“Last of the Mohicans” History or Hollywood 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 Schweiz. 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 (Jodi May), both recent arrivals to the colonies, are being escorted to their father, Colonel Munro (Maurice Reeves), 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…
... last of his people, the last Mohican. He kills Magua, and the story ends with Hawkeye, Cora, and Chingachgook (Hawkeye's father) saying goodbye to ... for no man and serves no one in the battle. Cora Munro- Cora is the oldest daughter of a British general. She is ... th century. The setting is important because it helps the movie set the mood of the 18 th century frontier, and ...
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. Both Indians and whites participate peacefully in a lacrosse game. At the same time, the film portrays Indians and whites as equals and mingling as a group. The fact is that “in the colonialist context that historically shaped settler discourse, indigenous populations were routinely defined as a problem people in need of control.” The movie does not give and indication of the relations of superiority and dominance on the part of whites against the Indians whom they regarded as inferior. Neither does the whole history of exploitation by whites of these people become an issue.
Nonetheless, the bloody battles that Indians are stereotypically involved in are given emphasis. What is realistic at this point is the massacre of numerous Indians with guns. The Indian scouts, including Hawkeye, also are realistic since they were known for their tracking and survival skills. What is not authentic is the efficiency of killing, as though it occurred without real injury or pain. The character of Hawkeye is presented as an individual with fierce independence, but this is ironic in the overall context of the subjugation of Native peoples and the destruction of their culture. What the film omits are the colonialist structure that “are no longer defensible, with aboriginal peoples everywhere locked in struggles to sever the bonds of dependency and underdevelopment.” Hawkeye or Nathaniel, along with Cora are depicted as strong and independent, who have little problem with confronting the frontier.
About the Author The text of this booklet is an expansion of a lecture, "The Negro in Hollywood Films," delivered at a public forum held under the auspices of the Marxist cultural magazine, Masses & Mainstream, at the Hotel Capitol, New York, on February 3, 1950. The lecture, which dealt with fundamental and theoretical aspects of the film medium and the Negro question, and which projected a ...
The only reason that this is credible is because of Hawkeye’s skills as a trapper and scout. The Huron leader Magua is presented as the worst type of Indian, bitter towards white people. However, there is good reason for Magua to harbor such feelings when the process of assimilation is considered, beginning with the work of missionaries, especially among the Huron. The view of white and Indian relations is not a balanced one. It either tends towards the idealistic cooperation between races or the other extreme of unexplained bitterness. The film depicts the pristine environment of the Smoky Mountains as it was during the period of colonial America.
The period of the movie is the Seven Years War, but that is not its focus. The film is concerned with romance, rather than historical events. Nevertheless, the film does indicate that the colonies would later revolt against the Crown. General Montcalm’s allowing the British to surrender and the French refusal to trust the British to keep their word form part of the movie plot. The reason that the film is generally accurate historically is that it remained faithful to the spirit of Cooper.