Posted by Clabair on March 11, 1999 at 18:11:28:
In Reply to: Re: Who's Perspective? posted by Gayle on March 11, 1999 at 14:50:46:
: : : Hey! A fave subject of mine and Gayle's! This is my own opinion on the subject. Cooper wrote a novel that is a classic and covers, almost first-hand, what life was like in the 1700s. Unfortunately, what many consider to be a classic work, others consider to be a dry, rambling, old-fashioned bore. Filmmakers through the 20th Century have know that the title sells, but tend to think they can write a better story than that of Cooper's original. I look at Mann's version, and tend to see it as an ode to the '36 film version, and not a nod to Cooper's narrative. Mann's version is beautifully filmed and possibly accurate for the 1700s, but it isn't Cooper's vision. Pilgrim Penny.....
: Dear Pilgrim Penny,
: SO NICE to see you connected to the Web today! Good hearing from you.
: I do agree with you that a writer who is closer to a particular period of history has an ability to reflect the realities of the time more completely than someone who is looking back from the perspective of a couple of centries into the future. It seems to me that The Leatherstocking Tales were immensely devoted to presenting the social, cultural, political, religious and legal complexities faced by people in an environment of conflicting forces fighting for control of a continent. The trick in reading Cooper is to READ Cooper instead of scanning for the adventure and not hearing what he had to say. That said, it is very difficult to put oneself into the thinking patterns of another century, even if the context is rolled out in detail. A reader has to suspend his/her own differently-exposed perceptions and simply listen to what the writer says. Mann apparently didn't do that. He "ate the skin and left the meat, and then proceeded to tell us how the flavor of the animal could be improved".
"Ate the skin and left the meat". Good shot Gayle. Right between the eyes on that one. But like Champ stated, this is where the living historians step in. Many of the hard core take what we "think" we know, along with the artifacts, and to the best of our ability put ourselves in those situations for days and even weeks. Yes, many times we view it with our 20th century mind set and the only thing we can`t simulate is the fear of waking up with our throat cut and our hair gone. But we do come out of it with a better "understanding" of how it was. MM had many of us on the set for advisors and after rubbing elbows with the very knowlegable Mark Baker,(whom I think is the best) guess who gave himself credit because he now thought "HE" knew better? We do know much more today and the information is growing in leaps and bounds because of the computer. We will never know everything about the 18th or 19th centuries.
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