Friday, July 4, 2014

Flags in the Film - Last of the Mohicans 1992

 July 4, 1757 the fates of the American Colonies were being dealt by the Empires that be, or so as the dominant narrative goes.  As if the colonists had no part in the destiny of North America, except for the lading at Jamestown and 'first' celebration of Thanksgiving Day.

 If the French won or at least maintained a smaller portion of North America?  Would the colonies ever have rebelled with the threat of a French Empire? 

In 1992 the best pre-Revolutionary Colonial American movie was made - Last of the Mochians starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madelyn Stowe.  This film illustrates the lives, struggles, conflicts of the pre-Revolutionary ancestors of Canada and the US.

This war set up the historical fireworks for July 4, 1776.  During this war the colonies were allied with Prussia for world dominance.  Prussian-British victory after this nearly last of "Native American and French-Canadian Wars" put the English on a path for total world domination.

Usually the war depicted in the film is called the 'last' French and Indian War, but it was not.  For the French would fight the United Kingdom one last time on the continent from 1778 until peace was resolved and the 13 colonies made independent.  Although France was expelled from the mainland of North America she retained a few tiny isles in coastal areas of North America notably - St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Thus France gained a modicum of justice when the British lost their first born in 1776.  The American Revolution was also the proverbial final act or grand finale of the "French and Indian Wars" as the battles of the American Revolution involved "France" and "Indians."

 British and regimental flags with markings can be seen in the film.  The film maker, Michael Mann, did his homework and it paid off. 

This film also showed in brilliant color and depth the role that aboriginal-Americans played.  Previously before the 1960s Native Americas were portrayed in tacky one dimensional cartoonish like fashion who needed to be taught good western values with great insult to their religion and way of life.

In this film the negative and positive ways of aboriginal Native and Old World Newcomer Americans are dealt with, in an more honest light.


  1. I made the flags for the movie. The regimental colour of the 42d was buff, because the regiment had not been made a Royal regiment by the time of the movie's action. The 35th Regiment actually had orange uniform facings, and thus would have carried an orange regimental colour, but the director did not think that would look good, so he had the regimental made deep blue, which should have denoted a Royal regiment, which the 35th was not. He also added a strip of yellow fringe to the fly edge of one of the French colors. Otherwise, I stand by my research and think the flags pretty historically accurate and still look pretty good after all these years. (S. Hill).

  2. Since the movie was made, historical research has verified that the 35th facing color was much more yellow than thought. The historically accurate color is a yellow with a shade of orange to it, not the orange that it was thought to be. The true color is much more attractive than the "orange" that the movie tried to avoid. Today, no one would call the true color orange, everyone would call it yellow, and some may add with a hint of orange. No one could have known this at the time the movie was made.

    As it regards the blue flag. This was reserved for "Royal" Regiments. Lieutenant Colonel John Young of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Americans was at the Siege with an over-sized company of the 60th, his regimental flag would have been this blue color, with very minor differences for battalion and regimental identification. This would have been a more historically correct, but massive nick-picking. Fine with the way it is in the movie.

    The 42nd Highlanders did not receive their "Royal" tag until after just after the failed Ticonderoga Campaign in 1758. So their uniforms are correct for the period (1757). The 42nd was not at the Fort William Henry, but in Halifax waiting to sail to attack the French at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. A French fleet blocked the British and the British were forced to aborted the Campaign.

    1. Bah, in the pevious post it says the 42nd uniforms are "correct for the period (1757)". I meant to say the buff color of their facings is correct. In 1757, grenadiers wearing bear skin grenadier caps would be problematic. More likely a cloth grenadier cap, but I would have gone for the bearskin as well.

      Would have loved to edit the script where Monro and Heyward are talking about the French artillery, the progress of the French trench work and "pound us to dust". Now that needs a rewrite.

  3. What does the blue and gray French flag represent?