“The Last of the Mohicans” is a silent film adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel of the same name, released in 1920. The film was directed by Maurice Tourneur and starred Wallace Beery, Barbara Bedford, and Albert Roscoe.
The story is set during the French and Indian War in 1757 and follows the journey of the Mohican chief Chingachgook (Albert Roscoe), his son Uncas (Tote Du Crow), and the white trapper Hawkeye (Harry Lorraine) as they escort the British colonel Munro’s daughters, Cora (Barbara Bedford) and Alice (Lillian Hall), to safety through the dangerous wilderness of upstate New York.
Along the way, they encounter various obstacles, including an ambush by French soldiers and their Huron allies, and the betrayal of the treacherous Indian Magua (Wallace Beery), who seeks revenge against Munro’s family. In the end, Chingachgook and Uncas give their lives to save Cora and Alice, while Hawkeye avenges their deaths by killing Magua.
The film was notable for its stunning cinematography, which captured the beauty and grandeur of the American wilderness, as well as its portrayal of Native American characters as complex and nuanced individuals, rather than one-dimensional stereotypes. It was also one of the earliest examples of a feature-length film with a synchronized music score, which added to the emotional impact of the story.
Overall, “The Last of the Mohicans” remains a classic of early American cinema and a testament to the enduring appeal of Cooper’s novel.
Clarence Brown, Maurice Tourneur
James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Dillon
Wallace Beery, Barbara Bedford, Alan Roscoe