As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
The last members of a dying Native American tribe, the Mohicans -- Uncas, his father Chingachgook, and his adopted half-white brother Hawkeye -- live in peace alongside British colonists. But when the daughters of a British colonel are kidnapped by a traitorous scout, Hawkeye and Uncas must rescue them in the crossfire of a gruesome military conflict of which they wanted no part: the French and Indian War.Written by
Maj. Duncan delivers a dispatch to Gen. Web. After he reads it, Gen. Web puts it completely rolled up and straight ahead in front of him. Subsequently it appears placed crosswise and a little open. See more »
1757 / The American colonies. / It is the 3rd year of the war between England and France for the possession of the continent. / Three men, the last of a vanishing people, are on the frontier west of the Hudson River.
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There are four to five versions of this film:
The approximately 3 hour version director Mann delivered to the studio in 1992 that was rejected and sent back for re-cut
The 112 minute Theatrical Release version shown om theaters in 1992 and on VHS
The 113 minute TV version shown by CBS with an added battle scene
The 117 minute 1999 "Directors Expanded Edition" version on standard DVD
The 114 minute 2010 "Definitive Directors Edition" on Blu-Ray and DVD
All HD versions of this film, be they BD or streaming, are the 114 minute version
The DVD "Director's Expanded version" contains several new shots/scenes that were added/deleted:
A new shot of Hawkeye walking towards Cameron's Cabin. He yelled "Hey, John Cameron!" Then he went outside the cabin (which was not shown in the original cut). The shot also had a different angle
An interior shot of the house contains more dialogue between a settler and an officer: Settler: "Any of the boys worth having' can disappear." Officer: "They will be found." Settler: "And where does that leave you?" . Magua also appears. Officer: "Those men will be found."
Cora says one more sentence to Duncan: "Alice and I have depended upon you and respected you since we were all children."
There is extended dialogue of Alice, Cora, and Duncan Duncan: "It can be dangerous." Alice: "Nonsense. Papa wouldn't have sent for us." Cora: "Would you like some tea?" Alice: "Yes, thank you."
A shot of the squad marching into the woods was added.
After telling Major Heyward that he ain't no scout, and ain't in no damn militia, Hawkeye's line "Clear it up any?" has been deleted.
At night in the burial ground, Hawkeye's line about his father saying "Do not try to understand them, and do not make them try to understand you, for they are a breed apart and make no sense," and Cora's response later have been deleted.
The dialogues: Cora: "A breed apart, we make no sense?" Hawkeye: "In your particular case, miss, I'd make allowance." Cora: "Thank you so much." have been deleted. Later the line "So we would know both worlds." was added as Hawkeye explained that his father was sent to school when he was 10. No time difference. Hawkeye also spoke that line in the German dubbing of the Theatrical cut.
Some new and extended shots of the Siege on Fort William Henry.
The dialogue "We just dropped in to see how you boys were doing." was deleted.
-Montcalm and an Indian were in a tent. Montcalm speaks longer and the following angle is different.
-The scene with Montcalm and Magua is slightly extended.
Newer shots of the British Army leaving the Fort are shown.
A new but very brief shot of the French cheering their victory while entering the Fort.
Hawkeye's statement to Major Heyward in the Fort, "Someday you and I are going to have a serious disagreement," has been removed.
A woman buzzes a song while stroking a man's head.
Hawkeye walks across the field and later, Cora closes a dead man's eyes.
A longer version of the Britsh surrender is shown. Colonel Munro and General Montcalm discuss political matters. Montcalm compliments Col. Munro for his resistance. Munro replies that he was soldier and that the Marquis didn't ask to meet for exchanging some compliments.
Montcalm tells Magua that he shared his pain. He stated: "My son Magua's pain is my pain." Later he said to Magua that he couldn't do anything. It has a different angle. Montcalm stated: But I cannot break the term of the surrender and sully the lilies of France.
The French squad marches to the Fortress.
-Col. Munro appears first earlier at the beginning of the shot before it points to Cora and Alice.
When escaping in the canoes Hawkeye's line "Got nothing better to do on the lake today, Major?" has been deleted.
Cora's lines behind the waterfall, "You've done everything you can do. Save yourself!" and "If the worse happens, and only one of us survives, something of the other does too," and the first part of Hawkeye's following speech have been deleted.
The whole "I will find you" sequence has been changed. The original had footage of Cora, Alice and Major Heyward being taken up a mountain. This sequence was accompanied by the song, "I will find you" by the Irish group, Clannad. In this version, the song is gone and the sequence is about thirty seconds longer. It has different shots of Hawkeye, his brother and Chingachgook running up the mountain and following the Huron War party. There are also beautiful shots of the group being led into the sunset and Hawkeye kept running.
The scene where Cora and Hawkeye were leaving the Huron village was added.
A quick shot of Major Heyward burning alive has been added but his screaming has been deleted in the rest of the shots. New shots of Uncas fighting the Huron and Magua have been added.
When Magua slits Uncas' throat, a new sound was digitally added.
When Chingachgook rolls under Magua, a new sound of the tomahawk swinging is heard.
When Chingachgook kills Magua, the pike from the battle ax is no longer shown impaling Magua. His bloody wound was not shown.
The scene where Cora fell into Hawkeye's arms while she was crying has been deleted.
There is a much longer version of the Uncas funeral scene. Chingachgook talks about the Frontier life and how it is changing.
This film, for reasons that are not completely obvious to me, struck a chord. It was in part the amazing location shots, partly the characters, partly the music and the action sequences. As for the (relatively) under-developed romance between the hero and heroine - all I can say is that the line that Hawkeye delivers when Cora Munro challenges this rough colonial who has the temerity to gaze upon her (a colonel's daughter) and says (essentially): 'Who are you looking at?' Hawkeye answers: 'You, Ma'am. I'm looking at you.' Priceless.
Interestingly, archeologists have recently excavated the site of Fort William Henry and discovered many interesting things, none of which contradict the events described by Fenimore Cooper. The attack on the defeated column in the woods also appears to be historically accurate.
This film, though imperfect, ranks with me as one of the best action movies of all time.
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