by Jack Nilan            EMail :

Last of the Mohicans (1936)

Jack   B+

IMDB    6.9

Tribe(s) : Huron / Mohican

Language : English



   This was not a bad movie considering that it was made in 1936. It has some good scenes, particularly of the Huron village. Randolph Scott makes a good Hawkeye but the actors playing Chingachgook and Uncas just say silly things like "He's got squaw fever."

  The movie is dated in its use of broken English for the Indians. "Me Magua, scout. Come to see big white chief Monroe." "Magua great warrior. Big white chief Monroe whip Magua like a dog." We also have Chingachgook saying, "Ottawa like Huron, no good. Burn, kill paleface. Slow death."

   The movie doesn't have any character development for Magua unlike the 1992 remake. Magua isn't portrayed as a patriot here. He is acting purely to avenge himself on Monroe for the whipping he received. The whole angle of Magua as a hero is missing in this version and the movie suffers for it. The movie was typical for the period in that there was no character development for the Indians. The Indians were mostly used as an element used to frighten the viewer. Magua and his Hurons with the their mohawk hair style are pretty scary.

   One interesting aspect of the movie is to see how English and Colonial relations begin to break down during this war. The English felt that the colonists were there to be used serving England while the colonists were more interested in their own communities.

   The movie is one of the first in a long line of movies where a white man is inserted in to a native culture and becomes a "super" native. We see this story line in Tarzan, The Phantom, The Last Samurai, Dances with Wolves and Avatar. The white man gets dropped in to a culture and emerges as a sort of super native.

Overall the movie was pretty good. The early positive portrayal and Uncas and Chingachgook is especially important in the development of the representation of Native Americans on film but they did have to be balanced by the "bad" Indians. The 1992 remake is much better, but this movie is still interesting to see.