Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Friday Film Review: Last of the Mohicans

Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Genre: gritty historical/war/romance
Grade: B+

I’ll be the first to admit that I love this movie because of the plethora of good looking men. You know I’m shallow, I’ve admitted it more times than I can remember. Go ahead and say it with me, “Jayne is shallow and likes to ogle handsome men.” There, that’s over. But Jayne also likes to be entertained and this movie can do that too.

[nggallery id=82]

Loosely – very, very loosely – based on James Fenimore Cooper’s second novel in the Leatherstocking books, “Last of the Mohicans” is set in 1757 during the French and Indian Wars which you can look up on your own if you really want to know what was actually happening and at stake. For our purposes, we’re concerned about the frontier of New York and specifically the battle at Fort William Henry.

Chingachgook (Russell Means), his son Uncas (Eric Schweig), and Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), his adopted “white” son track a Huron war party to the site of an ambush where they save the lives of Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe) and her sister Alice (Jodhi May) as well as Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington). Alas, they are too late to save any of the company of British soldiers. The women are traveling to meet their father, Colonel Edmund Munro (Maurice Roëves), the commander of the British garrison at the fort. Magua (Wes Studi), an Indian scout, was supposed to lead them there but is in reality a Huron with a blood feud against Munro. When the attack is foiled, he escapes into the forest.

When the party finally arrives at the fort, it’s to discover it under siege by the French and doomed to fall within days. Despite efforts to send word to a neighboring fort, the English are forced to surrender and vacate the fort. Shortly after, Hurons attack the British, their Indian allies and the colonists who were at the fort. A small band, including most of our main cast, escape but the women and Major Heyward are taken captive by Magua and are lead to the Huron village. Will Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas be able to arrive in time and save the English captives from Magua’s revenge?

Reading over the plot I just typed, it strikes me how many people die in this film. It also sort of ends on a downer note. There’s also a huge amount of violence including shootings, stabbings, scalpings, burning at the stake and a spectacular leap off a waterfall. But I still love it. Hmmm, must think about what that says about me. I don’t, however, look for a great deal of historical accuracy as even Fenimore Cooper embroidered the facts a little to tell a good tale.

When it was released, a lot was made of how authentic the training for the principles and cast was, how Day-Lewis lived with his long rifle for months and the military men went to a sort of “English Army” boot camp. I can’t say for sure if it’s authentic yet who really can? But it sure looks nice. The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina fill in beautifully for the 18th century New York frontier. The music is stirring, the cinematography is excellent and gosh, those men are easy on the eyes. Just had to get that in again.

The film has that epic feel, that larger than life quality that grabs me from the beginning and doesn’t let go. Yes, I know the British, who all look spiffy in their red coats, come off almost as bad as the French but Communism had just been tossed on the trash heap and we needed new villains for American made movies. And in this one director Mann shows the growing disconnect between Mother England and her Colonies which would eventually lead to the split a generation further. And while I wish that Alice had been less of a wimpy, frail flower always needing Cora to protect her, she does redeem herself by choosing her final fate. I like that we’re told why Magua is out for revenge instead of him just being some evil killer for no reason. Plus whoever did the makeup and costumes for the Indian tribes rocks. The battle scenes are excellent but be cautious if you’re squeamish. Oh, and of course there’s the growing love story between Cora and Hawkeye to spice things up.

Cora Munro: What are you looking at, sir?
Hawkeye: I’m looking at you, miss.

The first time I saw “LOTM” was with some friends during its initial theatrical release and I still remember feeling like I wanted to turn right around and see the next showing. We all came out of the theater slightly stunned – but in a good way. I was gobsmacked and that feeling has never quite gone away even 18 years later. I know it’s not perfect, I know people probably have legitimate gripes about it, I know there’s a lot of violence, I know it’s more romance than history, more Hollywood than reality but it’s still one of my favorite films and a delicious guilty pleasure. And come on, you know you want the lacrosse scene to be longer too.

Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

71 Comments

  1. Lobo
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:37:06

    I just so felt the same as you did at the time of the film's theatrical release. But I went back and watched it about 5 more times. Up until now I did not know they were playing lacrosse though
    My favorite scene is at the Fort, by night when Hawkeye looks for Cora and just grabs her hand and they didn't speak at all just walk out while that music plays….

  2. Ellie
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:44:04

    This is one of my favorite movies. And I read a lot of romance, but that line, “I’m looking at you, miss.” is still the hottest thing EVER. Simple, direct, yow.

    I love the scene where Alice jumps. Not sure what that says about me, but it’s all done so well. Man holding out bloodstained hand he just killed lover with, or death? Hmmmm.

    And that scene where Hawkeye makes the big speech about how Cora must hold on, he will find her, just survive, and then he strolls in five minutes later just cracks me up.

  3. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 05:08:49

    @Lobo: My friends and I got the the theater right before it was due to start and had to sit very close to the front. And – wow! It just seemed to leap off the screen at us.

  4. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 05:12:44

    @Ellie: Yep, that line would probably sweep a woman used to courtly flatteries right off her feet.

    I like the leaping scene too I think because it’s Alice finally taking charge. You can also see that it’s really the first time Magua shows any respect for her.

    LOL, well…Hawkeye isn’t allowed to exactly stroll in to the Huron village.

  5. Tee
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 05:26:35

    Cora Munro: What are you looking at, sir?
    Hawkeye: I'm looking at you, miss.

    Totally agree on the above lines with you, Jayne. I think they’re one of the sexiest ever. How can that be? I’m happy to hear that others thought so, too.

  6. J L Wilson
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 05:30:16

    I, too, love this film as much for the feel of authenticity as for the romance (which is so great). This film prompted me to seek out additional fiction about Hawkeye, etc. (the way Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth made me seek out the ‘alternate’ Jane Austen books [but not the zombie one. Sorry. Can't do zombies]).

    One of my favorite Hawkeye books (and VERY hot) was “Into the Wilderness” by Sarah Donati. It’s about Hawkeye’s son. The other books in her series: not so good, but ItW was, I thought, a good story.

  7. Verona St.. James
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:12:40

    OMG. I LOVE this movie. There was one summer in high school where I would watch it all the way through only to rewind my poor battered VHS and watch it all over again right away.

    The lacrosse scene is a brilliant piece of cinema. Also the scene where they arrest Nathaniel and all he’s wearing is the skimpy buttflap. Some great, ah, acting there. Yeeesss… *shifty eyes*

    This romance is also one of my favorites, and I love, love his speech under the waterfall. *swoon* What woman wouldn’t love that?

    The DVD release makes me sad, though, because I can only ever find the director’s cut where Mann:

    1. Cut down the waterfall speech and thereby killed its awesomeness
    and
    2. Changed the very last scene so the romance gets down-played and Russell Means gets to give a long, preachy speech about the environment. :(

  8. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:17:23

    @Verona St.. James: I’ve heard of people searching for old VHS and original DVD editions of the movie for those very reasons.

  9. Mireya
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:17:57

    and the soundtrack is EXCELLENT,

  10. Bronte
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:38:10

    @Verona St.. James: The original release is readily available in Australia. I don’t think the directors cut is available here at all. If you’re really interested Ezydvd would probably have it.

    I’ll also confess to loving that particular dialogue between Cora and Nathaniel. Probably the hottest line in any movie I’ve seen.

  11. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:53:58

    If you want to visit a truly in-depth site about the film, go to http://www.mohicanpress.com/

    Those people are serious about liking this movie.

  12. helen
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:56:55

    I have to admit I love the scene where Alice leaps as well. Throughout the film she is somewhat homely but as she turns to jump the director lights her up from behind making her homeliness a kind of ethereal beauty. When I saw it at the theater everyone gasped. I have seen it a dozen times (at least) since then and every time I think, it couldn’t have been that good…but it was!

  13. Grace
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:07:14

    “I’m looking at you, miss.”

    Hottest line ever in a movie.

    Alice’s milksop character would have faded in memory except for that last scene before she leaps. Suddenly you see in her expression the blossoming of some hidden strength at those final moments. Magua does too. That was one of my favorite scenes.

    I saw LOTM 6 times at the theatre, and it’s still one of my favorite films 18 years later.

  14. library addict
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:09:24

    I Will Find You is one of favorite Clannad songs. And I agree with Mireya, the score is beautiful.

  15. Melissa
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:19:05

    I love love this movie! I never tire of watching it – the beautiful romance, stunning scenery, haunting score – all are unforgettable.

    I love the scenes with Cora and Hawkeye – “I’m looking at you Miss”, the scene behind the cabin where you can feel the passion and know they are grasping at life when they know they may not live (so do you think they went all the way? Cora looks quite disheveled during the last shot in his arms), the waterfall scene.

    I like the VHS version of the movie better but the scenery in the DVD version can’t be beat. I hope I can someday buy a Blu Ray version of the old VHS one. I miss the extra lines and I love the “My Heart Will Go With You” song that was removed in the DVD version.

    If you love this movie, I highly recommend reading Surrender by Pamela Clare because it’s an amazing romance set in the same setting and time period. Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati is also good, it’s written like a sequel to the movie version of Last of the Mohicans.

  16. Jen X
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:32:13

    I love this movie. I am a big Daniel Day-Lewis fan but this is the only movie where he’s a sexy hunk! LOL.

    I second the Pamela Clare recommendation. SURRENDER is awesome and evokes many of the same qualities as LOTM (the movie).

  17. Sarah Morgan
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:33:29

    It’s taken me YEARS to get over my addiction to LOTM and now you’ve set me off again -
    I watched the ‘what are you looking at Sir’ scene about a thousand times when it was first released – I’m about to make it 1001. And yes Verona, my VHS is battered too..

  18. Kaye
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:49:30

    “Stay alive- I will find you.” My sister and I love saying this line when we’re out somewhere and have to split up.

    I saw this and fell in love with DDL before I saw ROOM WITH A VIEW. When I watched that, I couldn’t help but think Lucy was making a mistake in rejecting Hawkeye.

    I miss Madeline Stowe movies. Not all of them are winners, but she’s always great to see and has the knack of making her co-stars shine.

  19. Darlene Marshall
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:02:49

    I tried hard not to think about the novel while I was watching this romantic film because I read Classics Illustrated the book and knew how it ended.

    Once I got past that I could enjoy it for the eye candy, the story and the lush music. LOTM soundtrack is still one of my favorite pieces of writing music when I’m at work.

  20. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:09:23

    @Kaye: I was talking with a friend one time and mentioned how different DDL looked in LOTM and RWAV. She looked at me as if I were crazy and said DDL wasn’t in RWAV. I said, “He is Cecil.” She thought for a minute then got a stunned look on her face and said, “OMG!! I never realized that was him.”

  21. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:11:00

    @Darlene Marshall: I think the BBC did a series of the book around the early 1970s which is closer to the actual story. I remember it was shown on the A&E channel years ago and was pretty good.

  22. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:12:06

    @Sarah Morgan: I don’t think I’ll ever get over my addiction but then I’m not really going to try very hard either. ;)

  23. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:13:38

    @Jen X: I second/third/fourth the rec for “Into the Wilderness.” It’s 900+ pages and I read it in about 3 days.

  24. Susanna Kearsley
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:24:57

    Ooh, I LOVE this movie. Love, love, love it. Even just looking at slide #5 in your slideshow of images makes my heart skip a beat, because I know what’s coming next…

  25. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:27:43

    @helen: I don’t know if I’d say she was homely but more that, at the time, Jodhi May’s face was unformed. I think she was only about 14-15 when the film was made and still in that gawky phase.

  26. Melissa
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:29:06

    I just looked it up and Last of the Mohicans is FINALLY coming out on Blu Ray on October 5th! It’s some version called “Director’s Definitive Cut”. I hope it includes more of the scenes that were cut from the DVD version. I can’t wait to see the scenery in high definition.

  27. mdegraffen
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:34:24

    What a great film and one of my favorites. DDL was very fine, but his method acting compulsion gets on my nerves in some of his later films. Eric Schweig as Uncas was no slouch either. He’s mellowed over the years but is still very fine. See if you can find the DVD of Big Eden, where he plays a closeted gay Indian. I was also happy to see the authenticity of the Native American scenes, right down to customs and dress. Like the leather stockings and the butt flap leggings? You might want to take a gander at Robert Mirabal, from the Taos Pueblo, who performs modern traditionally inspired music in native dress.

  28. Kaye
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:38:19

    @Jayne: The method acting for RWAV must’ve been easier than Last of the Mohicans. Instead of sleeping with a gun, he’d only have to sip tea or read.

    Unless he decided to sleep with his monocle.

  29. Aislinn Macnamara
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:40:30

    I love this movie, for all its visual beauty — not just the hot guys but everything about it. Love the soundtrack, too. I’ve just spent half an hour looking up clips on You Tube.

    @Jen X I always thought DDL was hunky in THE BOUNTY (Mel Gibson version, back before Mel went crazy). Between him and Mel there was a lot to like visually about that movie, too. *wipes up drool*

  30. JenM
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 08:53:17

    Aw see, I hadn’t watched this movie in awhile and now I’m just dying to go out and rent it. Totally bummed though if I find out that all that is available is the director’s cut. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that version. The waterfall scene is one of my favorites ever and I’d hate for it to be missed with. Right now, I can hear the music playing in the background when they are in the fort and he looks at her….

    I fell so hard for DDL in that movie that I was doomed forever afterward to dislike all of his other movies because he never played a character like that again.

  31. Sunita
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 09:17:37

    Saw this movie dozens of times? Check.
    Found every Eric Schweig website and DVD and watched them? Check.
    Decided on the 15th or 16th viewing that Wes Studi was at least as worth watching as DDL and Eric Schweig (okay, more for his acting, but still)? Check.
    DDL and Madeleine Stowe have to be up there for the best romantic couple EVAH.

    And Jayne, the Last of the Mohicans miniseries was shown in the US on Masterpiece Theater way back in the Upstairs Downstairs days. I remember watching it and then being incredibly disappointed at how hokey the Cooper book was. But Into the Wilderness? Definitely two thumbs up.

    Sigh. I don’t have time for a repeat viewing but I really really want one now.

  32. Maria Zannini
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 09:45:10

    I just watched this the other night on DVD. I always choke up at this scene:

    You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you.

    During 9-11, my husband and I were stuck in different parts of the country. Planes were grounded and for several hours we didn’t know (along with the rest of the country) what was going to happen next.

    We made our plans to meet at a designated location. I was scared for him because he was a first responder and was in a potential strike zone on the coast, but I remember him saying:

    If we lose communication, or things get worse, you keep going. You don’t stop, no matter what you hear. I will find you.

    I have my own Hawkeye. :)

  33. Wendy
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:39:26

    And now I have to watch this movie tonight. Friday night is my husband’s “Man-game night” with his friends, so I think spending the evening with Last of the Mohicans is brilliant use of time.

  34. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:43:35

    @Sunita: There is always time for another repeat viewing!

    Wes Studi is a fabulous actor. I need to try some of his “Joe Leaphorn” shows. And I also think Eric Schweig is still very easy on the eyes.

  35. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:44:51

    @Maria Zannini: Okay, now that brought a tear to my eye.

  36. Amy
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:52:52

    This review and comments brought back so many memories. DH and I were wondering the other day whether we should look for a DVD replacement for this movie, as we only had the laser disc and we sold it along with the laser disc player. But I’m dismayed to hear that current DVDs won’t depict all the scenes from the original theatrical release! If anyone here finds a place (for US residents) to buy one of the older versions, please let me know.

  37. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:56:36

    @Amy: I would suggest you try used sources such as ebay or half.com and carefully question the seller as to which version is up for sale.

  38. Maili
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:02:30

    I’m a self-confessed Mann fangirl and this is the only Mann film I didn’t like. (Yes, I liked Miami Vice more, for goodness sake.) Judging by those comments, I’m the only one who is in this camp. Boo!

    I’m feeling punch drunk so excuse typos etc when I list some reasons why I thought LOTM sucked [edited: I saw this film once years ago, though, so excuse me]:
    a) it’s a remake of an earlier crappy film, LOTM (1930s?)
    b) Hawkeye and Cora together? Boo! It should be Uncas and Cora!
    c) the whole film left me feeling uncomfortable, but I felt the same way about The Patriot, Braveheart and similar “epic hero goes all noble and kills all foreign baddies, whoo hoo!” films, though, so no surprise.
    d) Uncas! In the novel, he’s the most interesting character with great character growth, and his relationship with Cora is so good in a ‘wtf? Damn you, Cooper!’ way. Basically, I wasn’t happy with Mann for downplaying his role in favour of DDL/Hawkeye’s “I’m a noooo-ble adopted son!” thingy (Hky isn’t adopted in the novel, tho).

    I do realise and accept novel adaptations tend to differ from novels, but Mann’s version is a remake of another film, not a novel, so the rules don’t apply. :D catty kitty on/ In fact, I seriously doubt Mann had even read the novel. /catty kitty off

    Oh, and e) DDL didn’t ring the ‘Bonk me, Baby!’ bell for me at all (even though his body looked very nice in this film) and he never will. DDL takes everything so seriously that I couldn’t help but want to make fun of him, even though he’s one of few actors I consistently like. So it was hard to view him as a shaggable hero in this film.

    Seriously though, although I acknowledge LOTM as a good film, it just didn’t work for me. *sigh* Where should I hand in my Romance Reader card?

  39. Jayne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:09:17

    @Maili: I’m amazed that it took over 8 hours to get the first negative comment. See, I knew there had to be some people who hate this movie out there. I totally agree that it’s a remake of another movie and not a close adaptation of the book. But since I’ve never read the book, I don’t care! ;)

    I also agree that “The Patriot,” with the exception of Jason Isaacs who steals the whole damn movie every time he’s onscreen, is tripe. “Braveheart” I’ve never seen.

  40. ms bookjunkie
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:31:33

    I went to see LOTM with my friends on Saturday night when it first hit the theaters. Then I went back on Sunday afternoon to see it again. I’ve never done this before or since, and when you consider how teeny tiny my allowance was and how zealously I hoarded it to buy books, it says something that I used the last of it to re-watch a movie I’d just seen. *swoon* So romantic! So tragic!

    I liked the heart-eating scene, and was very disappointed when it had been cut out for TV. *eye roll* I wonder why that happened… Gruesome? Moi? Why would you say that?

  41. Amy
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:36:37

    @Jayne:

    “Braveheart” I've never seen.

    I don’t think you’re missing out. I had a tough time buying into Mel Gibson as the hero because, from the very beginning, I thought he looked his age (of nearing 40) or even older than his age, and he just looked too old for the role he was playing. During scenes that depicted Wallace and his very young, fresh faced looking wife, I couldn’t help but feel icky as I kept thinking he looked more like her dad. I know it was possible to have such big age differences back then and those differences are common in romance stories. But they never worked for me. And in this movie, I never got over the fact that MG looked wrong for the role; it impacted my outlook on the movie as I was unable to suspend my disbelief and just lose myself in the story.

  42. Monica Burns
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 12:37:58

    I listen to soundtrack when I’m writing a romantic scene. Everything about this film is fantastic. I found all the characters sympathetic to some degree. If I had a top 10 list of romance films, this one would be on it. It’s exquisitely shot. Of course, having traipse through the Blue Ridge Mountains every weekend as a kid, the scenery was like going home. *grin* Guess I know what I’m going to watch tonight. Great review Jayne

  43. Janine
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 15:35:55

    I liked this movie well enough but not enough to be tempted to watch it a second time. The thing I most loved about it though was the score (the main titles in particular). I bought the soundtrack right after seeing it.

    @Maili: I feel your pain. Few things are more disappointing than a less-than-faithful adaptation of a favorite book to the screen.

  44. Robin
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 16:08:23

    I loved, loved this movie! Haven’t seen it in many years so I don’t remember the exact circumstances, just Cora and Hawkeye separated from the others at night, sitting together and he wraps his arm around her. He hardly touches her and I don’t think the even talk in that scene. But for some reason, that is the first time that the concepts of romance, love and sex all clicked together for me. The moment seemed so filled with wanting, protectiveness, and cherishing. Hard to explain… oh well. Now that I’m older I’m sort of afraid to watch it again; it might not be at all how I thought it was back then. I really don’t want my memory of that moment diminished.

  45. Darlynne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 17:05:28

    The first time I saw “LOTM” was with some friends during its initial theatrical release and I still remember feeling like I wanted to turn right around and see the next showing.

    Me, too! And that’s never happened before or since. Since I couldn’t turn around then, not sure why exactly, I did see LOTM an additional, unprecedented seven times after that. And bought the soundtrack, every VHS and DVD version, read every magazine article, watched all movies with DDL, Wes Studi and Russell Means and Madeline Stowe. *sigh* Eric Schweig. *deep sigh*

    Speaking DDL: In Age of Innocence, when he just barely opens Michelle Pfeiffer’s glove to kiss her wrist? Yikes.

  46. Darlynne
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 17:06:20

    The first time I saw “LOTM” was with some friends during its initial theatrical release and I still remember feeling like I wanted to turn right around and see the next showing.

    Me, too! And that’s never happened before or since. Since I couldn’t turn around then, not sure why exactly, I did see LOTM an additional, unprecedented seven times after that. And bought the soundtrack, every VHS and DVD version, read every magazine article, watched all movies with DDL, Wes Studi and Russell Means and Madeline Stowe. *sigh* Eric Schweig. *deep sigh*

    Speaking of DDL: In The Age of Innocence, when he just barely opens Michelle Pfeiffer’s glove to kiss her wrist? Yikes.

  47. Bonnie B
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 18:46:21

    Love, love, LOVE this movie, even after all these years. When it came out in the theatre, I must have seen it at least 10 times on the big screen! And I bought the soundtrack. On cassette AND DVD when that came out. I had the movie poster in my bedroom (the one of DDL running towards the camera) for at least 2 years.

    Right up there with Dances With Wolves, Count of Monte Cristo (modern version), and Braveheart for me in tragic “romantic” epics.

  48. Pamelia
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 20:11:29

    One of my favorite all time movies. Thanks for the review! That has to have one of the sexiest kiss scenes –you know up on the fort wall. And the music playing when they kiss?(called ironically “The Kiss”) is still one of my favorite all time soundtrack moments.
    BTW: If you’re looking for some sexy sexy sexy Daniel Day Lewis try “My Beautiful Laundrette” unless the gay theme turns you off.
    And if you look up the art of James Bama he did some very gorgeous portraits of Wes Studi in traditional Native American garb — just sayin!

  49. Mezza
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 23:07:02

    Also a huge lover of this movie and I too have the soundtrack. For me the scene under the waterfall is the one that makes the movie a romance because he will love her no matter what and he makes a choice that is about strategy and thinking. That is what makes him alpha in my mind. I also liked how the movie is about friendship and loyalty and memory too and that we see the romance coming from the bloke’s side of things.

    Just an aside… Roxy Harte has a story ‘Survival Instinct’ pub Loose Id with a gay hero who is devastated by a set of events and betrayals. He is vege-ing on a sofa and re-watching LOTM over and over before he goes on to meet his future

  50. Nifty
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 06:38:18

    I own this movie and you’ve inspired me to do a weekend re-watch. Thanks for that! (One of the thrills for me is that I’m a huge fan of Scottish folksinger and musician Dougie MacLean, whose “The Gael” is the central music for the score/soundtrack. Here’s Dougie in concert performing The Gael. The quality is not great, but you can clearly hear the music you’ll recognize from the movie and soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v8pM7cHrT8 )

    Regarding Alice, I remember my mother telling me that she thought Alice was just a young girl. Madeleine Stowe doesn’t necessarily look very young in the movie, so I guess that makes Jodhi May look a bit older by comparison, too. But I could see the character of Alice as being little more than 14 or 15 or possibly even younger, which could explain why she’s so wimpy and shy. The actress was only 17 when the movie was RELEASED, so probably 15 or 16 when it was being made.

  51. J L
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 08:20:26

    Just checked the version I downloaded (lo, so long ago) from Itunes.

    It has the gory heart-ripping scene, no deletion from waterfall scene, and focus on romance at the end.

    Win! Now to re-watch it for the zillioneth time.

  52. JoanneF
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 12:11:32

    I love this movie too. DDL’s Hawkeye was sexy and Wes Studi’s Magua made a terrifying yet understandable villain. He wasn’t just evil for the sake of being evil, he had his logical reasons. But for me, this movie was all about Uncas. I’m a sucker for the strong, silent type. Mmmmmmmmm……..Eric Schweig’s portrayal of Uncas has been fodder of many romantic dreams over the years.

  53. KristieJ
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 14:18:01

    @Jen X:

    And not just Surrender, but also Ride the Fire. There is a scene in that book where they are trying to get to the fort and I read it while listening to the sound track and what an incredible experience that was!!

    I love this movie too and all the scenes others have mentioned.

  54. MaryK
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 16:38:41

    the scene under the waterfall is the one that makes the movie a romance because he will love her no matter what and he makes a choice

    This and the cliff scene are the only ones I really remember (except for vague recollections of the “exactly what did they do behind the cabin” scene), it’s been so long since I saw the movie. They’re amazing and loaded with subtext IMO.

    At the waterfall, he knew what was likely to happen when she was caught, and he was telling her it wouldn’t matter to him. Pretty amazing, and not a common attitude.

    I think I saw the younger sister as just a delicate person. Not everybody is tough, and in the cliff scene, she fought back in her own way. The scene doesn’t even feel tragic to me [except for the hero dying part :*( ] (and, oh man, am I super sensitive to tragedy). It was like the ultimate F U. She won, and he knew it.

    I’ve been kind of wanting to rewatch this for a while now and now I really must! All I have is a very old VHS tape, though. I never got a DVD because of the cutting of scenes thing. Why would they do that?!

  55. Jen X
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 20:12:55

    @Jayne…SOLD! I just ordered “Into the Wilderness” it sounds fab!

    @Kristie J…I haven’t read “Ride The Fire” yet but it’s already in my TBR. Good to know. I love Pamela’s books. :)

  56. Maili
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 22:54:34

    @MaryK:

    I think I saw the younger sister as just a delicate person. Not everybody is tough, and in the cliff scene, she fought back in her own way. The scene doesn't even feel tragic to me [except for the hero dying part :*( ] (and, oh man, am I super sensitive to tragedy). It was like the ultimate F U. She won, and he knew it.

    Quite a few hold this view, but this view doesn’t hold for me because earlier in the film, she tried to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff or waterfall. (I think it was Uncas who stopped her from jumping?)

    So, it seems to me her tendency is to try commit suicide when she thinks she has to deal with the reality (which I felt fit in with her film-version character).

    I just didn’t see it as her way of fighting back or a F.U. gesture, but as a stereotypical/ideal reaction of a sheltered gently-bred young white lady.

    Going off the track a bit: Cora is different from her sister because – the film didn’t specifically point it out because Mann didn’t want viewers to be distracted – she’s mixed race (she has a half-black mother), therefore she has enough so-called unladylike quality to try and survive.

    (Clarification: a mentality of that time when the Ideal (white) Woman was deemed courageous for preferring to die – if there was no gentleman nearby to save her – instead of dealing with the ungentlemanly reality, which is something only men and the “uncivilised” (including non-white or working-class women) could handle. There was also a mentality that mixed-race women were fated to die young and oft, tragically.
    Both of these mentalities were part of literature – since perhaps Samuel Richardson’s novel? – and films for decades.
    It still persists in some films nowadays. Example: the Ideal Woman appears in a 2009 film I saw recently (I forget the title) – it has a female protagonist ready to cut her throat with a knife, after she was cornered by a baddie, when a male protagonist arrived in time to save her.

    With that in mind, I think this is one of few good things I liked about the film. It offers an acknowledgement of the old Ideal (Alice) while introducing the new Ideal to the story by making the heroine out of an Undesirable (Cora), even though Cora still relies on Hawkeye somehow.)

    …yikes. That’s a bit of a long messy ramble. Sorry if I bored all with this mess. Edited: And my apologies for going off the track, too!

  57. MaryK
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 00:09:38

    @Maili:

    she tried to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff or waterfall

    Hmm. I don’t remember that. I was a teenager myself when it came out so I may have sympathized unduly. ;)

    Your theory of transposed ideals appeals to my inner English Major, but my everyday self thinks the F U theory is cooler. :D

  58. Jayne
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 13:26:44

    @Maili:

    Quite a few hold this view, but this view doesn't hold for me because earlier in the film, she tried to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff or waterfall. (I think it was Uncas who stopped her from jumping?)

    Huh? I mean, really, huh? Suicide? I think she almost slipped and accidentally fell while trying to scale some waterfall area in a long dress but I’ve never thought she was trying to commit suicide.

  59. JoanneF
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 14:58:45

    I agree, Jayne. I don’t recall Alice ever attempting to commit suicide earlier in the film. I’ve also thought that one of the reasons for her jumping at the end was because of her feelings for Uncas. A lot of glances between Alice & Uncas throughout the movie IMO.

  60. MaryK
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 15:25:06

    @JoanneF: “I’d rather be dead with him than alive with you.”

    I reeeaaally need to rewatch this. On the other hand, I’ll be very sad if it turns out my theory of that scene is wrong.

  61. Maili
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 16:19:44

    @Jayne, @MaryK & @JoanneF: Eep. It was screened at a film festival along with a round-table chat. I don’t remember them saying anything about it being a different cut, which is why I assumed it was a theatrical version.

    I found a few possible versions (the official cut is 114 min?)

    - Warner Bros theatrical cut (112 min)
    - Fox LaserDisc (113 min)
    - FoxVideo VHS 1993 (114 min)
    - 20th Century VHS 1996 (114 min)
    - 20th Century LaserDisc (113 min)
    - Special Edition 1999 (125 min – I’m guessing it includes an extra)
    - DVD Wide Scr PAL (Europe) 2001 (108 min)
    - Director’s Expanded DVD (117 min)
    - CBS version (115 min)
    - Director’s Definitive Cut 2010 (?)

    I have no idea which version we saw at the screening, but it looks like the earlier scene isn’t in the official Region 1 VHS/DVD version? If so, my apologies for causing confusion.

  62. Maili
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 16:25:35

    Crap. My comment didn’t show up. I’m too lazy to re-type it all. Basically, I think we saw different versions.

    @Jayne – It’d be funny if you review P&P (Keira Knightley) because the UK edition and the US editions have different endings, don’t they? :D Same with The Descent. It’d also be fun to compare both endings of P&P to discuss which is better and why.

  63. orannia
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 17:10:02

    Entering a little late but…I both love and don’t love this movie. (I’m such a fence sitter). I read the book first, so I remember coming out of the theatre (YUP, saw it on the big screen :) angry at how different from the book it was while admitting I did like the soundtrack and scenery.

    After numerous re-watchings I have got over my issues by calling the movie ‘Hawkeye’. I always wondered why they made the movie so different from the book. But, I will say this for the screenwriters, they could have left out all those glances between Alice & Uncas, but they put them in.

    And I so agree that Eric Schweig was rather easy on the eyes in that movie :) And I just adore the soundtrack.

  64. Jayne
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 19:33:00

    @orannia: I’ve read in several places that originally there was a much stronger subplot romance for Uncas and Alice that got cut. Not sure why – maybe time constraints?

  65. Jayne
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 19:35:13

    @Maili: I fished it out of the ‘pending’ file. I wasn’t aware there was a different ending for that version of P&P. I mean, what other ending can it have? Just curious but maybe I ought to put that in my Netflix queue again and do a review of it and we can discuss it then.

  66. Jayne
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 19:39:01

    @Maili: Honestly, I’ve never seen any version (original US theatrical, US TV, or the DVD I have) which even remotely looks like Alice tries to off herself early on. The DVD I have is the Director's Expanded DVD (117 min).

    Me wonders what the Definitive Director’s Cut will look like. Perhaps someone who gets it can report back to us.

  67. JoanneF
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 19:45:36

    @Maili: I hated how they ended the Keira Knightly version of P&P. I still think the BBC/A&E version is far better.

  68. mfred
    Aug 02, 2010 @ 08:10:30

    Growing up, I lived on the top floor, and the walls of my room slanted, following the shape of the roof.

    I had a poster of Daniel Day Lewis– from the part of the movie where he is running through the field to get to Cora before she is killed– over my bed. Upside down. So I could lay in bed and look in his eyes and luuuurve him.

  69. MaryK
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 16:37:05

    The blu-ray version is out and Amazon has it for $19. Has anybody tried it?

  70. Jayne
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 18:55:08

    @MaryK: I don’t have a blu-ray player yet but a lot of the reviews at Amazon aren’t complimentary to it.

  71. Moira
    Mar 20, 2011 @ 11:47:56

    Agreed, on all points. I was not a fan of the book OR Cooper (so was thrilled that it had only the most basic ties to it), and it’s the only film of Mann’s that I’ve ever enjoyed. There’s something about that group of actors, telling that particular story, that has stayed with me over the years…even inspiring or informing moments in my own writing.

%d bloggers like this: