Cue the soundtrack, cause this is Debra Marvin reporting from the wild frontier known as New York.
The Last of the Mohicans – At least ONE part was right.
Uncas, the Last of the Mohicans really did die in the book.
Of course, my brain tells me then that Chingachgook (dad) was really the Last of the Mohicans and was that what the author meant?
During the last year, I’ve made a point to catch up on "the classics" by listening to as many as possible on Audiobook.
Always a nut for history, and New York State history at that, my most recent choice was James Fenimore Cooper’s LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Sure I’ve seen the movie countless times, and let it play in the background of my life just this past month. Cooper is considered one of the first real American authors and his Leatherstocking Tales even lent its name to a ‘tourist’ region of New York State (The Leatherstocking Region).
Imagine my surprise when my narrator started to get it wrong.
Well, that’s how it felt.
Lt. Duncan Heyward wasn’t pressing Cora Munro to marry him. Then they got that "behind the waterfalls scene" all out of order. Hawkeye was middle-aged, but you’ll be glad to know that Magua was just as nasty in the book as in the movie. Okay maybe not that nasty. Golly Wes Studi can do one mean meanie!
So, am I reviewing the book or the movie here?
Neither. I’m tossing out the gauntlet instead. Yes, shoot me! (By the way, did Hawkeye ever mention his long rifle by name in the movie? Because he is just a bit obsessed with Kildeer in the book)
MY POINT IS... I was disappointed by the book after thinking I knew the story…at least the movie’s version. And I used to think the fact it was filmed in North Carolina was bad!
Seriously. It was pretty much like a whole new plot. If you read it before you saw the movie, what did you think? OR, like me, did you read the book after the movie and wonder how Cooper got it all so wrong?
Hollywood’s LAST OF THE MOHICANS was gritty, compelling and completely romantic if you could get past all the tomahawk business (and oh my... that soundtrack!)
As readers, we often complain that “the movie wasn’t as good as the book.”
I guess I’ll leave it at this--I can probably list 20 plot points that differed from book to movie. My apologies to Mr. Cooper, but I don't think you would have sold that book in today's market but then we'd never have this awesome movie.
Deb's Cliff Notes:
Natty Bumppo aka Hawkeye aka Daniel Day Lewis aka "The Scout" aka Long Rifle, is a white man who has excelled in the Indian world (or to be politically correct, the aboriginal/First People's world.) During the French and Indian War aka the Seven Years War, Hawkeye and his friends, the last Two Mohicans get tangled up in the mess between the French forces and their Huron allies and the English forces and their allies (who were really just trying to stay neutral) Bad things happen when Colonel Munro at Ft William Henry up on Lake Champlain has to face a French Siege with no help from the fort down the road and Worse things happen when his two daughters choose that week to visit.
From there on the movie and book part ways. Suffice to say, the book is mostly about Cooper's 'good guys' trying to save the Munro girls from Wes Studi. Some people die.
True historical fact. Colonel Munro's forces had to surrender after a thirteen day siege and when the French forces under Montcalm prohibited their Huron allies from taking scalps and goods from the defeated force (after a lot of effort to win the fort) they (the Huron) took matters into their own hands and attacked the "under white flag of truce" English as they dragged themselves to the next fort.
Any thoughts on this movie/book debacle? Have you seen this happen in other movies, and did it just bug the heck out of you or were you okay with the screenplay's take on things?