Michael Mann's Movie Version of James Fenimore Cooper's “Last of the Mohicans”
The 1992 movie version of James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans" was directed by Michael Mann and starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Steven Waddington, Russell Means and Eric Schweig. As an epic about human conflict, the movie addresses all the necessary elements of social, political and spiritual concern required for such a production; however, the grandiose spectacle of Hollywood film making abilities cannot mask the stereotypical Native American imagery blatantly portrayed in this movie.
The movie “The Last of the Mohicans” in certain respects is an accurate portrayal of early colonial society, but in many ways it is inaccurate. The film did make every attempt to remain faithful to James Cooper’s book, which is known for its historical authenticity.
Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and her younger sister, Alice (Jodhi May), both recent arrivals to the colonies, are being escorted to their father, Colonel Munro (Maurice Roeves), by a troop of British soldiers. Along the way they are ambushed by a Huron war party led by Magua (Wes Studi), a sinister warrior with a blood vendetta against Munro. Munro's soldiers are wiped out and Cora herself is nearly killed by Magua but is saved at the last moment by Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), a white trapper raised by the Mohican tribe. Hawkeye promises to take Cora and her sister safely to their father, and along the way Cora and the intense Hawkeye fall in love. Together they must survive wilderness, war, and the relentless pursuit of Magua. Need to finish rest of story….
The movie begins symbolically with drumbeats similar to heartbeats. It is 1757, with French and British at war, and Indians involved on the two sides. The plot basically concerns Cora’s and Alice’s arrival in the colonies. They are escorted by British soldiers but are ambushed by a war party of Huron Indians. First of all, whatever is depicted by the media can provide a lasting and pervasive impression. Huron Indians were generally peaceful people. Furthermore, while the Huron fought regularly with the Iroquois, they did not indiscriminately attack groups of people. Many of the ‘Indians’ in the film actually are white actors. The character of Hawkeye is confusing culturally since he is a white trapper who was raised by the Mohicans. He saves Cora from being killed by the leader of the Huron war party. Cora and Hawkeye fall in love.
The canoes and weapons used in the film were constructed in the traditional Indian way. The character of Chingachgook is played by a Native American Indian and activist....