Essay

Last of the Mohicans

Essay title: Last of the Mohicans

As for the historical part of the movie, I think it is accurate in the sense of the fighting style of the English. The "proper" way of war might be fine in Europe, but against the Indians, standing in a line with bright red coats is not the way to win. "…the soldiers' uniforms splendid – though (and that's a historic fact) idiotically ornate and impractical for warfare. It wasn't until about 1916 that the British and the French saw the light and stopped wearing all that Day-Glo, easy target colors" (Prof. Jahiel). For example, at the beginning of the movie, Magua killed one soldier marching in the line, and the guy next to him didn't even do anything until the commander said to attack. They would also fire at the same time, leaving the whole squad vulnerable to attack while they reloaded. By fighting in this manner, it allowed the Indians to fight much more strategically. They would fire muskets three at a time, so they could stop an oncoming rush while the others reloaded. The Indians also took advantage of the English firing scheme. After the whole squad of English soldiers fired their muskets, the Indians would rush in with axes and knives, then fall back. This strategy would allow just a few Indians to take out a relatively large number of English. "The British, we learn by the proof in the pudding, are inept warriors, and lousy tacticians…Plus, they're seemingly accurately described, both from the point of view of the historian and political correctness" (Prof. Jahiel).

I also think the film did a good job with the weapons used throughout the movie. The spears, bows, axes, and muskets look authentic enough for me. The one weapon that I couldn't recognize was the axe-type club that was used by Hawk-eye's father. I found this to be a remarkable weapon, used very skillfully. Also Hawk-eye gets his name from his skill with a musket. He always seems to have a gun when he needs it, and he never misses. Another thing that caught my attention was the canoes used in the river chase scene. I'm not sure if this was an accurate representation of what the Indian canoes looked like, but they were very pleasing to the eye, especially if they were make with the crude tools the Indians had to work with. As for people, places and actions, I think the film is mostly historically accurate because "His [Mr. Mann, director] dedication to historical accuracy is not only admirable, it makes Mohicans a convincing experience — and a great-looking historical epic" (Alex Patterson). Professor Jahiel states that the old forts, cannons, and encampments are all painstakingly genuinized.

I think the central action or event would be the lives of Hawk-eye and Magua. The English and the French were responsible for the war, which brought them together, but as enemies. "The war creates a myriad of conflicts — military, personal, tribal and romantic. In addition to rival Waddington, Day-Lewis must contend with Stowe's patriotic father, fort commander Maurice Roeves. He must also defeat bellicose Wes Studi (as the infamous Huron Indian, Magua), who has a blood account to settle" (Desson Howe). As for the history part of the movie, I think it was accurate in.