by Jack Nilan            EMail :

The Deerslayer (1957)

Jack   C

IMDB    5.4

Tribe(s) : Huron, Mohican

Language : English



   Lex Barker, who played Tarzan, takes on the of the Deerslayer, Natty Bumppo, from James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking series.
In the first scene Natty kills a deer and then Chingachgook throws his hatchet and kills a Huron who was taking aim at Natty. They then save save trader Harry Marsh from the Hurons.
Chingachgook walks in to the Mohican camp with the deer and says to the people. "Did you think our brother the Deerslayer would let us starve?" Easily one of the most condescending scenes in film, supposing the Indians didn't know how to hunt and had to be saved by the great white hunter. Lex Barker's role is very much like his Tarzan role, except it's on a different continent.
Deerslayer next meets Tom Hutter and his two daughters, Hetty and Judith, who live on a floating house on the river. Old Tom hates Indians and has a cannon on his river fort. Harry tells Deerslayer that Old Tom hasn't been the same since his wife has killed and scalped by Hurons.
We then find out that Old Tom is catching the Hurons in beer traps, and then scalping them. The Hurons attack the house boat, trying to get the scalps back, but Tom, Harry, Deerslayer, Chingachgook and the girls hold them off. Old Tom has to jump off the boat to escape and the Hurons follow. They capture Old Tom and take him to shore.
Harry doesn't want to help rescue Tom, he wants his gold. Deerslayer wants to use the scalps to rescue Old Tom. Hetty finds the family Bible and finds out that she was an Indian, adapted by Old Tom. Deerslayer and Chingachgook go to ransom Tom with the scalps, but Harry has removed them. Hetty swims to shore to warn them.
Tom is tied to a pole with fire under him and the Hurons dance around him. Deerslayer tells the Hurons he will return scalps to them. When the Hurons find the scalps are missing they are going to put Deerslayer and Chingachgook through th gauntlet. Tom breaks free, and Hawkeye and Chingachgook begin shooting Hurons. Harry brings a cannon from the house, and helps fight off the Hurons.
Harry and Judith head to Albany, and Deerslayer, Chingachgook and Hetty head for the Mohican camp.
A movie that never showed, or cared about the Native point of view. They were used purely as force of nature to create fear in the audience.
Not very well done, could have been much better.