Posted by Gayle on July 21, 1998 at 15:14:06:
In Reply to: Re: Did anyone else notice this? posted by Katherine on July 21, 1998 at 11:46:47:
: : Did anyone notice that Chingachgook doesn't speak English during the whole movie, but at the end, when he is praying for Uncas, his prayers are in English. I'm not saying that is wrong, I think that it makes the scene much more powerful when he says the words instead of having them appear on the bottom of the screen, I just thought that was interesting.
: The element that Spielberg used in AMISTAD was to have that actor say his speech in the native tongue. That was a powerful statement.
: To my thought it might have been in a similar way quite powerful to have Chingagook say the prayer for Uncas in the proper tongue but that would mean most viewers would have no clue what he was saying. Then we would have to read it as sub-titled.
: Well I guess to balance it out so that at least we could understand Chingagook's prayer and FEEL the emotion in it as well then it was ok to have the prayer in English. But of course it would be much more true to life if it was spoken in the native tongue.
: But as films go we've had many people from different nationalities speaking English though their character is supposed to only know their one native language.
To everybody on this really interestingThread:
The language problem was something Cooper struggled with all the way through his books, but it's not so easy to get around in a movie. Cooper sort of (unsatisfactorily in my estimation) kept explaining that the conversation was conducted in the native tongue, but since most people were not conversant with the North American native tongues, he would attempt to retain the character of the individual dialects and personalities while rendering the meaning clear, etc. etc. It was cumbersome to say the least. He did indicate that the eloquent gestures and pantomimes of the Indians made their meaning clear often when their words could not be understood, but that was also impossible to depict to the reader. The movie could give real scope and feeling to the flow and inflection of the Indian tongue, and I think Mann used it as freely as he could. Didn't you have more of a sense of the true Indian character when you listened to an Indian being HIMSELF instead of being pseudo American? No question that Chingachgook's final prayer was significant enough to need the complete attention of the audience, so probably rendering it in English was best, but imagine how eloquent it would have been in the Delaware language! How sad we can't have it both ways.
Gayle (signing her post as a good student of Posting 101 should)
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