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As Alice and Cora Munro attempt to find their father, a British officer in the French and Indian War, they are set upon by French soldiers and their cohorts, Huron tribesmen led by the evil Magua. Fighting to rescue the women are Chingachgook and his son Uncas, the last of the Mohican tribe, and their white ally, the frontiersman Natty Bumppo, known as Hawkeye. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a fine movie adaptation of the classic story of "The Last of the Mohicans", for its time certainly, but in many respects it has held up at least as well as just about any other screen version of the story. The scenario emphasizes the gist of the story, develops most of the main characters efficiently, and at the right times creates a good sense of danger and suspense.
The story is by and large the one familiar from the novel, set in the Seven Years War (which in the USA is often called the 'French and Indian War'), with the British and French relying heavily on their allies among the various native tribes of North America. The Mohicans were the tribe that had occupied some of the first land to be taken by European colonists, and thus already in 1757 had almost disappeared. In the story, they are down to one father and one son, which adds considerable poignancy to events.
The script in this version makes the interesting choice to deemphasize the role of the Mohicans' friend Hawkeye in the course of the story, instead portraying the two Indians, Uncas and Magua, as the primary figures in the fighting and in the ongoing battle of wits. Cooper's novel contains many lengthy descriptive passages, and they are omitted here, replaced instead by many location shots that efficiently and effectively suggest the atmosphere of the time, without using words.
Albert Roscoe (as he was billed here) stars as the courageous Mohican Uncas, Wallace Beery (always good in the role of a heavy) plays the treacherous, mean-spirited Magua, and Barbara Bedford is Cora, whose safety becomes one of the crucial issues in the conflict.
While the story is largely the same, this has a much livelier pace than the novel, and it really works quite well. The photography is very good, especially for 1920. It is well worth seeing for itself, and as an example of a good approach to adapting a classic novel into a movie.
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