Starring Wallace Beery, Albert Roscoe and Barbara Bedford
March, 1921

Somehow or other we liked Maurice Tourneur's "The Last of the Mohicans" best. Tourneur, superb painter of the cinema, has done a little better than usual with his visualization of the James Fenimore Cooper "Leatherstocking" tale.
The Cooper novel may seem out of date in its simple unaffectedness, but it has lived thro the years. Cooper was a pioneer, rather than a master of American letters. Yet he will always have a certain niche in our literature, altho of vastly less importance than a generation ago.
Every schoolboy knows the story of Uncas, last of his tribe, and how he loved the pioneer maid, Cora Monro, in his hopeless fashion. The tale ends in death and - praise be - Mr. Tourneur has not attempted to soften or change it.
In "The Last of the Mohicans," Mr. Tourneur has caught the rugged frontier spirit and enmeshed it in celluloid. Many of his backgrounds are glorious glimpses of primeval nature, superbly beautiful. With the exception of Uncas, Mr. Tourneur's Indians seem real redskins, and his pioneer folk appear to be the actual adventurers of their day. We have noted the Uncas, played by Albert Roscoe. There is no getting away from the fact that Roscoe seems a pleasant youth with a Palm Beach tan and an Indian costume. It seems to us that the role might have been better cast and better handled.
Wallace Beery really stands out as the wicked Huron outcast, Magua. Here is a sinister and powerful characterization that looks and seems the part. The remainder of the cast is adequate, including Mr. Tourneur's discovery, Barbara Bedford, who gives a straightforward performance of the ill-fated Cora.
We recommend "The Last of the Mohicans." It is Mr. Tourneur's best directorial effort since "Prunella" and "The Blue Bird."

Starring Wallace Beery, Albert Roscoe and Barbara Bedford
January 3, 1921

James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans" has been made into a motion picture by Maurice Tourneur, with the assistance of Clarence L. Brown, and is at the Strand this week. Those who go to see it from a bothersome sense of duty - in themselves or in their parents - expecting to be rather wearied by the rehashing of an old story that must necessarily be dull because it is called an "American classic" and is read in the public schools, are in for an agreeable surprise. They will see a regular melodrama as exciting as any they are likely to encounter in any number of screen tours, and if it is at the same time a costume story with early American settings, they won't mind that much. If they don't watch out, they may even find themselves enjoying the background as well as the action.

For Mr. Tourneur has used the magic of his camera to give Cooper's story the quality of life on the screen. One who must confess that he read the original so long ago - it was taught in his elementary school - that he has forgotten the details of its narrative cannot say how closely the picture follows it, but that Mr. Tourneur has made a suspensive melodrama in an interesting setting suggestive of frontier life is an evident fact. It seems authentic, too, except when some of the"Indians" get too close to the camera.

Why did Mr. Tourneur try to make an Indian out of Wallace Beery? He is the bad man of the story and is certainly sufficiently evil looking. But Indian! And Albert Roscoe, the noble red man, the last of the Mohicans? If so, the Mohicans must have intermarried with other races extensively before they died out and lost their traits and barbaric dignity as well as their racial characteristics. And many of the "Indians" in the "crowd scenes" look much more like African than American aborigines. This miscasting has seriously weakened the picture.

Nevertheless, there is much by way of compensation. The story itself is full of the kind of action that holds the interest because it means something, and its proceeds directly to its logically tragic ending. Also Mr. Tourneur did not just photograph his scenery and people literally,. He composed his pictures. With lights and shadows skillfully arranged, objects artistically placed, distances effectively measured, he put into his film more than any one would have observed in the reality before his camera. A great may of the thrills on the screen would have been lost by merely literal photography. There are too many subtitles, some of them needless and others that could have been made so, but there are also many things in the picture themselves that are a pure delight. A number of the scenes are the kind that stick in the memory.

There is no fault to find with the casting of the white characters. Barbara Bedford as Cora Munro, Henry Woodward as Major Heyward, George Hackathorne as Captain Randolph and Nelson McDowell as David Gamut are especially good.

Mr. Tourneur has made an extraordinary picture, seriously marred in one particular.

"An Indian Summer," a Prizma scenic, and Harold Lloyd's latest farce, "Number, Please," are also on the Strand bill.

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