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The French get the first look at 'The Last of the Mohicans'


HOLLYWOOD -- The French will be getting the jump on Michael Mann's "The Last of the Mohicans," starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, when the movie opens there Wednesday -- a full month before its American release.

The $35 million historical drama -- a romance between a frontiersman (the adopted son of a Mohican) and the independent daughter of a British officer during the French and Indian wars -- was scheduled to open in the United States on July 4 and in France Wednesday. Complications set in, however, when the film's distributor, 20th Century Fox, pushed back the American opening to extricate the film from the summer action-adventure glut and better position it for Oscar consideration.

Morgan Creek, which put up half the money in exchange for the international rights, was reluctant to drop the French release date. They argued that the timing was good (the French would just be returning from their August vacations) and that the best theaters had been lined up.

Gary Barber, chief operating officer of Morgan Creek Productions, insists the prognosis is good. "Not only does the picture have a French backdrop," he begins, "but the Cooper novel is a phenomenally well-known title in France."

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