Last of the Mohicans: Movie vs. the Book

December 30, 2009


This Christmas I got the soundtrack to Last of the Mohicans and ever since I have been unable to stop thinking about the movie.


I am a person who loves to compare and contrast- to point out what has been left out, added in and so forth. I have read The Last of the Mohicans twice and have watched the movie a thousand times, and I can tell you there are significant differences between the book and the movie.


I am not trying to turn you off from watching the movie, but in my opinion, it doesn't follow the book at all. There are major differences that I would like to point out to you all that I think are very important points to know. Most of these points involve Cora, Hawkeye, Uncas and Alice, all of whom have been given a character identity crisis!
1) Cora and Hawkeye are not lovers-If you have read, or attempted to read the whole Leather Stocking Tales by James F. Cooper, you will learn that Hawkeye will never have an emotional relationship to any of the major female characters he comes in contact with.
Cora is half black and half white and holds no attraction to Hawkeye, instead she is attracted to Uncas (a interracial attraction) in a very subtle way, it is almost unrecognizable unless you are looking for it specifically.


The movie depicts Cora and Hawkeye to be infatuated with each other, and this does make for a great movie when the two main characters are in love. It's exciting. Yet, this is simply not true to the purpose of the book.
2) Uncas and Alice are not lover either- in fact, Uncas is in love with Cora. Uncas belongs solely to the Last of the Mohicans... no other book in the Leather Stocking Tales has Uncas in them because, as some of you know, he dies to revenge Cora who is killed by the evil Huron Native named Magua. See the fatal attraction?
Alice is a quiet girl who is very much a "daddy's girl". She isn't mentioned like all of the other characters are. She is to me, a background character, who does more to impact the book with her silent ways than she would if she played a major roll in the book.


There is nothing going on between Alice and Uncas in the book-sorry!
3) The scenes in the movie are all screwed up. Hawkeye never tells Cora "I will find you". Nor does he flatter her with the heart wrenching words as she asks him:
Cora: "What are you looking at, sir?"
Hawkeye: "I'm looking at you, miss. "
Or
Cora: "They're going to hang you. Why didn't you leave when you had the chance?"
Hawkeye: "Because what I'm interested in is right here."


The glade scene isn't as romantic as it's made out to be. On the contrary, it is very cold, frustrating and lonely. Some scenes are very similar to the book, yet, as we all know, Hollywood likes to put their spin on everything. They leave somethings out and add other parts in and then exclude things all together! What a crazy world of entertainment we are infatuated with! It's how they roll I guess.
4) In the book, Uncas doesn't grasp Alice in his arms, as he keeps her from peeking through the waterfall. It never happened.
As a avid book reader and a huge fan of Last of the Mohicans, I can tell you that, even though watching the movie gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes, I can't help but be disappointed that it doesn't stick to the book.


You can thank Hollywood for putting their own twist on this classic. However, I understand the need to "spice" things up by romanticising the idea of the French and Indian war and rustic frontiers men such as Hawkeye. I just can't help but wonder what the movie would be like if they had stuck to the book verbatim. I guess I will never know.

4 comments

  1. That is my favorite movie EVER!!
    I love the book as well, but I like the movie even better (though the book made me cry, too =)
    But the movie...
    *happy sigh*
    I'm totally happy with what they did with it.

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  2. I agree Emily! Last of the Mohicans is my all-time favorite movie and I was amazed how different it was from the book! I enjoy them both as their own DIFFERENT stories. I just don't try to make them the same thing.

    Happy New Year!
    Cassie

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  3. Believe it or not, I saw the movie The Last of the Mohicans for the first time last night. I stumbled across this blog post in my quest for more!

    Since you love both the movie and books, have you read Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness series? They're written loosely as sequels to the movie (Nathaniel 'Hawkeye' Poe becomes Dan'l 'Hawkeye' Bonner, with a son, Nathaniel Bonner). I actually read Donati's books first, and I wish she'd write a pre-quel, to further flesh out the love story that we glimpsed in Last of the Mohicans.

    I understand your frustration with Hollywood creating new things out of old ones, though. I love Practical Magic, the book and the movie, but they have next-to-nothing in common. It's easier to just view them as completely separate entities.

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  4. I always thought Cooper meant well. Making Cora Black and the saying it shouldn't matter (in a discussion between Duncan and Monroe) was pretty daring for its day.Then again, Uncas and his father are pretty much stereotypes in the book.They spend a lot of time with there arms crossed, grunting "hugh"" which became "ugg" in later westerns. Also, in the book Magua only wants revenge because Monroe had him beaten out of the fort for drunkenness.

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