Dramatic Vocalise Database

Mandel, Johnny (b. 1925)

M.A.S.H. (1970)

The use of dramatic vocalization in religious-themed movies and Biblical epics lends itself well to parody, as seen in the movies M.A.S.H. (1970), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), and Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979). In the first of these, with music by Johnny Mandel (b. 1925), the characters join together for a “Last Supper” visually similar to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, to celebrate Capt. Walter “Painless Pole” Waldowski (John Schuck) before he commits suicide because of erectile dysfunction. However, unknown to him is that the others have conspired to give him a placebo instead of poison. After the supper, “Painless” lays in a coffin waiting for his death; the other characters give their condolences while Pvt. Seidman (Ken Prymus) sings “Suicide Is Painless,” the movie’s theme song. In the following scene, dramatic vocalization accompanies a nurse’s efforts to transform “Painless” back to virility.

(Nauman 2009, 250)



Following The Last Supper