Re: 5th Anniversary of LOTM

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Posted by Myrrh on October 02, 1997 at 18:21:13:

In Reply to: Re: 5th Anniversary of LOTM posted by Sarah on September 29, 1997 at 16:39:23:

: Five years ago, this movie affected me so deeply that I returned again and again to absorb as much as I could... to "own" the words and images that reminded me what strength, courage, honor and character could (and should) mean. Sad, but true, that at 36 I was in search of a role model. I didn't know it when I walked into the theater that Friday afternoon five years ago, but when DDL portrayed Hawkeye in LOTM, there was no doubt. I am, and will forever be, grateful.

: - Sarah

Well put, Sarah. I cherish the memory I have of the first viewing in the theatre...when I entered and sat down in the semi-darkness, as if in church, not expecting anything in particular. I was there simply because I'd always been drawn to this tale somehow, in spite of the fact that the book was very difficult to read, and every dramatization I'd ever seen had always fallen short. There was something in the CONCEPT of Hawkeye, in the reverence for Chingachgook and Uncas, that fascinated and drew me...looking, as you say so honestly, for a role model, a hero in the best sense of the word; something, someone to feel good about. So I was there in hopes of finding a little of that. I would have been content had that happened.

What happened went far beyond that. The film took hold of me, drew me in and enfolded me, from the very first moment - the blackened screen with gracefully rendered red-orange letters giving the barest, most essential information: the year (yes, I'm there); the situation - impending war (struggle, courage, love, grief); the people (3 men, the last of a vanishing race, are on the frontier! chills run through me); the drums, the low droan of strings pulling my emotions even before I understand what is happening to me. At this point understanding no longer matters...I just want to feel it, to feel it all. It's going to be beautiful, passionately, wrenchingly, painfully beautiful.

Then the rolling as of thunder through a valley, the rise and crash as the screen fills with the overwhelming majesty of wilderness mountains, mist-covered and beyond beauty, and those graceful, dignified letters again, only now they blend with the blue-grey of the mountain atmosphere, and they speak the sacred title of the tale, loaded with emotion and significance. My eyes are filled with tears and there's about a ton of pressure in my throat and chest. The music now becomes sweet, almost bittersweet, caressing. Then the last plaintive note drifts off into silence, leaving us suspended, ready for the next vision.

Suddenly we are alongside a pair of men running, running fast through the forest, desperation, determination concentrated in their faces. They are so deft at navigating on foot at this great speed, through the brush, over the mounds and exposed tree roots, dodging stray limbs in their path, climbing, then careening down suddenly, maintaining balance in the face of tremendous physical effort. We're already filled with admiration for them.

I won't go further right now, but this was the beginning of my first experience in that quiet, darkened theatre, looking up at that huge screen, falling desperately in love with a work of art. (I returned to the theatre many times, losing count at 12.)

And, on this anniversary of its release, I, like Sarah and the rest of us, am forever grateful. This movie means more to me than I can ever express.


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