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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British TV > Mini-Series > The Last Of The Mohicans (1972/BBC/Koch Vision/Mini-Series)

The Last Of The Mohicans (1972/BBC/Koch Vision/Mini-Series)

 

Picture: C†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: D†††† Episodes: B+

 

 

Until Michael 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.

 

Kenneth 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.

 

The rest 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.

 

Of course, they will have to adjust to the age of it, but once that is done, it is solid all the way.

 

The show 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


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