The Last of the Mohicans (1936)

91 mins | Drama | 4 September 1936

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HISTORY

The title card for the viewed print reads: "Harry M. Goetz Presents an Edward Small Production of James Fenimore Cooper's Classic of Early America." FD reported on 12 Aug 1936 that in honor of this film's world premiere at Saratoga Springs, New York, George H. Bull, president of the Saratoga Racing Association, named various races after characters in the film, including Uncas, Hawkeye, the Mohican Handicap, the Chingachgook Handicap and the Magua Handicap. FD also reported that the Loew's theater circuit opened the film on 14 Aug 1936. This film was shot at RKO-Pathé Studios as part of RKO's arrangement with United Artists. Location shooting included a principal unit under George Seitz at Sherwood Forest, CA, and a second unit, under the direction of Wallace Fox, in northern California and later at Cedar Lake in Big Bear, CA. According to HR , an Eagle Boy Scout was hired to accompany the crew to Sherwood Forest, where he instructed Indian extras on how to start fires with flint and steel. HR also states that actor Phillip Reed persuaded Harry Goetz to allow Harvey Shepard to act as his "whoops" stand-in after being advised by his vocal instructor that the raucous war whoops were injuring his voice.
       A HR ad for this film credits Paul Eagler, not Robert Planck, as both director of photography and special effects cameraman, and lists Roy Webb, who is credited on the film as music director, with the musical score. Copyright records list Nathaniel Shilkret as music director. Both of these men were musical directors at RKO at the time of this production. Ken Goldsmith ... More Less

The title card for the viewed print reads: "Harry M. Goetz Presents an Edward Small Production of James Fenimore Cooper's Classic of Early America." FD reported on 12 Aug 1936 that in honor of this film's world premiere at Saratoga Springs, New York, George H. Bull, president of the Saratoga Racing Association, named various races after characters in the film, including Uncas, Hawkeye, the Mohican Handicap, the Chingachgook Handicap and the Magua Handicap. FD also reported that the Loew's theater circuit opened the film on 14 Aug 1936. This film was shot at RKO-Pathé Studios as part of RKO's arrangement with United Artists. Location shooting included a principal unit under George Seitz at Sherwood Forest, CA, and a second unit, under the direction of Wallace Fox, in northern California and later at Cedar Lake in Big Bear, CA. According to HR , an Eagle Boy Scout was hired to accompany the crew to Sherwood Forest, where he instructed Indian extras on how to start fires with flint and steel. HR also states that actor Phillip Reed persuaded Harry Goetz to allow Harvey Shepard to act as his "whoops" stand-in after being advised by his vocal instructor that the raucous war whoops were injuring his voice.
       A HR ad for this film credits Paul Eagler, not Robert Planck, as both director of photography and special effects cameraman, and lists Roy Webb, who is credited on the film as music director, with the musical score. Copyright records list Nathaniel Shilkret as music director. Both of these men were musical directors at RKO at the time of this production. Ken Goldsmith was on leave from Republic at the time of this production, while George Seitz was under contract to M-G-M at the time. Early HR production charts list Ralph Block with Philip Dunne as screenwriter, but Block does not appear in later production charts. According to HR , Merle Oberon was originally set to star in this film. Juvenile actor David Scott , who was placed under contract to Edward Small in Oct 1935, was also scheduled to appear in this film; however, no information has been found to confirm his appearance in the final film. According to a LAT news item on 23 Aug 1935, this film was originally going to be shot in Technicolor. According to an article in NYT , Randolph Scott, who was borrowed from Paramount, tried to get out of playing Hawkeye because he believed it improbable that his character would speak the "flowery Cooper dialogue" called for in the script; Scott reportedly balked at the line, "I take my leave when the sun goes down behind yon hill," and finally was allowed to change some of his dialogue. According to DV , assistant director Jack Boland sued Reliance, Harry Goetz, Edward Small, Morris Small and research director Ed Lambert for $2,000, which he claimed was due as salary for his directing services following a fifty percent paycut of his $250 weekly salary during production. No other sources verify Boland's work on this production, however, and it is unclear what, if any, contributions he made to the film.
       A NYT article notes that Lambert relied on the Remington Schuyler painting "Custer's Last Stand," which portrays several scalpings in progressive stages, to make the scalping scenes as authentic as possible. Lambert is quoted as saying, "There is nothing facetious in this matter...the action must necessarily be correct in every detail in order to stave off the hordes of boner-hunters all over the country." Lambert also consulted the descendants of what NYT referred to as "this country's outstanding scalpers." According to FD , Goetz offered a personal prize of one-hundred dollars for the best exploitation campaign for this film. A news item in FD on 25 Aug 1936 states that B. E. Fry of the Loew's Vendome theater in Nashville hired two Western Union boys to carry a six-foot telegram addressed to the mayor, inviting him to the film's opening, through the city's streets to City Hall.
       Cooper's novel was also the source of the following productions: the 1920 Maurice Tourneur film of the same title, directed by Tourneur and Clarence L. Brown, and starring Wallace Beery and Barbara Bedford (see above); a 1947 Columbia film entitled Last of Redmen , directed by George Sherman and starring Jon Hall (see above); a 1950 United Artists production entitled The Iroquois Trail , directed by Phil Karlson and starring George Montgomery and Marian Thorne (see above); an eight-part BBC production aired in 1971, directed by David Maloney and starring Patricia Maynard, Tim Goodman and Kenneth Ives; a 1977 television movie, directed by James L. Conway and starring Steve Forrest and a 1992 Twentieth Century-Fox release, directed by Michael Mann, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. The 1992 film was partially based on Philip Dunne's screenplay. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 May 36
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Aug 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
12 Aug 36
p. 9, 15
Film Daily
13 Aug 36
p. 2.
Film Daily
25 Aug 36
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 35
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 35
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 36
p. 25.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 May 36
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
21 May 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 36
pp. 5-16.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Sep 36
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
18 Jul 36
pp. 16-17.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Aug 36
p. 54, pp. 63-64.
New York Times
24 May 1936.
---
New York Times
3 Sep 36
p. 17.
New York Times
15 Nov 1936.
---
Variety
9 Sep 36
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward Small Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Assoc dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Dir of photog and spec eff cam
2nd unit cam
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
Cost supplied by
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Research dir
STAND INS
"Whoops" stand-in for Phillip Reed
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper (Boston, 1826).
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 September 1936
Premiere Information:
World premiere at Saratoga Springs (NY): 13 August 1936
New York premiere: 19 August 1936
Production Date:
began early May 1936 at RKO Pathé Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Reliance Production of California
Copyright Date:
18 August 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6529
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2345
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1757, during the French and Indian War, British Colonel Munro and his daughters, Alice and Cora, are stationed at Fort William Henry, New York. Major Duncan Hayward, who is in love with Alice, arrives with orders to march against the French, but Magua, an Indian Army scout who is actually a French spy, sabotages the march and kidnaps Alice, Cora and Duncan. Hawkeye, a skillful Colonial scout who was reared by Mohawks, saves them with the help of Uncas and Chingachgook, the last men of the Mohican tribe. Uncas falls in love with Cora at first sight, while Hawkeye earns Alice's respect. When the group reaches the fort, they discover it is under attack by the French. Uncas is wounded attempting to get through enemy lines, and when some of the Colonialists desert, Hawkeye is unjustly jailed as a traitor. Just as the British reach honorable terms for surrender with the French, Magua leads an Indian attack and Colonel Munro dies nobly in the battle. Alice and Cora are captured by Magua, who wants Cora as his squaw and plans to burn Alice at the stake. Uncas frees Cora, but while being pursued by Magua, he falls from a cliff. Cora leaps after him, joining him in death. At the Indian camp, Hawkeye and Duncan are captured when they try to save Alice, and Magua offers Alice's life in exchange for Hawkeye's. Duncan disguises himself as Hawkeye, but is discovered, and the real Hawkeye is tied to the stake. The army arrives and Hawkeye is freed to face a court-martial, but the charges are dismissed when his ... +


In 1757, during the French and Indian War, British Colonel Munro and his daughters, Alice and Cora, are stationed at Fort William Henry, New York. Major Duncan Hayward, who is in love with Alice, arrives with orders to march against the French, but Magua, an Indian Army scout who is actually a French spy, sabotages the march and kidnaps Alice, Cora and Duncan. Hawkeye, a skillful Colonial scout who was reared by Mohawks, saves them with the help of Uncas and Chingachgook, the last men of the Mohican tribe. Uncas falls in love with Cora at first sight, while Hawkeye earns Alice's respect. When the group reaches the fort, they discover it is under attack by the French. Uncas is wounded attempting to get through enemy lines, and when some of the Colonialists desert, Hawkeye is unjustly jailed as a traitor. Just as the British reach honorable terms for surrender with the French, Magua leads an Indian attack and Colonel Munro dies nobly in the battle. Alice and Cora are captured by Magua, who wants Cora as his squaw and plans to burn Alice at the stake. Uncas frees Cora, but while being pursued by Magua, he falls from a cliff. Cora leaps after him, joining him in death. At the Indian camp, Hawkeye and Duncan are captured when they try to save Alice, and Magua offers Alice's life in exchange for Hawkeye's. Duncan disguises himself as Hawkeye, but is discovered, and the real Hawkeye is tied to the stake. The army arrives and Hawkeye is freed to face a court-martial, but the charges are dismissed when his true loyalty is disclosed. Hawkeye, now in love with Alice, returns to his duty with new purpose. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.