Film Zulu Dawn:General Lord Chelmsford: For a savage, as for a child, chastisement is sometimes a kindness. Sir Henry Bartle Frere: Let us hope, General, that this will be the final solution to the Zulu problem.
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 Zulu (film)

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PostSubject: Zulu (film)   Zulu (film) EmptyMon Sep 21, 2009 8:39 pm

The film was directed by blacklisted American screenwriter[2] Cy Endfield and produced by Stanley Baker and Endfield, with Joseph E. Levine as executive producer. The screenplay is by John Prebble and Endfield, based on an article by Prebble, an historical writer. The music is by John Barry and the cinematography by Stephen Dade. The film stars Stanley Baker and Michael Caine, in his first starring role, with a supporting cast that includes Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Nigel Green, Paul Daneman, Glynn Edwards and Patrick Magee. The opening and closing narration is spoken by Richard Burton. The film was made by Diamond Films, Stanley Baker's newly-formed production company,[2] and distributed by Paramount Pictures in all countries except the United States, where it was distributed by Embassy Pictures.
The film was compared by Baker to a Western movie, with the traditional roles of the United States Cavalry and Native Americans taken by the British and the Zulus respectively. The film acknowledges the Zulus' bravery. Director Endfield showed a Western to Zulu extras to demonstrate the concept of film acting and how he wanted the warriors to conduct themselves.[2]
Most of the characters in the film were based on actual participants of the battle, but their behaviour is mostly fictional – something that has provoked disapproval: in an interview on the DVD, the descendants of Private Hook object to his negative portrayal in the film (he is depicted as a thief and malingerer, though his character acts bravely near the end of the movie during some desperate fighting). Indeed, Hook's elderly daughters walked out of the film's 1964 London premiere, angry at the way their father had been depicted.
A prequel, Zulu Dawn, about the Battle of Isandhlwana which immediately preceded the Battle of Rorke's Drift, was released in 1979. It was also written by Cy Endfield, and starred Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole.

In 1879, a communiqué from British South Africa to the government in London, narrated by Richard Burton, details the crushing defeat of a British force at the hands of the Zulus at the Battle of Isandhlwana. The first scene shows a grassy landscape with many dead British soldiers, while victorious Zulus gather their weapons.
A mass Zulu marriage ceremony witnessed by missionary Otto Witt (Jack Hawkins), his daughter (Ulla Jacobsson) and Zulu King Cetshwayo (Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi) is interrupted by a messenger who informs Cetshwayo of the great victory earlier in the day.
A company of the British Army's 24th Regiment of Foot, depicted as a Welsh regiment, is using the missionary station of Rorke's Drift in Natal as a supply depot and hospital for their invasion force across the border in Zululand. Upon receiving news of Isandhlwana from the Witts and that a large enemy force is advancing their way, Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker) of the Royal Engineers assumes command of the small British detachment, being senior to Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine). Realising that they cannot outrun the Zulu army, especially with wounded soldiers, Chard decides to fortify the station and make a stand, using wagons, sacks of mealie, and crates of ship's biscuit. When Witt becomes drunk and starts demoralising the men with his dire predictions, causing the soldiers of the Natal Native Contingent to desert, Chard orders him and his daughter to leave in their carriage.
As the Zulu impis approach, a contingent of Boer horsemen arrives. THey advise Chard that defending the station is hopeless before they flee, despite Chard's desperate pleas for them to stay. Zulu sharpshooters open fire on the station from a neighbouring hill. Over the next few hours, wave after wave of Zulu attacks are repulsed. The attackers succeed in setting fire to the hospital, leading to intense fighting between British patients and Zulu warriors as the former try to escape the flames. Malingering Private Henry Hook (James Booth) surprises everyone by taking charge in the successful breakout. Attacks continue into the night, finally forcing the British to withdraw into a tiny redoubt built from supply crates and mealie bags.
The next morning, at dawn, the Zulus withdraw several hundred yards and begin singing a war chant; the British respond by singing "Men of Harlech". In the last assault, just as it seems the Zulus will finally overwhelm the tired defenders, a reserve of soldiers Chard had hidden behind a final redoubt emerge, form into three ranks, and pour volley after volley into the stunned natives. They withdraw after sustaining heavy casualties. Later, the Zulus sing a song to honour the bravery of the British defenders and leave. The film ends with a narration by Richard Burton, listing defenders who received the Victoria Cross, including Private Hook. Eleven were awarded for the actual fighting at Rorke's Drift, the most ever for a regiment in a single battle in British military history.

· Stanley Baker as Lieutenant John Chard
· Michael Caine as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, his first major role
· Jack Hawkins as Reverend Otto Witt, a Swedish missionary based at Rorke's Drift
· James Booth as Private Henry Hook, described as "a thief, a coward, and an insubordinate barrack-room lawyer"
· Nigel Green as Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne.
· Glynn Edwards as Corporal William Allen, portrayed as a model soldier
· Ivor Emmanuel as Private Owen, a Welsh baritone and head of the company choir. At the end, Owen leads the men in singing "Men of Harlech".
· Neil McCarthy as Private Thomas
· Patrick Magee as Surgeon-Major James Henry Reynolds, the overworked doctor
· Gert Van den Bergh as Lieutenant Josef Adendorff, an Afrikaner officer serving with the Natal Native Contingent and a survivor of the battle at Isandhlwana
· Dickie Owen as Corporal Schiess, a hospitalised Swiss corporal in the Natal Native Contingent
Zulu was made at Twickenham Film Studios, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK and on location in South Africa, at Drakensberg Mountains, KwaZulu-Natal, and the national parks of KwaZulu-Natal. The Super Technirama 70 cinematographic process was used.
Michael Caine, who at this time in his career was primarily playing bit parts, was originally up for the role of Private Henry Hook, which went to James Booth. According to Caine, he was extremely nervous during his screen test for the part of Bromhead, and director Cy Endfield told him that it was the worst screen test he had ever seen, but they were casting Caine in the part anyway because the production was leaving for South Africa shortly and they hadn't found anyone else for the role.[2]
Caine's performance in Zulu won him praise from reviewers, and his next film role would be as the star of The Ipcress File in which he was reunited with Nigel Green.[2]
Zulu recevied highly positive reviews from critics, earning a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, and Pablo Villaca of Cinema em Cena gave the film three stars. Dennis Schwartz of Ozus Movie Reviews praised Caine's performacne, calling it, "one of his most splendid hours on film" and graded the film A. However Emmanuel Levy of Emmanuel Levy.com only gave the film a three out of five stars.

Awards and honours
Zulu received no Academy Award nominations, but Ernest Archer was nominated for a BAFTA Award for "Best Colour Art Direction" on the film.[2] In 2004, however, the magazine Total Film named Zulu the 37th greatest British movie of all time, and it was voted eighth in the British television programme The 100 Greatest War Films.[3] Empire Magazine named Zulu #351 on their list of the 500 greatest films.
In the US, Zulu officially lapsed into the public domain, meaning there have been several issues of the film on home video/LaserDisc/DVD in North America — most notably an LD release by the Criterion Collection which retains the original stereophonic soundtrack and taken from a 70mm print. An official DVD release (with a mono soundtrack as the original stereo tracks were not available) was later issued by Embassy's successor-in-interest, StudioCanal (with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer handling video distribution). StudioCanal (the current owner of the Embassy theatrical library) had acquired US control of the film in 2000 after its copyright was restored. Outside the USA, the film has always been owned by Paramount Pictures.
· A soundtrack album by John Barry featuring one side of film score music and one side of "Zulu Stamp" music was released on the Ember Records in the UK and United Artists Records outside the Commonwealth
· A comic book by Dell Publishing was released to coincide with the film that features scenes and stills not in the completed film
· Conte toy soldier playsets decorated with artwork and stills from the film were produced.
· Though not advertised as a film tie in, in the United States in the mid 1960's, a child's toy blowgun the size of a ball point called a "Zulugun" was produced that shot plastic sticking darts that reportedly were often inhaled and swallowed.[4]
In popular culture
· The "Battle of Helm's Deep" sequence in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers was filmed in a manner deliberately reminiscent of Zulu, according to Jackson's comments in supplemental material included in the special extended DVD edition of The Two Towers.
· The Germanic war chant in the battle scene at the beginning of Ridley Scott's film Gladiator is the Zulu war chant from Zulu. In the video commentary, Scott revealed that Zulu was one of his favourite movies.
· The Battle of O'Rourke's Ford in S.M. Stirling's science fiction novel On the Oceans of Eternity is a recreation of the movie premise, right down to a malingering Private Hook.
· In the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000, made by Games Workshop, there is a battle very similar to the one featured in Zulu. The only major difference was that the British soldiers were replaced with Praetorian Imperial Guard, and the Zulu forces with Ork hordes.
Historical inaccuracies

Historical picture of Zulu warriors from about the same time as the events depicted in Zulu
Although writer Cy Endfield consulted with a Zulu tribal historian for information from Zulu oral tradition about the attack,[2] a number of historical inaccuracies in the film have been noted:
The regiment
· The 24th Regiment of Foot is described as a Welsh regiment: in fact, although based in Brecon in south Wales, its designation was the 24th (The 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot. It did not become the South Wales Borderers until 1881. Of the soldiers present, 49 were English, 32 Welsh, 16 Irish and 22 others of indeterminate nationality.[5][6][7]
· The song "Men of Harlech" features prominently as the regimental song; it did not become so until later. At the time of the battle, the regimental song was "The Warwickshire Lad". There was no "battlefield singing contest" between the British and the Zulus.[8]
· The British infantrymen of the Anglo-Zulu War did not wear sparkling white pith helmets. They were stained a tan colour (with tea or coffee) without helmet plates.[9]
Chard and Bromhead
· Gonville Bromhead was partially deaf, a disability not mentioned in the film. All the characters in the film pronounce Bromhead's name as it is spelt. In reality it was pronounced 'Brumhead'. He was also significantly older than portrayed and like many Victorian gentlemen of the period sported substantial facial hair.
· John Chard, portrayed by Baker as a cleanshaven man with combed back hair, actually sported a large handlebar moustache and more traditional sideparting in his hair.
· The seniority of Chard over Bromhead (measured by their dates of commission) was three years, not three months as in the film. Also, there was no dispute over command. Lieutenant Chard was left in charge, due to seniority, by Major Henry Spalding well before the battle. Spalding rode off to get reinforcements, but his motives have been questioned.[10]
· Both Chard and Bromhead are portrayed as being intelligent and able officers. In reality, Chard was widely regarded as inefficient and had a reputation for laziness.[11] Bromhead was a popular officer within the 24th, acquiring the nickname "Gunny." However, he never seems to have been trusted with any meaningful responsibilities (possibly because of his deafness). It was for this reason that his company was selected to guard Rorke's Drift, a position it was never imagined would be attacked.[citation needed]
· The building of defensive ramparts and initial defence of Rorke's Drift was organised by Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton. His distinction was rewarded with the Victoria Cross, presented a year after the battle. The film gives most of the credit to Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead. The real Dalton had retired in 1871 as a Quartermaster Sergeant after 22 years of service in the 85th Regiment of Foot of the British Army before volunteering for the Commissariat and Transport Department. The film, however, portrays Dalton as something of an effete character, who does little that might be called heroic. This makes his award seem something of a mystery. In reality, much of the credit for the defence of the mission station must in fact go to Dunne and Dalton of the commissariat department.
· During the period when the mission station is fortified, the wagons used in the barricades are seen to be tipped over onto their sides. In reality, they remained upright, and the gaps between were plugged with biscuit boxes and mealie bags (Chard had placed them this way so that the Zulus would have to climb over the wagons to engage the British soldiers standing behind them, thus giving the defenders more time to shoot).
The Witts
There are several errors concerning the Swedish missionaries, the Witts. In the film, Witt is depicted as a middle aged widower, a pacifist and drunkard, who has an adult daughter called Margareta. In reality, Otto Witt was aged 30, and had a wife, Elin, and two infant children. Witt's family were at Oscarberg 30 km away at the time of the battle. On the morning of the battle, Otto Witt, with the chaplain, George Smith and Surgeon-Major James Henry Reynolds had ascended Shiyane, the large hill near the station, and noticed the approach of the Zulu force across the Buffalo River. Far from being a pacifist, Witt had cooperated closely with the army and negotiated a lease to put Rorke's Drift at Lord Chelmsford's disposal. Witt made it clear that he did not oppose British intervention against Cetshwayo. He had stayed at Rorke's Drift because he wished "to take part in the defence of my own house and at the same time in the defence of an important place for the whole colony, yet my thoughts went to my wife and to my children, who were at a short distance from there, and did not know anything of what was going on". He therefore left on horseback to join his family shortly before the battle.[12]
· The officers are shown using Webley Mk VI .455 revolvers which were not introduced until 1915 (36 years after the events depicted in the film) instead of the Beaumont-Adams revolvers that Bromhead and Chard actually used. However, the British officer of the time was allowed to use any sort of sidearm he wished, as long as it fired .455 ammunition. Officers often privately purchased Webley top-break revolvers (in 1879 not yet officially adopted for service) somewhat similar in appearance to the Mk VI Webley. These Webley models had been put on the market during the 1870s - such as the Webley-Green army model 1879 or the Webley-Pryse model. So, whilst the Webley model Mk VI was not yet developed when the film was set, the design is typical of Webley revolvers of the period and can be seen as an example of artistic licence.
· Several men can be seen using Lee-Enfield Mk. I bolt-action rifles instead of the historically correct Martini-Henry.[8] Apparently, they ran out of .450/577 blanks during filming - close observation shows that, in many cases, the actors are simply dry-shooting the empty Martini-Henrys and simulating the recoil, with the gunshot sound effect dubbed in later.
· None of the rifles used by the Zulus were taken from dead British soldiers after the Battle of Isandlwana, as NNC Lieutenant Adendorff in the film suggests. The Zulus attacking Rorke's Drift were largely older and married regiments. Their assignment at Isandlwana had been to cut off retreat and they had not been on the battlefield itself. Most of their firearms were obsolete Brown Bess muskets, purchased decades earlier from traders, including James Rorke.
· Whenever a Zulu falls to the bullets from Martini-Henry rifles in the film, they drop dead with small wounds visible and with only little trickles of blood (as when 612 Williams shoots a Zulu in the hospital who is in the act of stabbing Private Hook). But wounds inflicted from the heavy .45 ins lead bullets would create massive gaping holes and much tissue damage. Presumably, the film-makers would not wish to show this to an audience at the time.
· Colour-Sergeant Bourne is depicted as wielding a standard triangular spike-bayonet. However, noncommissioned officers at this period were issued the P1860/75 sword-bayonet. This may be artistic licence however, suggesting he picked up a spare rifle with ordinary bayonet rather than his own- especially considering sword-bayonets were notoriously cumbersome and unwieldy weapons.
The men of the regiment
· Many of the men had full beards at the time of the battle. The film depicts them as largely clean shaven, with some sporting carefully-tended moustaches or sideburns.
· Surgeon Reynolds is played by Patrick Magee as a middle-aged Irishman. In actuality Reynolds was thirty-five at the time of the battle. During the Battle of Rorke's Drift, Reynolds went round the barricades, distributing ammunition and tending to wounded there, something that is not shown in the film.[13] During the closing voiceover, he is also incorrectly referred to as "Surgeon-Major, Army Hospital Corps"; Reynolds was of the Army Medical Department, and was not promoted to the rank of Surgeon-Major until after the action at Rorke's Drift.[14] Magee's portrayals apparent pacifism is also somewhat anachronistic, and not based on the historical Surgeon Reynolds.
· Private Henry Hook VC is depicted as a rogue with a penchant for alcohol; in fact he was a model soldier who later became a sergeant; he was also a teetotaller. While the film has him in the hospital "malingering, under arrest", he had actually been assigned there specifically to guard the building.[15] The filmmakers felt that the story needed an anti-hero who redeems himself in the course of events, but the film's presentation of Hook caused his daughters to walk out of the film premier in disgust.[16]
· Conversely, Corporal William Allen is depicted as a model soldier; in fact, he had recently been demoted from sergeant for drunkenness.
· Colour Sergeant Bourne (1854-1945) is depicted as a big, hardened, middle-aged veteran; in fact, he was of smaller stature and, aged 23, the youngest colour sergeant in the British Army.[17] He was called 'The Kid' by his men.[18] Sergeant Bourne would not have worn medals on his duty uniform. Moreover, Green's costume has the chevrons on the wrong arm.
· The role of Padre George Smith ["Ammunition" Smith] is completely ignored.[19]
· The real Sergeant Maxfield, as in the film, was delirious with fever. However, he was too weak to leave his bed and was stabbed to death by Zulus while the other sick and injured were being evacuated from the room.
· Private Cole was assigned to defend the hospital, not the perimeter. He was killed when he ran out of the hospital alone, possibly due to claustrophobia. Since he was killed by a bullet to the head, his last words in the film are unlikely to be authentic.
· Corporal Christian Ferdinand Schiess was significantly younger than the actor who portrayed him. At the time of his death in 1884 – five years after the battle – he was 28 years old.[20]
· Private Hitch was shot through the shoulder, not the leg, as Allen is in the film.
· Sergeant Windridge, played by the film's stunt co-ordinator Joe Powell, described as The Sergeant with the Muscles, would not be able to carry two mealie bags on his shoulders, as seen in the fortifying of the post. The mealies were described as big, heavy things, weighing about 200 pounds each. For the film, the mealie-bags were filled with wood-shavings.
[edit] The Africans
· The attack on the mission station was not ordered by King Cetshwayo, as the audience is led to believe in the film. Cetshwayo had specifically told his warriors not to invade Natal, the British Colony. The attack was led by Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande, the King's half-brother, who pursued fleeing survivors at Isandlwana across the river and then moved on to attack Rorke's Drift.
· Captain Stephenson, and his detachment of white cavalry, claim to have come from "Durnford's Horse" when they ride up to the mission station. In reality, they were members of the Natal Native Horse, mainly composed of black riders, who had survived the Battle of Isandlwana and had ridden to Rorke's Drift to warn and aid the garrison there. The story of the black Natal Native Contingent troops' desertion is true. However, as Witt had already left, he was not responsible for their departure. They left of their own will, with Stephenson and his European NCOs.[21] These deserters were shot at and one of the NCOs, Corporal Anderson, was killed. Stephenson was later convicted of desertion at court-martial and dismissed from the army. The uniforms of the Natal Native Contingent are inaccurate; NNC troops were not issued with European-style clothes.
[edit] Others involved
· The column of British irregular cavalry seen briefly in the film was actually at Rorke's Drift. However, Chard ordered them to leave after finding that they had little ammunition of their own.[22]
· The ending of the film is somewhat fictitious. There was no Zulu attack at dawn on 23 January 1879, which in the film led to the singing of "Men of Harlech". There was only sparse fighting with a few remaining Zulus. The Zulus did not sing a song saluting fellow warriors, and they did not depart peacefully. They departed at the approach of a British relief column.[8][15]
· The film omits the killing of wounded Zulus by British soldiers after the battle. There has been speculation that many may have been bayonetted, clubbed or shot in the battle's aftermath. (This was common practice if a small force prevailed over a much larger one, as it would have been unable to guard all the prisoners.)
[edit] See also
· Zulu Dawn (a prequel to this film)
[edit] References
[edit] Notes
1. ^ BBC - Films - review - Zulu DVD, BBC, accessed 30 April 2007.
2. ^ a b c d e f g [Stafford, Jeff "Zulu" (TCM article)
3. ^ 100 Greatest War Films
5. ^ Information from Regiment of Wales
6. ^ Several inaccuracies pointed out in Rorke's Drift VC.com
7. ^ South African Military History Journal Vol 4 No 4
8. ^ a b c Rorke's Drift vc.com myths
9. ^ Reference to tea stained pith helmets
10. ^ Biography of John Chard
11. ^ Zulu by Saul David, pp230
12. ^ Journal of South African Military History Society Vol 10 No 4
13. ^ Brief bio of James Reynolds
15. ^ BBC News site
16. ^ The battle to rehabilitate Zulu's Henry Hook after film portrayed him as drunken malingerer, by Laura Roberts, Daily Mail 2008
17. ^ Biography of Frank Bourne
18. ^ From Frank Bourne's account broadcast by the BBC in 1936
19. ^ Brief bio of George Smith
20. ^ Brief bio of Christian Schiess
21. ^ Isibindi Africa
22. ^ Isibindi Africa
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Join date : 2009-09-21

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu (film)   Zulu (film) EmptyMon Sep 21, 2009 9:53 pm

I have the special edition relase of Zulu which has those same sleeve notes. I'm saddened to see that Stanley Baker only gets a token mention.

Whilst I think Michael Caine played a fantastic role, considering that the film was early in his career, I have to agree that Baker should have had due recognition. For me he will always be the star in this one.
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PostSubject: Re: Zulu (film)   Zulu (film) EmptyTue Sep 22, 2009 8:18 pm

Hi Dave. Welcome to the forum.

I totally agree, this is Sir Stanley Bakers film; he was the driving force behind it. I have copy of a documentary filmed in 1996,20 years after the death of Stanley...Michael Caine says, he was nearly dumped from the film for getting things wrong. But Stanley baker insisted he stayed. And has they say the rest is history.
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