The untold story of the film Zulu starring Michael Caine, 50 years on

by Peter D. Marshall

by Sheldon Hall.

p28zulu4
This Wednesday marks a double anniversary. On 22 January 1879, at a remote mission station in Natal, South Africa, barely more than 100 British soldiers held off wave after wave of attacks by some 4,000 Zulu warriors. The Battle of Rorke’s Drift lasted 10 hours, from late afternoon till just before dawn the following morning. By the end of the fighting, 15 soldiers lay dead, with another two mortally wounded. Surrounding the camp were the bodies of 350 Zulus.

This makes for a remarkable tale of courage and tenacity, on both sides of the perimeter. But historically the battle was a minor incident which had little influence on the course of the Anglo-Zulu War. It might have remained a footnote in the history books or an anecdote told at regimental dinners had it not been for a film which dramatised the story and has kept it in the public mind ever since.

Premiered 85 years to the day after the event it commemorates, the film Zulu is 50 years’ old this week. On its initial release, in 1964, it was one of the biggest box-office hits of all time in the home market. For the next 12 years it remained in constant cinema circulation before making its first appearance on television. It has since become a Bank holiday television perennial, and remains beloved by the British public. But the story behind the film’s making is as unusual as the one that it tells.

Read the rest of this article from Independent.

Sign up now for your own FREE monthly subscription to “The Director’s Chair” filmmaking ezine and get the first 41 pages of my 258 page Film Directing Multi-Media Online course, “The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

Previous post:

Next post: