The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film)
|The Last of the Mohicans|
|Directed by||Michael Mann|
|Produced by||Michael Mann |
James G. Robinson
|Written by||Michael Mann |
|Starring||Daniel Day-Lewis |
|Music by||Trevor Jones |
|Editing by||Dov Hoenig |
|Studio||Morgan Creek Productions|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox (US) |
Warner Bros. (non-USA)
|Release date(s)|| |
|Running time||117 minutes|
|Box office||$75,505,856 (United States)|
The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 during the French and Indian War and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same name, although it owes more to George B. Seitz's 1936 film adaptation than the source novel. The main cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Wes Studi, Eric Schweig, Steven Waddington, and Jodhi May.
The soundtrack features music by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman, and the song "I Will Find You" by Clannad. The main theme of the film is taken from the tune "The Gael" by Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean. Released on September 25, 1992 in the United States, The Last of the Mohicans was met with universal praise from critics as well as being commercially successful during its box-office run.
During the French and Indian War in 1757, Mohican Chingachgook (Russell Means) with his sons, Uncas (Eric Schweig) and adopted white Nathaniel Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), visit the Cameron frontier household. Friend Jack Winthrop (Edward Blatchford) tells them he is gathering militia for the British army. General Webb agrees to grant the militia leave if their homes are attacked, in return for their reinforcement of Colonel Edmund Munro (Maurice Roëves) at Fort William Henry. Newly arrived Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) and native Magua (Wes Studi) are tasked with escorting Munro's daughters, Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May), from Albany to their father at the fort. Duncan wishes to marry Cora, but she professes friendship only. Magua leads the unsuspecting group into an ambush by his Huron war party. Hawkeye, Uncas and Chingachgook come across the attack as Magua escapes and save Duncan, Cora and Alice, deciding to escort them to the fort.
Along the way the Cameron home is found razed and its occupants murdered. The group arrive at the fort to find it under siege by the French, but manage to sneak in. Munro is surprised at his daughters’ arrival; Magua had schemed to reunite the family. The fort can only hold for three more days, so a messenger is sent to General Webb for help. To Duncan's chagrin, Cora and Hawkeye are drawn to each other, so he resentfully denies to testify of seeing the razed Cameron household. Munro therefore refuses to Jack and the militia leave to defend their homes. Hawkeye secretly helps them escape anyway, but is arrested for sedition and sentenced to hang despite Cora's pleas. The French General Montcalm (Patrice Chéreau) generously offers all in the fort safe passage to Albany if they surrender and refuse to fight any longer. Munro reluctantly accepts after Montcalm shows Webb’s intercepted message, showing that no aid is forthcoming.
Magua berates Montcalm for making peace, revealing that his village was destroyed and his children killed by Munro's troops, assisted by the Mohawk. Though he regained his freedom under Mohawk captivity, his wife remarried believing he was dead. Montcalm, though intending to honor the terms, would not mind if Magua were to deal with the British. The retreating British soldiers and their families are ambushed by Magua's men. Magua cuts out Munro's heart from his living body, but not before promising to kill Munro's daughters to extinguish his line. Hawkeye, Cora, Alice, Uncas, Chingachgook, Duncan and a few others flee in canoes across Lake George and down a river to a cave behind a waterfall, but Magua and his men are soon upon them. For their safety, Hawkeye urges Cora and her sister to submit if captured and promises he will find them later, then leaps with his father and brother down the waterfall. Magua takes Duncan and the two sisters to a Huron village.
Magua negotiates his captives’ fate with the sachem when they are interrupted by the arrival of an unarmed Hawkeye. With Duncan translating in French, Hawkeye convinces the chief that Magua is acting for his own interests like the colonial powers, rather than for the good of the tribe. The chief decides that Cora is to be burned alive to atone for Magua's children, gives Alice to replace Magua’s wife so that both bloodlines can continue and orders Duncan's return to the British to placate them. Hawkeye is released in recognition of his bravery, but pleads to take Cora’s place. Duncan deliberately mistranslates, sacrificing himself instead so Hawkeye and Cora can escape, whilst Magua curses the sachem and departs with Alice and his men. From a safe distance, Hawkeye mercifully shoots Duncan as he is burned alive.
Uncas, who had cared for Alice throughout, races ahead to intercept Magua's band, killing several warriors before engaging Magua. Magua kills him, then drops his body off the cliff. Rather than joining Magua, Alice follows Uncas by jumping to her death. Seeing this, an enraged Hawkeye and Chingachgook set upon the Hurons and slay several. Chingachgook kills Magua, avenging his son. After a ritual for Uncas with Cora and Hawkeye, Chingachgook announces that he is the last of the Mohicans.
- Daniel Day-Lewis - Hawkeye/Nathaniel Poe
- Madeleine Stowe - Cora Munro
- Russell Means - Chingachgook
- Eric Schweig - Uncas
- Jodhi May - Alice Munro
- Steven Waddington - Maj. Duncan Heyward
- Wes Studi - Magua
- Maurice Roëves - Col. Edmund Munro
- Patrice Chéreau - Gen. Louis-Joseph de Montcalm
- Edward Blatchford - Jack Winthrop
- Tracey Ellis - Alexandra Cameron
- Terry Kinney - John Cameron
- Sebastian Roché - Martin
- Justin M. Rice - James Cameron
- Dennis Banks - Ongewasgone
- Pete Postlethwaite - Capt. Beams
- Colm Meaney - Maj. Ambrose
- Mac Andrews - Gen. Daniel Webb
- Benton Jennings - Scottish Officer
- Jared Harris - British Lieutenant
Much care was taken with recreating accurate costumes and props. American Bladesmith Society Master Bladesmith Daniel Winkler made the tomahawks used in the film and knifemaker Randall King made the knives.
Despite the film taking place in upstate New York, according to the film credits, it was filmed mostly in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Locations used include Lake James, Chimney Rock Park and The Biltmore Estate. Some of the waterfalls that were used in the movie include Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and High Falls located in the DuPont State Forest. Another of these falls was Linville Falls, in the mountains of North Carolina.
Reception and honors
The Last of the Mohicans opened to general acclaim, with critics praising the film for its cinematography and music. Critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called the film "...quite an improvement on Cooper's all but unreadable book, and a worthy successor to the Randolph Scott version," going on to say that "The Last of the Mohicans is not as authentic and uncompromised as it claims to be — more of a matinee fantasy than it wants to admit — but it is probably more entertaining as a result." However, some reviewers panned the film, such as The Washington Post's Desson Howe, who called the movie "glam-opera" and "the MTV version of gothic romance". Another reviewer, The Washington Post's Rita Kempley, recognized the heavy drama, writing that the film "sets new standards when it comes to pent-up passion", but commented positively on the "spectacular scenery".
The Last of the Mohicans is certified "Fresh" at the film site Rotten Tomatoes, with a positive rating of 97% (34 reviews out of 35 counted fresh).
The film won the Academy Award for Best Sound (Chris Jenkins, Doug Hemphill, Mark Smith, Simon Kaye).
American Film Institute recognition:
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains:
- Hawkeye - Nominated Hero
The film opened in the United States on September 25, 1992, in 1,856 theaters. It was the number 1 movie on its opening weekend. By the end of its first weekend The Last of the Mohicans had generated $10,976,661, and by the end of its domestic run the film had made $75,505,856. It was ranked as the 17th highest grossing film of 1992 in the United States.
- Siege of Fort William Henry
- "The Last of The Mohicans". Box Office Mojo. March 18, 2007. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Haskew, Mike (2006-09-01). "Star-Spangled Hawks Take Wing". 33. Blade Magazine. pp. 30–37.
- Roger Ebert (September 25, 1992). "The Last of The Mohicans". Chicago Sun-Times. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Desson Howe (September 25, 1992). "The Last of The Mohicans". The Washington Post. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Rita Kempley (September 25, 1992). "The Last of The Mohicans". The Washington Post. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Rotten Tomatoes (March 18, 2007). "Freshness count". Rotten Tomatoes. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
- "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. 1992-10-06. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- Fox, David J. (1992-10-06). "Box Office Hasn't Seen the Last of 'Mohicans". The Los Angeles Times. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- "1992 Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. class="reference-accessdate">. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
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- The Last of the Mohicans at Box Office Mojo
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