Michael Mann’s 1992 film of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans plays on Turner Classic Movies this month. I wrote about it for the TCM website.
James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel, The Last of the Mohicans, a frontier adventure set in the Adirondacks in 1757, was one of the most popular books of its day. A century later, it remained a popular tale with Hollywood, first turned into a film in 1911 and remade in numerous incarnations for both the big screen and the small screen. Michael Mann’s 1992 film version is as much based on the 1936 version scripted by Philip Dunne and starring Randolph Scott as Hawkeye, the white man adopted and raised by a Mohican father, as it is on Cooper’s original novel, but it’s also reflective of its director and its time. Daniel Day Lewis plays a different kind of Hawkeye: rugged and wild with long flowing hair, a proto-counter culture son of mother nature in buckskin, living off the land with his father Chingachgook (Russell Means) and brother Uncas (Eric Schweig). They live in harmony with the white settlers of the wilderness, men and families who have left the transplanted European society of the cities to carve out lives of independence. But while they have distanced themselves from the European struggles for power and control, the war comes to them as the French and the British both lay claim to the lands of the New World.
Read the complete feature here. The Last of the Mohicans plays on TCM on Tuesday, May 11, and is available on DVD. A Blu-ray edition has been announced for later in 2010.