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...
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In the year 1756, Fort William Henry on Lake George is under siege by the French and Hurons under General Montcalm. Alice and Cora Munro, young daughters of the British Commander, Colonel ... See full summary »
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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 <email@example.com>
This is truly a magnificent film. It goes way beyond nostalgia in its appeal - it is a sublime work of art. Maurice Tourneur, one of the most neglected geniuses of cinema, directed most of it but, after being injured on set, he gave the great Clarence Brown his first directing assignment. And it's easy to see where Brown learnt a lot of the visual stylings that he became so famous for. This film, in a gorgeously restored print with colour tints, is a visual treat - with its revolutionary use of shadows, changes of light, actors moving into the camera, extreme long shots and even a tracking shot. The camera was still pretty immobile in 1920, but through quick edits and superb shot composition, Tourneur creates a sense of movement.
But you'll forget all the technical brilliance once the emotion of the story grabs you - and that will be in the massacre scene, which is one of the most horrifying sequences I have ever seen. And the film's finale on a cliff-top is awesome. Excellent performances from the 17 year old Barbara Bedford, in her film debut, and Alan (then Albert) Roscoe - as the inter-racial lovers. They create an eroticism together that'll have you panting - it's not surprising that the pair later married in real life. And Wallace Beery is menacingly evil as the man who comes between them.
It's an astonishing picture politically too - very contemporary in its treatment of racial issues. The Native Americans, the English and the French are all portrayed as both good and bad - the massacre being blamed primarily on the French giving the Native Americans alcohol. And the inter-racial love is respected by the film-makers and most of the characters.
Don't miss this one - it deserves a place with the great achievements of cinema.
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