Don’t watch The Last of the Mohicans—Read it

Last night I did what I should not: watched a bad movie based on a great book. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper is a novel about friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, honor, race and family. The movie is not much any of that.

In the movie version with Daniel Day-Lewis, the director, Michael Mann, took a tomahawk to Cooper’s book.

Michael Mann downplayed the character of Uncas—who’s only the last of the Mohicans from which the story gets its title—into mere moccasin prints. Mann assassinated the characters of Heyward and Colonel Munro by transforming them from honorable men into tyrants. He invented a love story between Hawkeye (Natty Bumppo) and Cora and made it the focus of the story; removed Cora’s unrequited love for Hayward, as well as Hayward’s love for Alice and Magua’s desire for Cora. Mann disappeared David altogether, killed off characters that survive in the book and deleted a murder that leads up to the climax. Mann eliminated all the humor and most of the native tribe and the woodmen lore that enriches Cooper’s novel. Mann even did the unthinkable: he cut out the bear suit scene.

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About Robert Moss

I write ads: traditional, non-traditional, interactive, edutainment, story-based, broadcast, and experiential marketing events. Sometimes I write about ads and the business of advertising. Sometimes I write about other stuff. The views expressed here are solely my own and don't reflect the views of my employers. I also published a novel called Descending Memphis that's getting great reviews on Amazon. see http://www.amazon.com/Descending-Memphis-Robert-R-Moss/dp/0692364226
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2 Responses to Don’t watch The Last of the Mohicans—Read it

  1. Kevin Provost says:

    You and I agree that the movie was terrible. I think the director was partly to blame, but I think the book is the real problem. I hesitated leaving a comment that just says, “I hate Cooper,” but decided it added some value if, at least, I linked you to Mark Twain’s scathing and hilarious critique of his writing: http://goo.gl/v7nsC

    • Robert Moss says:

      Kevin, thank you for the comment. Yes, I’m aware Twain was no fan. But Natty Bumppo’s impossible feats are part of what makes The Last of the Mohicans enjoyable (I have not read The Deerslayer). I’m surprised Twain didn’t pick on The Pilot, Cooper’s novel that launched the American maritime genre. It’s a guppy alongside Moby Dick, published 23 years later, and not just in size.

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