The Last of the Mohicans Movie – 1920 and 1992
The Last of the Mohicans movie is the adaptation of the famous novel by James Fenimore Cooper of the same name. This adventure film was first made in 1920 as a silent movie, and later there were many versions, with the latest being the 1992 version. The Last of the Mohicans is considered an epic film with strong historical significance and has been a favorite theme for movie makers since the first silent movie version.
The 1920 silent movie version is still considered a classic and is almost the exact adaptation of Cooper’s novel. The movie stars Barbara Bedford, Wallace Berry, Lillian Hall, Alan Roscoe, James Gordon, Henry Woodward, Nelson McDowell, Jack McDonald, Sydney Deane, and Theodore Lorch. It is directed by Clarence Brown and Maurice Tourneur; however, Clarence Brown finished most of the job, as Maurice was ill for most part of the movie. The setting of the movie is the Canadian wars of the 18th century between the English and French. The Mohican Indians Chicgachgook and Uncas owe their loyalty to the English, whereas Magua a Huron Indian is with the French. The story revolves around the adventure of two English girls who are trying to get to their father who is commandeering a fort.
The main action in the movie is the massacre scenes at the fort, which is shown in quite graphic detail, including babies being bayoneted. The emotional climax of the daughter of the fort commander trying to commit suicide by jumping of the cliff, rather than be a victim of villainous Magua, lends a thrilling twist to this adventure movie. Even though this silent movie was shot in 1920, people still find it quite gripping and thrilling.
The latest version of the movie made in 1992 is more of a romantic version and is only based in parts on the original Cooper’s novel. The source material is actually the screenplay of the 1936 movie. The screenplay is written by Phillip Dunne, Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe, and direction is by Michael Mann. The main cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig, Jodhi May and Wes Studi as the villain Magua. The story revolves round the two English sisters who are rescued by Hawkeye (adopted son of Chingachgook) from Huron Indians and taken to the British Fort. However, the fort ultimately falls to the French, and the villainous Huron Indian Magua massacres the people in the fort.
The movie although not staying on course with the original story, is quite well made, given the present techniques. It is quite long, lasting one hour and fifty-four minutes, but it is kept entertaining throughout. The attention to detail and staging the movie on a grand scale has its effect on the audience. However, the authenticity to the original plot is compromised and the movie runs more like a romantic fantasy. It lacks the historical effect that was achieved by the original movie.