Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Last of the Mohicans |
BBC Masterpiece Theatre TV Mini-Series
Actors: Kenneth Ives, Philip Madoc, John Abineri, Richard Warwick, Andrew Crawford
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television
The definitive adaptation of the James Fenimore Cooper novel, this eight-part BBC production stars John Abineri, in an Emmy-nominated performance as the Mohican Indian Chingachgook, and Kenneth Ives as the intrepid frontie... more »
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The Best version of "Mohicans"
Jay Shelton | Texas United States | 01/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version of "Last of the Mohicans" originally aired via the BBC and PBS television through the excellent "Masterpiece Theater" series in 1971, and was encored in 1972. An 8-part series (each episode lasting approximately 50 minutes), this version is the closest to the original book; much closer than the widely popular Daniel-Day Lewis version theatrically released in 1992. This version has been long-sought after by collectors and lovers of "Last of the Mohicans" for years, as the rights to the series passed from the BBC several years ago. When I wrote the BBC directly several years ago, I was told that the series still did exist, but only in archival form and available to film directors and/or students that wished to preview the material in the UK. Those that wished to watch the series had to hope for a videotape set to surface from a collector or archival library edition.
Although the original Masterpiece Theater introductions by A. Cook are not included, it is highly recommended and well worth your money. Long thought scarce or lost as a production, this series contains all the elements of the original book, and does NOT change the ending, as per the 1992 theatrical version. As per the usual BBC way of producing series, the exterior shots were originally shot on film and the interiors on video. One can tell the difference between "outdoor" sets that were shot on sound stages vs. the truly outdoor shots, such as the massacre outside the fort, as well as the climatic battle between the Hurons and the Delawares. Expertly acted in every way by all cast members."
The Masterpiece Theater "Last of the Mohicans" - 1971-72
Joe E. Sheldon | 01/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is BY FAR the most authentic rendition for faithfulness to the J. F. Cooper novel and the music is stunning as well. In fact, the music was composed specifically for this miniseries and the composer of the music told me it was done with only two instruments - a flute that gave a nose flute sound-alike and a drum. He researched the type of music with some Indians living in the northern part of England by driving there in his MG (he said). He also did some of the music themes for a number of the early "Dr. Who" series.
The LOTM music, though, is both haunting and fitting to the theme of the story. The producer of the series (John McRae who actually won high-level entertainment industry awards (Emmy awards) for some of his other work (LOTM was nominated for an Emmy at its time but did not win) told me that he felt LOTM was actually his best work. I couldn't agree more. As I recall, the director now lives is New Zealand and he put me in touch with the composer of the music, Dudley Simpson.
Of interest is that the outdoor filming was largely done in the Scottish Highlands (the Glen Affric region) and as of a year or two ago there were still some photos of some of the sets used in those locales available via Google.
This rendition of the story is very much correct to the novel - even more so than the 1920s silent film which is perhaps the next closest version. It is an enthralling tale, well worth watching. In fact a few years ago I corresponded with the BBC representavive handling such things to see if they planned to release the title ... they did not. I attempted to work out a contract with the BBC to put the series onto DVD and distribute it and they sent contractual paperwork and what was supposed to be a review VHS copy of LOTM. The review tape sent,however, was the wrong one and the BBC seemed to then lose interest (or, quite possibly, realized that the series DID have some commercial appeal that they had not realized). If my efforts played any part of bringing the title to DVD I'm delighted and believe it was all worthwhile since it was not something I undertook with the profit motive motive in mind.
I'll greatly enjoy seeing it again!!!"
Not as good as I had hoped...
HardyBoy64 | Rexburg, ID United States | 03/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having just read the novel again, I had high expectations for this BBC miniseries from the early 1970's. The one positive element of the film is that is does indeed follow the novel quite closely, unlike the 1992 film with Daniel Day-Lewis. (Which, as a movie by itself, I like very much, but as a big fan of the novel, was shocked at how different it was.)
Several elements disappointed me about the miniseries. The very poor transition from indoor sets to the outside filming distracts the viewer because we're so used to seemless transitions in modern television. I understand that this was 30+ years ago but then again, "Star Wars" was 30 years ago and that looked realistic. Some of the sets looked like styrofoam.
Another problem that bothered me very much was the grouchy, unpleasant, scowling Colonel Munro. From the novel, one sees him as a loving and doting father whose heart is broken by the kidnapping of his daughters. In the miniseries, he hardly opens his eyes because he's constantly scowling. I didn't have a lot of sympathy for him in the film, and his grief over Cora's death is practically nonexistent. This is a big change from the novel and I didn't like it.
If you love the beautiful language of the novel, then don't expect that to translate onto film. Hawkeye's conversations about philosophic concepts seem stilted and unnatural in this miniseries.
This is worth watching once, especially if you love the novel like I do, but I'll be reaching for the novel before I pop this back into my DVD player.
The masterful 5.75-hour BBC mini-series seen on 1970s Master
jammer | Laramie, Wyoming United States | 04/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In James Fenimore Cooper's 140,000-word novel first published in 1826, half-sisters Cora and Alice are escorted through trackless wilderness forests teeming with hostile Indians to reach their father at British Fort William-Henry, under siege and threat of frontal attack by the French and their Huron Indian partisans. The time is 1757, the place upper New York State's lake country. Background events are historically accurate, the British armies fighting French army incursions from Canada, each side with Indian partisans. LOTM is one of five novels comprising Cooper's so-called Leatherstocking Tales, centering on Natty Bumppo (aka Hawkeye, Deerslayer, Pathfinder). Attempts to film this novel's riveting combination of American history, life-and-death drama, and action-adventure date back eighty-some years to silent films.
This BBC production never loses sight of, or respect for, Cooper's source material and characterizations. Perhaps twenty key events are dramatized in proper sequence. Search-party and life-inside-Fort-Edwards scenes are also added for background. Acting is uniformly superb; characterizations are as Cooper intended; and Dudley Simpson's haunting, understated flute and drum score, composed for this mini-series, seems ever more poignant as the drama progresses.
Exclusions are Hawkeye's Huron-camp bear sequence, many philosophical discourses (Cooper never allowing such opportunities to pass unused), most of Hawkeye's and Chingachgook's pursuit strategizing, and lots of linkage between events (making scene and time transitions abrupt). As Cooper based his backdrops on actual New York state locales, filming in England required cinematography simplifications while still preserving reasonable facsimiles of these backdrops. One can't find fault with these limited budget short-cuts: No effort to bring this novel to film, before or since, remotely approaches this production's accuracy, substance, emotional impact, and sheer entertainment.
It speaks volumes about the US media and their viewing culture that one must look to the British for a decent depiction of this classic and quintessential AMERICAN novel, the other four novels of this series having never been touched in any meaningful way. Where is Francis Ford Coppola when you need him?
Mann's 1992 film is quite good, but only when divorced from Cooper's work: It is not the story Cooper wrote, as anyone reading the novel or seeing this BBC production will discover. Mann's film-time constraints require butchering the novel's structure. Mann also adversely distorts Cooper's characterizations: Colonel Munro and Major Heyward (who survive in the novel) become abrasive and non-sympathetic; Uncas and Alice become pale shadows whose ultimate fate is of little concern. Cooper's Hawkeye is a SCOUT in British employ (NOT a settler or militia member), living the Indian way and eschewing white settlers' encroachments by later fleeing to the Kansas prairies. Cooper's Hawkeye was made prisoner only by hostile tribes, NEVER by the British! Mann's Hawkeye/Cora love interest is preposterously incompatible with the entire Leatherstocking saga! Cora's fate in the novel becomes Alice's instead, Cora surviving. The psalm-singer David has vanished. The screenplay for the 1936 film is listed as a principal credit. M*A*S*H is allowed to influence Hawkeye's name. Need more be said?
DVD picture-sound quality for this 5.75-hour 1971 BBC TV mini-series is fine. There are eight six-chapter 40-plus-minute episodes on two one-sided DVDs, the keep-case having an inner leaf. There is no Masterpiece Theatre commentary or any extras. Library of America offers (obtainable via Amazon.com and well worth the very reasonable price) a beautifully hardbound, ultra-compact two-volume set containing all five novels, highly recommended for serious libraries and readers seeking substantive entertainment.