Re: Questions

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Posted by Marcia on July 05, 1998 at 21:44:11:

In Reply to: Re: Questions posted by David S. on July 05, 1998 at 20:09:57:

David wrote:
: Hi, Erin! Regarding DWW - I thought it was unique in that it contained BOTH Hollywood stereotypes of Amerindians. The Cherokee were the "noble savages", whose culture is so spiritually complete that any sensitive white man would flee corrupt European civilization to live among them. That's the modern myth that we've come to expect from movies. The kicker in DWW is that the Crow are portrayed as typical old-fashioned murdering Hollywood redskins.
: Leave it to Costner to find two diametrically opposed ways to get the same thing wrong.

Hi, David.

Just have to put in my two cent's worth here. While I find LOTM a much less "simplistic" movie than Dances, and feel that Dances is geared for a much broader audience, I have to say I still think Dances With Wolves is a beautiful, if flawed, film. When comparing it to LOTM, I'm always interested in the way Dances is narrated very carefully, so that the audience doesn't have to think too much about the whys and wherefores of what's happening. While that type of narration is not necessary for we "Mohican" fans (of course!)who can think for ourselves, it is surely what helped make Dances so popular for other audiences. We just have to realize that it was done that way for a reason, and it succeeded in reaching large numbers of people, and making an impact that has to have helped public awareness of many issues.

As for Kevin Costner promoting "both" Hollywood stereotypes, he only filmed the book as written. And he did not film the Sioux as strictly the noblest people alive. Indeed, one scene that was cut from the final version showed Wind In His Hair leading a small band out to punish the hunters who had slain the buffalo for their hides & tongues. They killed them all, scalped them, and even brought back at least one of the men's hands as a trophy. This was the real reason John Dunbar didn't sleep with the Indians the night after they discovered the slaughter. He was very confused and upset at what he considered to be a bloodthirsty, if justified, revenge. I also don't feel that the "bad" Indians (they were actually Pawnee in the film) were meant to be seen as evil. It was explained that they were enemies of the Sioux, and always had been.

I DO, however, think the whites were depicted as being evil personified, and though I'm sure many were, it just would have been nice to have seen a few who were a little less hateful.

All in all, though, I like the film, in spite of its flaws, and I feel it was a good effort, well-intended, and probably one of the reasons people are much more aware of the plight of many Native Americans today.

Just my thoughts...

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