One of Michael Mann’s most beloved films, this is the most recent and most enduring of ELEVEN screen adaptations of the historical fiction novel by James Fenimore Cooper, and it takes us to a war we seldom see depicted elsewhere in cinema: The French and Indian War in North America.
It follows the journey of the last members of the vanishing Mohican people as they venture through the breathtaking forests and mountains of Northeastern North America in 1757, while Britain and France fight for control of the continent.
Their progress is halted when they come to the aid of British troops and find themselves escorting a pair of sisters through some of the most notorious battles of the entire war, hounded by a Huron warrior who is bent on exacting revenge on their father, a British Colonel.
At once a great adventure, sweeping romance, and epic war film, the simple plot is carried by a sublime score, some incredible set design, and the legendary performances of a powerhouse cast, all set against a complex and layered historical backdrop.
Today we have a very special guest on the show: author, philosopher, and Native-American history professor Daniele Bolelli, host of the popular podcasts History on Fire and The Drunken Taoist. He’s here to help us separate the historical from the not-so-historical, and tell us why this is one of his favorite films.
*We recommend the theatrical cut of this film (112 mins), not very accessible but available for purchase on ebay or as a region B disk (Australia) on amazon. Make sure your disk player can read region B. Most other places (including streaming), you can find the Director's Definitive Cut (114 mins).
Next Episode: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
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