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Thread: Zulu (1964)

  1. #21
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    By the way, visit one of the Rourke's Drift websites - the film 'Zulu' wasn't all that faithful to the facts!!
    That's an understatement

    About the only thing they were accurate about was that a battle happened.



    The film was "very loosely" based on the real event.



    Steve

  2. #22
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    For me ,the actor who stole the show was Nigel Green as colour sergeant Frank Bourne his understated performance was so convincing,superb!

    As regards Michael Caine ,i must be missing something,as every film i have seen him in he plays "Michael Caine"although in this film he did at least have a posh accent.He always gives me the impression that he has just come out of drama school.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Country: Aaland dremble wedge's Avatar
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    For me ,the actor who stole the show was Nigel Green
    Agree with you there, but then Nigel Green stole most of the films he was in...

  4. #24
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Agree with you there, but then Nigel Green stole most of the films he was in...
    He was also excellent in The Criminal. Another one who died too young.



    Bats.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: England
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    For me ,the actor who stole the show was Nigel Green as colour sergeant Frank Bourne his understated performance was so convincing,superb!

    As regards Michael Caine ,i must be missing something,as every film i have seen him in he plays "Michael Caine"although in this film he did at least have a posh accent.He always gives me the impression that he has just come out of drama school.
    Interestingly, Nigel Green ended up with a larger part than originally written. In his book on Zulu, Sheldon Hall mentions that Joe Powell, who played Sgt Windridge (the sergeant with the muscles) contracted an infection from an insect bite, and lines written for him were given to Nigel Green.



    The character of Sergeant Bourne is another example of the film changing things, as the real Frank Bourne was only 24 at the time of Rorkes Drift. Evidently a bit of a high flier to make Colour Sergeant at 24!

  6. #26
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    There is a special screening of "Zulu" on the 17th November 2007 at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. The screening is followed by a talk given by author Sheldon Hall who is mentioned in the threads here and is author of the definitive book on Zulu "with some guts behind it" Sounds like a good day out, not sure what form the screening will be whether its a digital projection or film projector, will have to wait and see,...see you down there!.....

  7. #27
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    On TV at the Weekend they were advertising a special 2 disc dvd of Zulu!

  8. #28
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    On TV at the Weekend they were advertising a special 2 disc dvd of Zulu!
    I was looking at it in HMV the other day, there is no mention of a restored print or superior visual quality on the packaging which is dissapointing considering the movie was shot on a slightly larger format negative than standard 35mm, so there is potential for superb quality of transfer,so Im assuming this special edition is the same visual quality as the previous DVD release a few years back which is not that great in my opinion. Also,this special edition has the same audio commentary as the last and sadly no contribution from Michael Caine. I love the film but I won't be buying this new release unless Im wrong about the quality of the transfer. The Bond films have been restored umpteen times for new editions so at least there is an improvement in quality in each release so why not on ZULU? I could be wrong but I would have thought if it had been restored and improved upon, that fact would be mentioned on the packaging and used as a selling point.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Well, bought the new dvd but haven't had chance to view it yet; quite like the poster though. I did see a post on the rorkesdriftvc website from someone who has looked at it and says it has been restored, apparently very vivid colours, they seem to have made a good job of it. Just need to get the wife to go out so I can take a look at it myself.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    I have the DVD and watched it many times but just like 'Battle of Britain' , ' A Bridge Too Far' or 'Memphis Belle' when it's shown on TV I never miss it.



    One of the VC holders of Roukes Drift is buried in a local cemetery in a PAUPERS grave a sad indictment though it's has been revered in recent years. The original inscription didn't say VC but that was added sometime in the 1980's



    Definitley one of the movie GREATS

  11. #31
    Senior Member HUGHJAMPTON's Avatar
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    Sure the film is riddled with inaccuracies, but to paraphrase a quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, "When the legend becomes fact, film the legend".



    I always view this film in the way I first saw it, with no knowledge of the actual events, that way there is no detraction from the entertainment value.



    I do remember, that on it's initial release, the whole school,(boys, at least), was gripped with Zulu mania, and the battle re-enacted at playtimes, we were lucky that the scholol's playing fields, had rather a large slope in one area.

  12. #32
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    The film was shot in Technirama, which was a type of high definition VistaVision, but filmed with anamorphic lenses. The negative area, travelling horizontally through the camera gate rather than vertically, was twice that of the conventional 35mm frame and therefore twice the definition. Although most moviegoers like myself saw it as a 35mm CinemaScope print at the time, the colour and image quality, having been printed from the Technirama negative, were outstanding. I think it was also shown in 70mm Technirama in some cinemas.



    Of course, no matter what they do with the DVD, you wouldn't see any difference between a 35mm CinemaScope print and a 70mm Technirama print on a standard television set up. But when seeing it projected onto a big wide screen in a proper cinema, the difference in picture quality was plain to see. Among other famous films shot in Technirama have been The Vikings; The Big Country; The Miracle; Spartacus; El Cid and King of Kings.

  13. #33
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    Darren, here's the ad to go with your Technirama posting.



    The year is 1972, but slipped up somewhere at the time in recording how long that particular presentation at the Casino lasted.

  14. #34
    Member Country: UK
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    This is quite interesting:

    http://www.1879group.org/events.html



    We were in Llandrindod Wells one August and saw several people dressed in the uniforms. There is a Victorian Festival there each year and we'd just happened on it. There were talks about Rorke's Drift as well as the film being shown. Other people were dressed as W.G. Grace, etc. and the shops and shop assitants join in. In fact sometimes you can't tell what a shop is actually selling as it's window display is so different from normal. There is also a fair on the green, and among the attractions is a tent where you can hire costumes for the day to join in (we didnt, too busy, but might do one day) It's great fun.

  15. #35
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    This is quite interesting:

    http://www.1879group.org/events.html



    We were in Llandrindod Wells one August and saw several people dressed in the uniforms. There is a Victorian Festival there each year and we'd just happened on it. There were talks about Rorke's Drift as well as the film being shown. Other people were dressed as W.G. Grace, etc. and the shops and shop assitants join in. In fact sometimes you can't tell what a shop is actually selling as it's window display is so different from normal. There is also a fair on the green, and among the attractions is a tent where you can hire costumes for the day to join in (we didnt, too busy, but might do one day) It's great fun.
    When you're in the area, the South Wales Borderers Museum at Brecon is well worth a visit. They hold quite a few of the VCs from Rorke's Drift and they have lots of other mementoes as well



    Steve

  16. #36
    Senior Member Country: England woody123's Avatar
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    At the time of the battle the 24th were the 2nd Warwickshires and didn't become a Welsh regiment until they returned to the UK in 1881.According to Ian Knight the regiment recruited mainly from the Black Country .Stanley Baker saw an article in a Welsh magazine which had been written by someone who'd been to the 24th's museum in Brecon .As The South Wales Borderers they inherited exhibits and battle honours from their previous incarnations.Baker being a fervent Welsh patriot got behind the idea of filming the story.Would he have been so keen if the lads had been the Buffs or Northumberland fusiliers?

    Zulu is my favourite film but the Welsh patriotism gets up my nose a bit.

  17. #37
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    Zulu (UK, 1964)

    Alex gives her verdict:

    Reel history | Zulu: Michael Caine loses the plot, but wins the battle | Film | guardian.co.uk


    The battle of Rorke's Drift on 22-23 January 1879 was part of the Anglo-Zulu war. Fewer than 150 British soldiers, of whom almost a quarter were invalids before the fighting even started, defended a postage-stamp of land against 4,500 Zulu warriors. Though not strategically significant, it is famous for a shock British victory against near-impossible odds.

    War
    Zulu opens with a dramatic tableau of the burning wreckage and strewn British bodies over the battlefield at Isandlwana. It then cuts to a lengthy and interesting, if not entirely pertinent, mass marriage celebration at the court of the Zulu king Cetshwayo. This is the only peek into the Zulu side of the story you're going to get, so enjoy the five minutes while it lasts.

    At Rorke's Drift, a missionary outpost, B Company of the British army's 24th Regiment of Foot hears that Cetshwayo's Zulus are on the march. In fact, the attack on Rorke's Drift was probably the independent initiative of Cetshwayo's half-brother Dabulamanzi kaMpande, against Cetshwayo's orders. Dabulamanzi commanded the uThulwana regiment, and led the Zulu forces in the attack.

    People
    Two equally senior officers are present, lieutenants John Chard (Stanley Baker) and Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine). Chard assumes overall command, having held his commission for three months longer (in real life, three years and three months longer). The real Bromhead wasn't the sharp, steely character shown on screen. Described by a fellow officer as "a capital fellow at everything except soldiering", he was reputedly not very bright, and may have been assigned to Rorke's Drift because his partial deafness was thought to limit his ability to command.

    Details
    Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne is splendidly portrayed by Nigel Green as a bellowing, towering, middle-aged bear of a man, but in reality was a diminutive, skinny 24-year-old nicknamed "The Kid". At least Green has grown some decent Victorian whiskers. There's a disgraceful lack of appropriately fulsome moustaches among the cast: photographs of the real veterans of Rorke's Drift look like candidates for Britain's Best Walrus Impersonator 1879. (Winner: Lieutenant Chard; Mr Congeniality: Lieutenant Bromhead.)

    Heroism
    Moustaches aside, the veteran who has been most poorly served by Zulu is Private Henry Hook (James Booth), shown malingering in the hospital, and trying to cadge free booze. The real Private Hook had an exemplary record and was teetotal. The film redeems him when it comes to the fighting: a sudden burst of courage under fire has him shooting and bayoneting Zulus all over the place. While this whole flawed action hero thing works neatly as a cinematic device, it is not in the least bit accurate. Hook's daughter was so offended that she walked out of the film's premiere. Incidentally, Hook's photograph reveals not only that he was another worthy challenger in the walrus contest, but that he had a distinctive centre parting. This was actually a scar, the legacy of a close encounter with a Zulu assegai, which knocked off his pith helmet when he was defending the hospital. The film leaves this out, and even neglects to make him wear his pith helmet.

    Battle
    In real life, the last shot was fired around 4am. In the film, there's a showdown at first light, with yet another wave of Zulus turning up. Finally, it all comes down to a sing-off: Zulus versus Welshmen, the latter launching into Men of Harlech. The film's implication that the 24th was a Welsh regiment is two and a half years too early. In 1881, it would move to Wales, but in 1879 it was affiliated to Warwickshire. Most of its men at Rorke's Drift were English and Irish. Correspondingly, its regimental song was not Men of Harlech, but The Warwickshire Lads. Great scene, though.

    Verdict
    The Zulus are a mystery, the Welsh are misplaced, a Victoria Cross recipient is slandered, and no one has enough facial hair. Nonetheless, Zulu is a brilliantly made dramatisation of Rorke's Drift, and it does a fine job of capturing the spirit for which the battle is remembered.

  18. #38
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    Anyone read Adrian Greaves "Rorkes Drift" ? I've never read anything on the subject and know Ian Knight is an authority, but this looks promising. Any opinions ?

  19. #39
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Anyone read Adrian Greaves "Rorkes Drift" ? I've never read anything on the subject and know Ian Knight is an authority, but this looks promising. Any opinions ?
    I haven't read that one but I have read Ian Knight's book .... very interesting it is too.

  20. #40
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Anyone read Adrian Greaves "Rorkes Drift" ? I've never read anything on the subject and know Ian Knight is an authority, but this looks promising. Any opinions ?
    You might want to look out for Like Wolves on the Fold by Lt Col Mike Snook, an outstanding account of Rorke's Drift. Also How Can Man Die Better also by Col Snook, about the preceding battle of Isandlwana.

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