Posted by Gayle on July 29, 1999 at 20:18:08:
In Reply to: Re: The Character of Duncan posted by MMMMarcia on July 29, 1999 at 19:20:21:
: Leave it to you, Gayle, to get a thread going on one of my favorite characters from the movie. I can't comment on the Duncan Heyward of the book, as I haven't read that one...yet...but Michael Mann's Duncan is portrayed beautifully by Steven Waddington, I believe.
: There are those on this board who think Duncan a cad through and through, but I see him as a brave, though misguided, fellow, doing his best in a situation that is way beyond his ken. That's right...I saw it that way then, and I see it that way now. I truly believe Duncan was a man of honor and bravery, and that he loved Cora completely. Yes, he knowingly lied to Colonel Munro, but I think he weighed his options and believed he was acting in the best interests of the Crown.
: But any man who would go to the stake for his ladylove (when he could have let the Hurons take Hawkeye, as per Hawkeye's own request) can't be all bad. He knew Cora loved Hawkeye, and he also knew there was no way they were all leaving there alive, so he gave his life for her best chance of survival.
: As for Steven Waddington's portrayal, it was marvelous. A lot has been said on this board about Wes Studi's wonderful ability to convey great depth of feeling with a mere expression, and to be sure, he can. But let us not overlook that same ability on the part of Steven Waddington. You mention the canoes going over the waterfall...a perfect example. The look on his face as he approaches the fall registers shock, and then determination in rapid succession. But better still is the look of pleased surprise as his canoe lands & he realizes he has survived! Such brief moments that say so much.
: Two other examples that come to mind: the look of disgust and contempt when he lets General Webb know without too many words just what he thinks of negotiating with the Colonials; and the look of disbelief and utter dejection when Cora tells him her final answer must be no.
: I would really like to see him in another good role, and if anyone has info on anything he's involved with currently, I'd love to hear about it.
It strikes me that Mann made a serious attempt to have his characters act as real people would, which leads me to wonder why Duncan gave up so easily. It seems to me he would have tried to do something to regain Cora's attention and admiration, and instead, he did everything to alienate her further. For instance - Cora was the only one in the entire bunch that paid any attention to Alice's plight. Alice may have been a hopeless case, but Cora was determined to protect her. Every act and every thought was devoted to getting her sister through. I think Cora would have snatched the pistol for her own protection, but my impression was that her only thought when she took it was to better protect Alice. And it seems as if all the men - Duncan, the soldiers, everybody completely forgot about there being TWO women there to protect - it was everybody for himself until Hawkeye got there, and even he didn't give two hoots about Alice. It was only Cora that he was thinking about. So, wouldn't it have been reasonable for Duncan to leap to Cora's aid and at least make a show of helping Cora defend Alice?
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