THE FIRST AMERICAN HERO.
Some time in the late 18th century, Cora Munro (Madeleine Stowe), the daughter of an English officer, arrives in war-torn America and falls under the protection of Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), who was raised by the Mohicans. Here’s a first attempt to turn James Fenimore Cooper’s classic into something that isn’t merely a simple adventure tale. It’s a somewhat complicated film that tries to be historically accurate, exciting and romantic at the same time… and pretty much gets away with it, thanks to director Michael Mann’s deft touch. The action is bloody and magnificent, the movie looks beautiful and authentic, there’s some depth to the characters, and Day-Lewis is a perfect hero.
1992-U.S. 113 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Michael Mann, Hunt Lowry. Directed by Michael Mann. Screenplay: Michael Mann, Christopher Crowe. Novel: James Fenimore Cooper. Cinematography: Dante Spinotti. Music: Trevor Jones, Randy Edelman. Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis (Hawkeye), Madeleine Stowe (Cora Munro), Russell Means (Chingachgook), Eric Schweig, Jodhi May, Steven Waddington… Colm Meaney, Pete Postlethwaite.
Trivia: The script for this film was based on the one for the 1936 version, which was written by Philip Dunne.
Oscar: Best Sound. BAFTA: Best Cinematography, Makeup.
Last word: “Daniel Boone could leave a populated area and spend two years in the wilderness, eat three meals a day and live. These were all techniques learned from the American Indians. So the idea was, which I firmly believe, if an actor can actually do the things of the person he’s portraying, he truly becomes that person. You do it, you own it…As a director, that’s what you want. I’m interested in actors and actresses who are for real, who are adventurous, who are very ambitious, who see it as an adventure and are ready to kind of commit, not out of discipline or coercion but out of, ‘Why would you want to do it any other way?’ Who wouldn’t want to do it if you could?” (Mann, Hitfix)