old kid who wrote the lyrics, that’s who! Mike Altman was director Robert Altman’s son. A 15-year-old wrote the lyrics, because they had to be stupid, and 49-year-old composer Johnny Mandel, who tried to fill the bill, just couldn’t be stupid enough.

For those who have never seen the picture, which was the motion picture high point of director Robert Altman’s career, one of the characters, played by John Shuck, is contemplating suicide.

The high point of Altman’s career actually came at the beginning, before he even went into the movie business. He directed some of the greatest episodes ever of Combat!, which was arguably the greatest drama in TV history.
The reason Altman’s TV work was so much better than his movies was that his bosses at Combat! forced him to direct with dramatic intensity, focused on perhaps two characters for almost an entire episode.

In one episode, Sgt. Saunders brings a wounded French Resistance leader to a German officer/surgeon who is Saunders’ prisoner. Intuiting that the surgeon is a committed Nazi, who plans on “losing” the patient, Saunders tells him that if the Resistance leader dies, he will kill the surgeon, as well. The operation is a success.

Once Altman got into pictures, he could give free rein to his communist aesthetics, in which there was a lack of focus, as the story would be diluted by a sea of shallow characters (Nashville). In the picture 3 Women, if memory serves, Altman had different female characters melt into each other.

Back to the song.

A good voice is a force multiplier. That’s one reason I find this recording so much better than the opening theme to the TV series based on the picture, the lyrics notwithstanding. It’s the same piece of music, but the movie arrangement is much richer, with violins and a tambourine, and you’ve got singers here.
 

Music by Johnny Mandel
Words by Mike Altman

Through early morning fog I see,
Visions of the things to be,
The pains that are withheld for me,
I realize and I can see.

That suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or
Leave it, if I please.

The game of life is hard to play,
I'm gonna lose it anyway,
The losing card I'll someday lay,
So this is all I have to say.

Suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or
Leave it, if I please.

The sword of time will pierce our skins,
It doesn't hurt when it begins,
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger... watch it grin.

Suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or
Leave it, if I please.

A brave man once requested me,
To answer questions that are key,
Is it to be or not to be,
And I replied, “Oh, why ask me?”

Suicide is painless,
It brings on many changes,
And I can take or leave it
If I please.

And you can do the same thing,
If you please….
 



Uploaded on Apr 1, 2009 by Gemini Productions.

“This is one of my favorite songs... because it's one of my favorite shows ^_^”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Agree with the original poster.Great series (for about 4 years).
---GR Anonymous