Hippodrome Silent Film Festival (HippFest) will open its 2018 programme with a rare screening of The Last of the Mohicans - the 1920 original adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel accompanied by a new score composed and performed by multi-instrumentalist David Allison.
Tickets for the opening night screening on Wednesday 21 March will go on sale at mid-day today (Tuesday 12 December).
The Last of the Mohicans is a thrill-packed adventure centred around two British sisters who are caught up in a war for colonial control of North America, and find protection under the care of the dwindling Mohican tribe. Later film versions (including that featuring Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in the 1990s) owe much to this exciting silent, filled with high-adventure and swoon-inducing romance.
Direction was begun by acclaimed French screenwriter Maurice Tourneur but he became ill during production, making way for his talented assistant Clarence Brown who went on to finish the job and launch a successful career in his own right, directing over 50 widely acclaimed full length films, including The Goose Woman (HippFest 2013) and National Velvet.
Festival Director (Falkirk Community Trust) Alison Strauss said: “We are delighted to be opening the 2018 Festival with this action-packed silent from 1920. The Last of the Mohicans is an early cinema classic and is rich in adventure and historical reference as well as emotional depth. The film portrays a time-period when Native Americans were being besieged by white Americans but also reminds us of the racial divides that existed at this time. Both Hawkeye and Uncas who are central to the film are non-Native actors, a practice entirely accepted by cinema audiences at that time. But, it is chastening to remember that, even up until the seventies, the major speaking roles for American Indians would still go to non-Native actors like Burt Lancaster and Charles Bronson. This film set the tone for Hollywood’s portrayal of ‘Indians’ for years to come…”
Despite this casting (which includes a small uncredited cameo appearance from Boris Karloff) throughout the film good and bad characters are dispersed amongst Native Americans, British and French alike.
Musician David Allison said: "I'm really looking forward to coming back to this wonderful festival in an extraordinary venue. In 2011 I really enjoyed doing a live soundtrack to Murnau's 1922 vampire film "Nosferatu" at HippFest. This time it's the turn of the well known story drama and passion in "The Last of the Mohicans" in a wonderful but rarely shown film from 1920."
Tickets for The Last of the Mohicans (1920) are available from Falkirk Community Trust’s Box Office on 01324 506850, or via www.hippfest.co.uk,
The full programme for the 2018 Festival will be announced on 6 February.
Tuesday, 12th December 2017