The Last Of The Mohicans (1972/BBC/Koch Vision/Mini-Series)
Picture: C†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: D†††† Episodes: B+
Mannís elaborate Daniel Day Lewis film version, James Fennimore Cooperís The Last Of The Mohicans was considered
just another old, boring book one read in school.† Despite its length, critical and commercial
success, the film still tended to throw out some of the book to focus on its
romance, which could still allow for the argument that the book was somehow
dated and parts might be worth skipping.†
However, there is a 1971 BBC TV mini-series version that is every bit as
good as any other adaptation.
Ives is Hawkeye in this case, but really making an impact is the great British
character actor Philip Madoc as Magua, who hits the nail on the head as the
villain of the piece.† He has played bad
guy before, including on some great episodes of The Avengers, but this is a literary classic and he uses just the
right temperament to pull it off.
of the cast is also very good, but the thing that really makes this hold up
besides Madoc is the ambition of the production to cover as much of the book as
possible and at a high literary level assuming the audience is one that loves
books or would by watching this version.†
Though the sets and costumes look somewhat dated now, this was an
expensive and expansive production for TV of any kind at the time and reflects
how great TV was at the time.† This was
the last golden age of British TV when they did just about everything right and
the rediscovery of this David Maloney-directed version of the classic, with its
Harry Green teleplay adaptation, is like a rare film being found.† Anyone serious about the book or who loved
the Mann/Day Lewis version will be pleasantly surprised.
course, they will have to adjust to the age of it, but once that is done, it is
solid all the way.
that was thought to be lost has survived in decent 1.33 X 1 PAL video copies,
with muddy 16mm footage (likely lost forever?) and surprisingly colorful
transfers for their age.† Ken Westbury
shot this very nicely, and though some of it is obviously studio-bound, it
looks pretty good though the source is soft throughout and offers all kinds of
analog flaws.† The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
is a little loud and harsh, but despite showing its age, is listenable.† Sadly, there are no extras except previews
for other Koch releases.
-†† Nicholas Sheffo