Tuesday, October 19, 2021

CMBA 2021 FALL BLOGATHON, LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: Disney's Pluto


The Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA) presents its Fall 2021 blogathon, Laughter is the Best Medicine. The contributions from members can be accessed HERE. Don't crack your funnybone!


Look at the adorable face of Pluto. It is a face full of personality and mischief; the face of all lovable and wacky mutts everywhere.



Plucked from the anonymity of a "bit" in The Chain Gang, 1930 by creator Norm Ferguson, Pluto has found his way into the hearts of audiences for 91 years and counting.


Norm Ferguson
September 2, 1902 - November 4, 1957

Norm did not come from a traditional art background to the Disney animation department, but rather from the job of cameraman. Blessed with his own "outside the box" ideas, a mobile face, and a strong sense of humour, Norm leaped over traditional stepping stones and brought a vivid and fascinating thought process to his work and his characters. Audiences do not simply observe gags; they actually live in the moment with Norm's characters. Those characters include Snow White and the Seven Dwarf's Wicked Witch, the all-purpose antagonist Peg Leg Pete, and the beloved Pluto.


Norm Ferguson earned the praise and admiration of his fellow animators, and in 1987 received a posthumous Winsor McCay Award, a presentation of the International Animated Film Society for career achievement in animation, and the designation of a Disney Legend in 1999.


PLUTO: Personal Favourites and Highlights



Mickey's Good Deed, 1932 shows Mickey Mouse and Pluto singing for their supper on Christmas Eve during the Great Depression. Mickey, naturally, refuses to sell his beloved Pluto to a spoiled rich kid who demands his father buy him the dog. When Mickey comes across a poor family of cats, he relents to the sale to provide Christmas for the kittens. 


Mickey has saved Christmas for the poor family but is alone with only a snow sculpture of his beloved Pluto until the rich kid goes too far and gets a well-deserved spanking from his dad who throws Pluto out. The mutt finds his way to Mickey, bringing with him a roasted turkey from the mansion. It is a cold but happy Christmas for the pair.



Pluto struggles with intractable flypaper in Playful Pluto, 1934.


Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels, 1941 tells the epic journey of Hollywood director John L. Sullivan's (Joel McCrea) search for "real life" and the way to present a truly serious story on the screen. Time on a chain gang taught him one lesson he will carry forward when the downtrodden prisoners are offered the reprieve of a church screening of Playful Pluto

"There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan."




Thanks to my son Gavin and the 1935 Mickey Mouse Technicolor short On Ice, the laughs I had enjoyed through the years at Pluto finally came to a true appreciation. Gavin still enjoys watching his favourite 'toons on a loop and you have to reach the appreciation point to deal with the saturation point.
 


In On Ice, Mickey and the gang are enjoying a winter's day skating on a frozen river. Donald, with his own insane sense of humour, decides to prank the innocent Pluto by placing ice skates on the sleeping pooch. Pluto awakens to the sudden reality of trying to stay on his feet and the scene made me realize that here was a comic mime on a par with the greats. Names like Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton must make way for their cartoon canine compatriot!




Pluto's Judgement Day, 1935 takes us inside the nightmare of a guilty conscience. Pluto must face the judgement of all the cats in the world - at least, all of the cats he has chased and menaced or wishes he had chased and menaced. A courtroom made up entirely of cats finds Pluto guilty and he must be punished. Scary stuff, and very funny.




Society Dog Show, 1939 places the mutt among the swell set. Proud owner Mickey believes his Pluto to be the equal of any of the purebred hounds and enters Pluto in the high-toned dog show. Pluto's finer points are not recognized until a fire breaks out and he shows himself to be a true hero, winning the heart of his lady fair.




Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip, 1940 solidifies the bond between the mouse and the pup as the two battle conductor Pete, a strict enforcer of the no dog policy of the railway. Are there no lengths to which the mean old conductor won't go to get rid of the pooch? Are there no lengths to which the owner and pet won't go to make their destination together?




Lend a Paw won the 1942 Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. 


Pluto has rescued a kitten from a watery grave. Pluto probably wouldn't have rescued the kitten if he had known it was a kitten. Pluto develops an instant and strong jealousy of the cute and cuddly little pussy cat. Pluto does his best to discredit the kitten in Mickey's eyes, and to get rid of it once and for all! It is a battle between Pluto's inner demon and inner angel. Who will win?




Springtime for Pluto, 1944 finds Pluto following the siren call of Pan and reveling in the warm weather and promise of spring. He also runs into bugs, hayfever, and sudden torrential rainstorms. Everything has its good and bad points. Don't blame the flute-playing god. 




Pluto's Blue Note, 1947 casts the mutt as a frustrated musician. He discovers the miracle of lipsynching and finds himself the Sinatra-like idol of the lady dogs of the neighbourhood. Pluto's attempts to find his place in the musical milieu and his ultimate success make this a very satisfying and amusing entry. Pluto's Blue Note was nominated for Best Short Subject, Cartoons in 1948. The Oscar went to the Merrie Melody short Tweetie Pie, the first teaming of Tweety and Sylvester.



Plutopia, 1951 finds Pluto and Mickey at a campground with harsh restrictions on where and what dogs may do. Pluto finds respite in dreamland where he is the ruler of all he surveys and a cat, a most deferential cat, supplying every wish to his dog master. Why, this compliant cat even goes so far as to beg for punishment at the very thought of disappointing the mighty Pluto! Plutopia indeed.



Mickey:  "Pluto, we have chipmunks in our tree!"

Pluto's Christmas Tree, 1952 takes Pluto through his paces. First, the excitement of going for a walk with Mickey to pick out the tree. Next, the joy of decorating. After that, it is the horrifying discovery that Chip and Dale have invaded the celebration followed by the battle of the century and the frustration of not getting Mickey to understand the enormity of the situation.



Through the years we have seen Pluto deal with Donald trying to give him a bath, Minnie knitting him a sweater, real and imagined cats, those smart-alec chipmunks, gophers, armadillos, coyotes, parrots, puppies, seals, the weather, and romantic rivals. Does Pluto handle these aggravations with grace and fortitude? He does not! And why should he? Pluto barks and rails against the indignities heaped upon him in this world of woe. He is loyal, perhaps a little foolhardy, and always funny. 




Mickey: "Aw, you're just a mutt!"
Canine Caddy, 1941













  

Monday, October 11, 2021

HALLOWE'EN ON REMAKE AVENUE: Murders in the Rue Morgue, 1932 and Phantom of the Rue Morgue, 1954

 

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) changed the literary landscape and the reading habits of generations forever with his creation of the logically-minded amateur detective Auguste Dupin in The Murders in the Rue Morgue, 1841, The Mystery of Marie Roget, 1842, and The Purloined Letter, 1844.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue present us with a dispassionate investigator, his companion/narrator, and an improbable murder in a story that echoes through the years.

Poe's stories, particularly Dupin's debut in The Murders in the Rue Morgue have been filmed multiple times dating back to 1908. Our trip to Remake Avenue looks at Universal's 1932 film and Warner Brother's 3D entry Phantom of the Rue Morgue in 1954.




Pierre Dupin played by Leon Waycoff (later Ames) is a medical student in Paris in 1845. He is an obsessive fellow whose romantic inclination is focused on pretty Camille L'Espanaye (Sidney Fox). Pierre's scientific focus is currently narrowed in on the mysterious and gruesome murders of two women in the Rue Morgue. Our earnest hero and too-sweet heroine are about to find their romance in a tangled and dangerous situation.

Leon Ames, Sidney Fox, Bert Roach

The carnival is in town and Pierre and his roommate Paul (Bert Roach) escort their ladies, Camille and Mignette (Edna Marion), for an evening's entertainment. Among the sideshow offerings is Dr. Mirakle (Bela Lugosi) and Erik. Erik is a gorilla to whom Mirakle purports to speak. Mirakle makes grand claims about evolution which incite the religious element among the crowd. Mirakle declares that he is not just another sideshow barker, but a scientist whose true legacy will be in his work of combining Erik's blood with that of humans. Shades of Island of Lost Souls!

Arlene Francis, Bela Lugosi

Dr. Mirakle and Erik are both intrigued by the pretty Camille. Mirakle senses she will be the woman for whom he is searching in order to achieve success in his grand experiment. The blood of a Woman of the Street (Arlene Francis) proved to be "rotten." Pierre, a frequent visitor to the morgue will find one more murder victim to add to the mystery which occupies his mind.

Lugosi's creepy make-up courtesy of Jack Pierce and the actor's performance leave no doubt that his all-consuming fervor for his theories and experiments has taken him to madness.

The authorities are blind to the coincidences Pierre discovers and slow to listen to his well-thought-out theories on the crimes. Action must be taken quickly to save Camille and quick action is sorely lacking from the gendarme. 


Robert Florey, who was connected with the project in an on-again, off-again capacity adapted the story and directed Murders in the Rue Morgue. The screenplay by Tom Reed and Dale Van Every leaves us with Poe's setting and murderer while giving us a different human villain and a lead role for Bela Lugosi. The film benefits greatly from the moody and atmospheric cinematography by Karl Freund (The Seventh Cross).

Despite an original run time of 80 minutes, the film offered to us runs just over an hour. Those 61 minutes are filled with shadows and fog, and ghastly scenes of death and horror. One can only imagine what the censors forced the studio to leave behind. 



Roy Del Ruth (Employees' Entrance) directed the 1954 3D/Technicolor version of Poe's story from the screenplay by Harold Medford (The Damned Don't Cry) and James. R. Webb (Cape Fear).

Merv Griffin, Steve Forrest, Patricia Medina

Professor Paul Dupin (Steve Forrest) is intelligent enough to solve the murders that occur in the Rue Morgue and Police Inspector Bonnard (Claude Dauphin) is clever enough to go to the experts in the medical field to assist in discovering the culprit. However, the police narrow their culprit to that same Paul Dupin. Quelle dommage!

Karl Malden, Patricia Medina

Following the template of the 1932 Florey adaption, the motive behind the murders is given a uniquely personal twist on Poe's story. Professor Dupin's sweetheart Jeanette (Patricia Medina) is the object of obsession of the mad head of the institute, Dr. Marais (Karl Malden). Jeanette's resemblance to Dr. Marais' late wife is only part of that obsession.

The world at large sees Dr. Marais as a successful professional. Malden's mad man appears only "eccentric" while dealing with the public. It is among the creatures at his personal zoo, his association with Jacques the One-eyed (Anthony Caruso), and the trained gorilla that his madness is revealed.


Enlivening the proceedings is extended use of characters from the circus including knife throwers and acrobats which widens our plot, investigation, and suspect pool. The ghastly murders are shot imaginatively and make fine use of garish Technicolor. The solution and the race to save our damsel-in-distress is nothing less than what is expected, but also nothing more.

Perhaps not as effective as Universal's House of Wax released the previous year, Phantom of the Rue Morgue provides its own brand of enjoyment as a Hallowe'en feature involving Poe's unique villain and the mad doctor that producers seemed to think audiences required to swallow the story.


Of note:

Charles Gemora (1903-1961)

Charles Gemora aka "King of the Gorilla Men" due to the number of gorillas and apes he created and portrayed on-screen vs. the number of aliens, played the gorilla in Murders in the Rue Morgue, 1932, and the gorilla in close-ups for Phantom of the Rue Morgue, 1954.










Monday, October 4, 2021

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR OCTOBER ON TCM

 

Montreal-born Gerald Mayer (Bright Road) directed this taut hostage drama from a story by Hugh King (The Threat) and actor (Armored Car Robbery) turned writer (Tootsie) Don McGuire. The disturbing screenplay is by John Monks Jr. (The House on 92nd Street).

The post-war years saw changes in audience habits due to television and the venerable studios were seeing that shift play out in their own business. As Dore Schary came to prominence at MGM, grittier and more socially conscious films, particularly from the B unit was changing the look of the studio output. Fans could still count on colourful entertainment such as The Band Wagon, Knights of the Round Table, and Dangerous When Wet, but more and more there were political dramas such as The Sell-Out, contemporary dramas like Executive Suite, and Rogue Cop

Dial 1119 finds itself among those latter gloomier films. Studios often used their B unit to try out new ideas or personnel and the lower budget often spurs creativity. This 75-minute thriller is not cast with "names" but with recognizable actors for those who frequented films at the time and enjoy movies from the era today.

Marshall Thompson

News travels quickly in 1950. When a disturbed young killer played by Marshall Thompson escapes from an asylum it is with determination and a frightening goal. The news is relayed through police bulletins and special breaking news radio reports and then on television screens including one in the Oasis Bar. The Oasis is a crumby joint as attested by its owner played by William Conrad but the television over the bar gives it that something extra.

Keefe Brasselle, James Bell, Virginia Field, Leon Ames, Andrea King

The clientele at the Oasis this night includes regulars. Virginia Field is a barfly, James Bell is a disgruntled newspaperman, Keefe Brasselle works at the bar and worries about his wife back at the maternity ward. Andrea King is a lonely woman who decided to take a smarmy Leon Ames up on his offer of a weekend out of the city.

Sam Levene, Richard Rober

Tension is prevalent inside the bar and out on the street, particularly between Sam Levene, the police psychiatrist who had the killer's sentence commuted to treatment instead of "the chair" and the police captain played by Richard Rober who only sees that more lives were lost because the State didn't execute a killer.

Spectators are crowding the streets surrounding the bar, drawn by the drama which they cannot see yet can still hear over the radio plus read about in special editions of newspapers. They also have the novel opportunity to see the television people in action. Dick Simmons plays a glib announcer who turns the life and death drama into a spectacle for an audience. You have to give the people what they want.


The connection between an event and the coverage of an event is the most off-putting aspect of this story. In the years since this movie's release, the lines have blurred more and more between real life and its telecast. Entire generations have had their perspective warped by the media and the two sides of the coin feed off of each other in a vicious circle. This circle is certainly not an entirely new phenomenon (see Ace in the Hole), but in the 21st century, it has become even more pervasive and dangerous.

Dial 1119 is an engrossing hostage drama that holds your attention while posing some interesting questions regarding crime, punishment, and coverage. Fans of the cast have an opportunity to see some familiar faces excelling in unfamiliar situations.

TCM is screening Dial 1119 at 6:00 am (Eastern time) on Thursday, October 14th. The films of the day turn a spotlight on mentally maladjusted characters in such titles as M, Night Must Fall, and Cast a Dark Shadow.










Thursday, September 30, 2021

THE BIOPIC BLOGATHON: The Five Pennies, 1959


The Biopic Blogathon is hosted by Dr. Annette Bochenek's Hometowns to Hollywood. Begin your journey through interesting life stories by clicking HERE.
 


Dena Productions, named for Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine's daughter, was formed in 1953 and saw the release of the movies Knock on Wood, 1954, The Five Pennies, 1959, On the Double, 1961, and The Man from the Diner's Club, 1963. 

The Five Pennies written by Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson (The Seven Little Foys) and directed by Shavelson looks at the ups and downs of Red Nichols' career, and his triumph as a family man. Shavelson knew what worked for his star as he directed Danny Kaye on On the Double and wrote The Kid from Brooklyn and Wonder Man. Co-producer Sylvia Fine wrote four songs for the film: The Five Pennies, Follow the Leader, Lullaby in Ragtime, Goodnight - Sleep Tight, and contributed the special lyrics to When the Saints Go Marching In.

Note: in the film, Red Nichols played the trumpet for Danny Kaye and Eileen Wilson did the singing for Barbara Bel Geddes.
 


Loring "Red" Nichols
May 8, 1905 - June 28, 1965

The son of a music professor and a child prodigy inspired by the likes of Bix Beiderbecke, Fate (with a capital "F") had determined that Red Nichols be a musician. Red owned those dots on the bar line. He was a thoroughly polished cornetist who could cut loose with the popular jazz of the era, bringing it to popularity with hundreds of recordings and concert dates. Red and trombonist Miff Mole were an inseparable and unbeatable team in the 1920s and 1930s.

In his various bands, Red Nichols influenced and mentored many musicians including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Jimmy Dorsey, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Gene Krupa, and Jack Teagarden.

"Red made sure everyone was paid."
- Jimmy Dorsey on This is Your Life, 1956 

The course of time found Nichols falling out of favour with the intellectual critics who had discovered the sophisticated style of such as Duke Ellington and Coleman Hawkins. What in an earlier time was an appreciation of a fine musician turned to scorn forgetting that the music world is wide and encompasses many purveyors and many different tastes from audiences who can appreciate more than one thing at a time.

Red was married to dancer Willa Stutsman and the couple had one daughter. During the 1930s Red played in pit orchestras and show bands. He left music and worked at a shipyard during WW2 when he and Willa's daughter Dorothy was diagnosed with polio. After the war, Red revived his band at first in small clubs then progressively larger venues, and toured Europe as a goodwill ambassador. Red was performing in Las Vegas when he passed away in 1965.

Here's a treat, a 1929 medley from Red and the boys!


Danny Kaye, Harry Guardino, Bob Crosby

Ogden, Utah's own Loring Nichols arrived in NYC in the mid-1920s with his cornet, his Dixieland arrangements, and the certainty that "Someday you boys will all be working for me." Work is consistent if not always in line with Red's vision but he is one of those to-thine-own-self-be-true fellows.

Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes

Red is consistent as well in his personal life. He meets singer (society chanteuse) Willa Stutsman and after her original scorn for the "hick", they form a bond and marry. Like most marriages, they survive their ups and downs by supporting each other through the rough times.

Louis Armstrong, Danny Kaye

Red has the approval and the friendship of his fellow musicians. It is one of the things that keeps him going when times are rough. As he says later in the movie, "There was Louis, there was Bix, and there was me." Red and Louis perform The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Remember, that is Red Nichols trumpet that Danny is imitating.

Danny Kaye

Red takes the Five Pennies on the road. College dates plus their recordings really put the group on the map. Style-wise The Five Pennies cinematographer David L. Fapp (West Side Story) has fun with Technicolor through the opening credits and montages which advance the years of Red's career. 

Susan Gordon as young Dorothy

The early years on the road include Red and Willa's daughter Dorothy. It is a unique and exciting time for the youngster who loves being with her parents. When Willa decides she would like their daughter to be at least 8-years-old before she starts singing in nightclubs, the couple must come to a difficult decision. It is Red who deems a Boarding School the best solution and Daddy's girl Dorothy resents being sent away.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Danny Kaye

When Dorothy is diagnosed with polio the doctors declare that she will never walk again. Devastated, Willa and Red take over her treatment. Red quits the road and the band taking a job in a wartime shipyard, settling down in the sunshine of Los Angeles. The treatment of heat and rehabilitation as outlined by Australian nurse Sister Kenny is their guide. 

Tuesday Weld as teenager Dorothy, Danny Kaye

Through the years, Dorothy does walk with braces and a cane. Dorothy has forgotten those early years on the road and, in typical teenage fashion, scoffs at her mother's assertion that her father was once a famous musician. Slowly, Dorothy begins to remember the two separate phases of her life and what her father sacrificed for her sake. She joins her mother in convincing Red to return to what he was meant to do.

Ray Daley (Glenn Miller), Louis Armstrong, Harry Guardino, Danny Kaye
Tuesday Weld, Barbara Bel Geddes, Ray Anthony (Jimmy Dorsey)

Afraid that he has "lost his lip" after all this time, Red struggles with the idea of a comeback and the practice it will take but with the support of his family and old friends we leave him where we met him, back on stage making the music he loves.


AWARDS/NOMINATIONS

Oscar nominations:

Best music, scoring of a motion picture - Leith Stevens
Winner: Porgy and Bess

Best music, original song - Sylvia Fine for The Five Pennies
Winner: High Hopes from A Hole in the Head

Best costume design, color - Edith Head
Winner: Ben-Hur

Best cinematography, color - Daniel L. Fapp
Winner: Ben-Hur

Golden Globes:

Winner: Most promising female newcomer, Tuesday Weld

Nominee: Best Motion Picture - Musical
Winner: Porgy and Bess

Grammy Awards:

Nominee: Best Soundtrack Album Original Cast Motion Picture or Television
Winner: Porgy and Bess

Writers Guild of America:

Winner: Best written American musical


Danny Kaye and Red Nichols


Note: Look for a quick cameo from Bob Hope. Red led Hope's radio orchestra for a while in the 1930s.

Note: Red Nichols was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1986.












Wednesday, September 29, 2021

THE SILENT MOVIE DAY BLOGATHON: The Last of the Mohicans, 1920

 

The first annual National Silent Movie Day has inspired Crystal at In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Lea at Silent-ology to host The Silent Movie Day Blogathon this September 29th. Your journey begins HERE


The first National Silent Movie Day will be celebrated on September 29, 2021 as established in January 2021 by Chad Hunter, Executive Director of Video Trust and Director of the Pittsburgh Silent Film Society; Brandee B. Cox, Senior Film Archivist at the Academy Film Archive, and Steven K. Hill, Motion Picture Archivist at the UCLA Film & Television Archive.


The most popular and enduring of James Fenimore Cooper's five novels which comprise the Leatherstocking Tales is the second in the series, The Last of the Mohicans published in 1826. The story is set in New York State in the mid-16th century during the French and Indian Wars (the North American site of the European Seven Years War).

James Fenimore Cooper, 1789-1851

The scout Natty Bumppo, known as Hawkeye, along with his close friends Chingachgook and Uncas, the last of the Mohicans become embroiled in the conflict and the danger that surrounds the Munro family, Colonel, and two daughters. 

Cooper's stories caught the imagination of filmmakers as early as 1910 and many adaptations for the big and small screens have been created in the hundred years since. 1920 saw a two-part German film that featured Bela Lugosi as Chingachgook. My contribution to The Silent Movie Day Blogathon is a look at the 1920 Hollywood film from Maurice Tourneur Productions.

The scenario for the film by Robert Dillon distills the epic story to the events surrounding the emotional and danger fraught story of the Munro sisters, Cora and Alice, along with the memorable characters of Uncas, Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Magua. This story is enhanced by the location filming in Big Bear Lake, the San Bernardino Forest, and Yosemite National Park.

Lillian Hall, Barbara Bedford

Maurice Tourneur whose background in the theatre and in classical art informed his filmmaking directed and released the film through his own production company formed in 1917. The Last of the Mohicans bears his distinctive hallmark of excellence regardless of the illness which forced assistant director Clarence Brown (The Yearling) to take over the duties of his revered mentor.

"Maurice Tourneur was my god. I owe him everything I've got in the world. For me, he was the greatest man who ever lived."     - Clarence Brown

Wallace Beery

Magua: "Magua does not kill his prisoners - he tortures them!"

Fort William Henry was built in 1755 on Lake George in what was called the province of New York. Our story finds Colonel Munro in a stand-off with General Montcalm and his Huron allies. Nonetheless, when General Webb sends reinforcements to Fort William Henry among them are Colonel Munro's daughters under the protection of Major Heyward and the guidance of a Native scout. Magua played by Wallace Beery claims to know a shortcut to the fort but has nefarious plans of his own. Pride and vengeance against mistreatment by Munro motivate the Huron. 

George Hackathorne, Barbara Bedford

Cora: "Surely among his own people he is a prince!"

Captain Randolph: "You! - The daughter of Colonel Munro! - admiring a filthy savage!"

Barbara Bedford plays Cora, Munro's dark-haired, devoted and romantic daughter. Her imagination has been taken by the appearance in their lives of Uncas played by Albert Roscoe. 

Alice Munro played by Lillian Hall is a vivacious blonde protected by the love of her family and admired by the stalwart Major Heyward played by Henry Woodward.

Henry Woodward, Harry Lorraine, Albert Roscoe, Theodore Lorch 

Hawkeye: "I suspect the varmint covets your scalps! Come - these woods are no longer safe."

As the group of the Monro sisters, Major Heyward and Magua split off from the troops they come across David Gamut played by Nelson McDowall. The awkwardness of the preacher/musician adds a touch of comic relief to the tense situation as the travelers come to realize that Magua is not their friend. Friends will be found in the forest in the scout Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and his son Uncas.

Barbara Bedford, Albert Roscoe

Despite the knowledge and experience of the rescuers, escaping Magua and his Huron confederates is no easy task. A night spent in a hidden cave is an uneasy time for all. However, Cora and Uncas find they have a shared attraction and compatible souls. How inconvenient when they are faced with such challenges.

Eventually, our beleaguered group reaches Fort William Henry at the same time as the troops. Those troops and Colonel Munro are betrayed by the cowardly Captain Randolph to Montcalm. Under a flag of truce, the French commander informs Colonel Munro that he is aware that the British defenses are not what they should be and that no further help is coming. Montcalm and the Huron leaders pledge that the women and children, and soldiers may leave the fort under protection to which Monro reluctantly agrees.

Nelson McDowall, Barbara Bedford, Lillian Hall

Emboldened by alcohol and the urging of the magnetic Magua, many Braves turn their back on the word of their leaders and ambush those leaving Fort William Henry. It is a brutal scene that has not been equaled by many movies since. Cora and Alice are kidnapped by Magua who is pursued by Uncas, Chingachgook, Hawkeye, Munro, and Heyward.

Barbara Bedford, Albert Roscoe

Magua seeks his rights through the Delaware council. It is judged that Cora rightfully belongs with the Mohican Uncas, a cousin of the Delaware but that Magua may take Alice as the spoils of war. The protective nature of her relationship with her sister is overwhelming and Cora offers to exchange herself for Alice. The Delaware offer Magua safe passage until sundown at which time Uncas vows to follow.

Barbara Bedford, Albert Roscoe

After almost 200 years since the novel's publication, I have no fear of spoiling the story which reaches its tragic climax on a rocky promontory where lovely and often misunderstood Cora and her valiant protector Uncas lose their lives. Vengeance of a sort comes to Chingachgook with the death of the hated Magua but it does not assuage his pain.

Theodore Lorch

Chingachgook: "Woe for the race of red men! In the morning of life I saw the sons of my forefathers, happy and strong - and before nightfall I have seen the passing of the last of the Mohicans!"


Of note:

The Last of the Mohicans, 1920 was placed on the National Film Registry for culturally significant films in 1995.

You may be interested in my piece on the 1936 version of The Last of the Mohicans. The Dudley Nichols screenplay was a strong influence on the popular 1992 film, and its retelling of the story which sets the romance on its head is familiar to most film fans.

Maurice Tourneur is the father of director Jacques Tourneur who gave us such classics as Out of the Past and Stars in My Crown.

Barbara Bedford and Albert (Alan) Roscoe (Cora and Uncas) were married from 1922 to 1928, and again from 1930 to 1933 when Roscoe passed at the age of 46. The only child for both was their daughter Barbara Edith Roscoe.






CMBA 2021 FALL BLOGATHON, LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: Disney's Pluto

The Classic Movie Blog Association ( CMBA ) presents its Fall 2021 blogathon, Laughter is the Best Medicine . The contributions from members...