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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 53:44)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Italian - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Isolated music score

Last Of The Mohicans

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 108 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Set in 1757 during the war between England and France for control of the American colony, The Last Of The Mohicans is a love story. An opposites attract relationship between Nathaniel (Daniel Day Lewis), a hunter, and Cora (Madeleine Stowe), the daughter of an English Red Coat Colonel.

Nathaniel was found and raised by a proud Mohican warrior named Chingachgook and his real son, Ancas. They have grown up together and now make a living on the frontier hunting for fur. They follow the traditions of the Mohican people taking only what they need and never kill just for the fur.

Cora and her sister Alice have left their privileged life in England and have travelled to America to be with their father, Colonel Munro, who is the commander of Fort William Henry. The two women are met by Major Duncan Heyward and an escort of Red Coats to take them to the fort. Travelling with them is an indian named Magua, who will guide them to the fort. Part of the way to their destination the group are ambushed by an indian war party led, as it turns out, by Magua. Caught by surprise, the Red Coat soldiers are quickly despatched. Luckily, Nathaniel, Chingachgook and Ancas have noticed the trail of the war party and have been following them. The Huron war party are themselves ambushed and only Magua is able to escape.

Magua is an agent who is actually working for the French. He returns to the French lines where it is revealed that he has vowed to kill Colonel Munro and all of his children as revenge for the death of his own family.

Meanwhile, the hunters agree to escort Cora, Alice and Major Heyward to Fort William Henry as they know that the three have little chance of making it without them. Cora is at first unimpressed with Nathaniel but grows increasingly attracted to him as she sees that he is not a savage but is instead a proud, intelligent, independent and honourable man. Their attraction grows as they make the dangerous journey to the fort.

Well I think that enough of the plot has been revealed! If you want to know more, get down to your closest video store or trot down to your local retailer and grab a copy.

This movie has a couple of things going for it in the form of the director Michael Mann (Heat, Manhunter and The Insider) and top notch cinematographer Dante Spinotti (The Insider, L.A. Confidential and The Quick And The Dead), not to mention a quality cast. I've been wanting to see this movie for ages but had never had the chance, so I was very pleased to be given the opportunity to review this disc. I was not disappointed by this movie at all, driven by a strong screenplay (co-written by Michael Mann and Christopher Crowe), wonderful cinematography and a powerful score this makes for one "bottler" of a film.

  Video
Contract

OK, checklist of important bits of information, 16x9 enhanced? Check. Aspect ratio the same as the theatrical release? Check. So far so good. So how does the transfer look? Well, the news is pretty good.

I'd call this a second tier transfer. This is a transfer that has no major problems, but doesn't quite stack up to the calibre of say Seven, Gladiator or The Patriot. The positives for this transfer are many, with a natural looking colour palette, accurate skin tones, a good black level and realistic shadow detail all worthy of mention. What pulls this transfer down is the variable sharpness and detail levels. In some scenes the detail levels are close to the best while in others you can't help but notice the general softness of the image. This transfer just doesn't have that "crystal clear" look to it like some of the gold titles I've mentioned above.

You can often see grain in the image, but fortunately it is fine enough to avoid drawing your attention away from the film itself. I saw film artefacts throughout the movie but not to the point of becoming a distraction. Film-to-video artefacts are well controlled with only trivial occurrences of aliasing noticed.

There are two versions of this film available in Region 1. The first is not 16x9 enhanced and features the theatrical cut of the movie. It was released first, some time ago. The second is 16x9 enhanced and features a new cut of the film by director Michael Mann. I recently read a review of the new disc and the reviewer commented on a couple of obvious cuts. It would appear that our disc also features the re-cut version as there are a couple of quite abrupt scene changes during the film as well as a very jarring one early on in which the image jumps noticeably. This movie was Michael Mann's pet project. He co-wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film as well as directing. Apparently the 1936 version was the first movie he ever saw and it left a lasting impression on him.

  Audio
Contract

Here is my one word description for this Dolby Digital 5.1 audio transfer, NICE! OK, I can't just settle on one word, so here are some further observations for you!

All of the ingredients of a great audio transfer are present on this disc. Split channel effects occur in many places both across the front soundstage and from front to rear. Apart from these effects the surrounds are also used to carry ambient sounds like wind in the trees and crowd babble. The score is also heard in them throughout the film. The subwoofer is well used in supporting the boom of cannon fire and thump of explosions. It also has a strong role supporting the score. I myself felt that it was a little over done during some passages of the score, but others may enjoy it. Apart from these couple of minor excesses, the work of composers Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman is excellent.

  Extras
Contract

Theatrical Trailer Framed at 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this trailer is of excellent quality. It runs for 1:53 and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround sound.

Isolated Music Track Featuring a fine Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer, this is a nice inclusion for fans of this powerful score, although I myself would have preferred a director's commentary.

  Overall  
Contract

I have to confess to being a fan of Michael Mann (if you haven't already guessed). He is a talented director who is not afraid of giving a story plenty of time to develop. In this movie Mann has surrounded himself with talented film makers, not to mention great actors, and the end result is quality all the way. While the video transfer is good, the slightly variable nature of the sharpness is a little disappointing. No problems with the audio transfer though. Thank goodness this fine film has been released on DVD. About bloody time!


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      And I quote...
    "Boasting a talented cast, driven by a strong screenplay, featuring wonderful photography and a powerful score this is one "bottler" of a movie."
    - Michael Chappell
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Loewe Xenix 5006DD
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 105(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Grundig MW82-50/8 IDTV 16:9
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-2801
    • Speakers:
          Tannoy Mercury M4
    • Centre Speaker:
          Tannoy Mercury MC
    • Surrounds:
          Tannoy Mercury M1
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-120
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster Lightspeed 100
    • Video Cables:
          ConCord SCART
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