Posted by Vita on August 07, 1998 at 19:07:51:
A favorite scene shot beautifully...
comes when Uncas is climbing up the rocky hill to rescue Alice. There is a shot taken by the cameraman above him (or ahead of him) and one can see Uncas' hands reaching from rock to rock, from branch to branch. Even before I knew he was a guitar player and wood carver, I had noticed that his hands were graceful. Mann must have chosen that shot from among many, and it's a credit to his directorial eye, for it's an eloquent depiction of the character's substantial physical effort, and terrible anxiety to reach his girl.
Today, after having studied his spirit mask for two weeks, I noticed his hands again, and thought, indeed there is an artist's hands.
But there is one question about the final cliff scene that makes me wonder: did he not make his move prematurely? OK, the passage way and the path were narrow, and he figured he'll take on Magua's men (quite a lot of them judging by the shots showing his party) one by one. Clearly, they were just too many, how could he have thought of annihilating them all? After that long, difficult pursuit, he was already exhausted, and after felling ... how many of the warriors? three, four? with physically demanding hard blows... No wonder then that the more experienced Magua, who'd been climbing in relative comfort, no anxiety for him, since he was on his way to his village with his captive secured... got the best of him.
So, why would Uncas, who's clearly as intelligent as he is skilled, and judging from the scene where he makes his quiet farewells with Alexandra lying dead in the field (remember how gently he touches her as he bids her goodbye, so to speak) is able to control his emotions, decide he could wipe out Magua and his men singlehandedly?
I watched the timelapse between his death and his father's arrival on the scene - Uncas must have been quite a bit ahead of his father, thus he could not have counted on his immediate help. And surely he knew that Hawkeye, trailing them with Cora, could not have moved as swiftly as he had been.
Did he misjudge the odds? Or did he take a deliberate chance, saying 'give me death or give me Alice's liberty?'
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