Re: Manns versus Cooper versus Dunne

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Posted by Kathy S on August 08, 1998 at 16:32:44:

In Reply to: Re: Manns versus Cooper versus Dunne posted by Rich on August 08, 1998 at 15:29:30:

: : Having read Cooper's novel, and finding so little about the relationships between the main characters to be the same as Mann's portrayal of these characters, I don't find it useful to use Cooper's writings in explaing the relationships we see in the film.

: It's like a butterfly that resembles very little the caterpillar that it was, but, it WAS a caterpillar!

: Fact is, Cooper wrote a story. Mann adapted it. Many of the basics are the same. It would be wrong to exclude Cooper's influence on what we see in the 1992 film. And, don't forget, there was a middle step in the evolution, Phillip Dunne's 1936 screenplay. Mann himself has said, and I quote, that the 1992 version "is 1/3 Cooper, 1/3 Dunne, & 1/3 original."

: However, even if you totally eliminate Cooper from the picture, surely a mortal sin when discussing HIS tale, "The Last Of The Mohicans" ... but even if you do, Alice, as MANN portrays her, is, to my mind, devoid of all semblances of strength. Suicide is weak, cliff battering or not. Apparantly, Alice felt the relative quickness of that death would be favorable to a life, or death, at the hands of the evil Magua. How much her "love" ... if indeed she was feeling any ... towards Uncas played into the picture is difficult to say. It should be noted, however, that even when Uncas was alive & well, Alice was totally non-resistant to pending death ...

: Color me a DOPE!

: A brief synopsis of the '36 film can be found at:

Dear Dope,
Oh, you said "color me a Dope", not, "call me a Dope". Sorry!
Kidding aside, I see your points about Cooper and don't dispute their value. But, you have not convinced me to change my mind. I said that I don't find the novel helpful in explaining the relationships we see in the film.I wouldn't dream of eliminating Cooper from the discussion. His book stands on it's own and has it's own merits.
For example, his writings do not help me understand Uncas and Alice. There was no love story at all between anybody in the book, just a love interest on Duncan's part for Alice. And I don't see that Mann "switched" Alice and Cora around, either. The circumstances of Cora's death were nothing like Alice's leap. When Mann took the characters, he literally rewrote their stories. To me, that is inevitable when you change relationships. Maybe, that is more of a female perspective. Mann created two love stories, one obvious and powerful,(Cora and Hawkeye) and the other strongly intimated(Uncas and Alice). The dynamic was so completely changed by Mann, that Cooper' characters are not helpful as a reference for the ones I saw in the film. So, using Cooper's weak Alice to explain Jodhi May's Alice doesn't work for me. If it helps others, great. I don't borrow what I read in the novel about the characters, and apply it to the film. I go by what I see on the screen. I don't see Alice as weak, and that may have to do with the fact that I disregard the Cooper Alice when I evaluate the Mann Alice.

Adamantly pro-Alice,
Kathy S

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