Re: Celts, Mohicans, and Anglo-Saxons

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Posted by Mike Zeares on October 31, 1997 at 04:17:55:

In Reply to: Re: Celts, Mohicans, and Anglo-Saxons posted by Tom Kilbane on October 30, 1997 at 21:20:05:

: LOTM was not made to inform but to entertain. Mann wanted to provide a romantic picture of the past and create a throwback to the swashbuckler movies of the 1930's. If details such as the British artillery officers wore blue instead of red (Mann was quite aware of this detail along with many others since well-meaning reanactors informed him of this) and these details conflicted with the romantic picture Mann was trying to relate then those details were ignored. In LOTM the British wear red, the French wear white, and the Indians have "mohawk" haircuts just the way people imagined they did. As I said above, films are works of fiction. If, by chance, they use a story to tell us a greater truth about ourselves and our past then they have succeeded as art. If they give us a momentary diversion and make us smile or tug at our heart, then they have succeeded admirably at what they are-- popular entertainment. I think Mann created a wonderful romantic picture of the past and as entertainment his film triumphed on most levels.

I think this is a perfect analysis of the film. For what it's worth, my American History professor loved LOTM. But then, he's not the stuffy ivory tower type. You are right on about the film giving us what we expect. The first time I saw it the audience chuckled when the British company starts marching through the woods. I heard "Braddock" floating around the theater. _Everyone_ knows what happens to Redcoats who march in straight lines! As a history buff, I was very impressed by the attention to detail, without being anal about it. I let the romance of the film sweep me away, while still noticing things like uniform facing colors and what-have-you. I liked the way the script touches on themes such as budding American resentment at English arrogance. Our knowledge of what was coming in 20 years gives Jack Winthrop's speech even more power. It's what we expect an American settler to say, never mind the fact that 1/3 of the population during the Revolution were Loyalist. Well, I'm rambling now, so I'll just stop.

Mike (being part Scot, I also loved "Braveheart." I also loved Col. Munro's accent: "What're ye doing here, gels?")

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