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Last of the Redmen
Last of the Redskins

USA 1947
produced by
Sam Katzman for Columbia
directed by George Sherman
starring Jon Hall, Michael O'Shea, Evelyn Ankers, Julie Bishop, Buster Crabbe, Robert 'Buzz' Henry, Rick Vallin, Guy Hedlund, Frederick Worlock, Emmett Vogan, Chief Many Treaties
screenplay by Herbert Dalmas, George H. Plympton, based on Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, music by Irving Gertz

Last of the Mohicans, Hawkeye, Deerslayer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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1757, the French and Indian War: Major Heyward (Jon Hall) is to escort the two daughters (Evelyn Ankers, Julie Bishop) and one son of General Munro (Guy Hedlund) to Fort William Henry, but they are lured into an ambush by their native guide Maguas (Buster Crabbe), an Iroquois secretly in league with the French - but luckily they are saved by Hawkeye (Michael O'Shea) and his sidekick, the Mohican Uncas (Rick Vallin). From now on though, Heyward, the young Munros, Hawkeye and Uncas are on the run from the Iroquois, who are not likely to give up their would-be captives easily. First, our heroes hide out on an island and manage to fend off the Iroquois for the longest time, but then Heyward is wounded, and Hawkeye considers it best to let the Iroquois capture him and the Munros, with Hawkeye and Uncas waiting in the wings to save them at a later date. This succeeds because the Iroquois are apparently tricked by the simplest of tricks. 

Hawkeye, Uncas, Heyward and the Munro kids then meet up with General Munro and his troops, who were forced to give up Fort William Henry, and together they manage to ward off the Iroquois until Uncas returns with reinforcements - which he can only do after battling Magua to death. Ultimately, Uncas returns with the reinforcements, but dies doing so ...

 

One of the lesser adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's novel, and maybe the most childish and sanitized one, as this one doesn't even try to offer an authentic picture of the period it's set in, instead it offers a decisive war in American history as a sort of adventure park, where good is good, evil is evil, a man is a man, a boy is a boyscout, and a woman is ... something irritable that cannot be trusted with the simplest of tasks, but they'll always fall to a man's feet in the end. Also, when characters are on a run for their lives, it feels like a stroll through the woods with plenty of time for banter, and Indians always fall for the simplest tricks even a schoolboy can think of. Overall, the thing is also so boiled down from its original content (and not only for budgetary reasons) that the French and Indian war does hardly factor in its basic narrative, and the actual fate of the Indians seems to be totally removed from the story (as is one of the novel's main Indian characters, Chingachgook), making the whole movie, yes, basically a stroll through the woods ... errr, a chase from here to there with no real purpose. And even the very sporadic (and very mild) moments of sexual tension are so toned down it's almost embarrassing (even for a kiddie movie). Instead way too much emphasis is put on the schoolboy co-hero, who's apparently supposed to be an identification figure for the kid audience but who's rather annoying throughout.

The sanitized version of the West is mirrored in the film's directorial effort, that shows a squeaky-clean image of the frontier, where all uniforms remain white as can be throughout, death scenes are always faded out or they look so awkward they could be anything, and the whole thing remains disappointingly flat, even considering the film's obvious low budget.

Acting-wise, Jon Hall at least lives up to his expectations (which is not saying very much), Michael O'Shea is doing quite alright by giving Hawkeye an unmistakable Irish accent, and Buster Crabbe does surprisingly well as evil Indian - while Rick Vallin just looks ridiculous as Uncas. As for Julie Bishop and Evelyn Ankers - their roles are just too bland to breath any life into them - in other words, they didn't have a fighting chance.

In all, this is best described as a disappointment - but at least a disappointment that's forgotten in a day or two ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

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