I'd like to start the second installment of Motion History by thanking everyone for all their positive feedback! There's no better feeling than knowing people enjoyed reading something as much as you enjoyed writing it, particularly since I feel as though I didn't even give the topic justice!
I've had a lot of requests to tackle particular movies. Believe me, I'm making a list, and we'll tackle it together. Your favorite will be coming. With so much enthusiasm, I feel as though this week's selection may let a lot of people down. But I was trying to avoid the personal temptation of picking something medieval, and I was inspired by TCM devoting a month to portrayals of Native Americans on film. I thought I'd chip in with a discussion of Michael Mann's The Last of the Mohicans, a film that walks the weird line between history, stereotype and authenticity.
It's 1757, and America is caught in the middle of the French-Indian War. (The Seven Years War if you're European.) Chingachgook (Russell Means), his son Uncas (Eric Schweig) and his adopted white son Nathanial "Hawkeye" Poe (Daniel Day-Lewis) remain independent of the conflict, though their friendships with British settlers find them aligning with General Webb and the British forces of Fort William Henry.
Those British forces include Col. Edward Munro. A widower with two daughters Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May), he sends word that he'd like them to come to Fort William Henry. Cora and Alice, eager to see the frontier and all of its wild men, set out, guarded by Magua (Wes Studi), Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) and a detachment of English soldiers.