Watched: November 17 2019
Director: Cy Endfield
Starring: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson, James Booth, Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Runtime: 2h 18min
The year is 1879. In South Africa, imperialism rules, but Zulus have attacked a white settlement and won, which inspires another tribe to do the same to a nearby mission/military hospital.
At the mission, Lieutenants Chard (Baker) and Bromhead (Caine) must learn to work together and cooperate if they are to defend themselves from the 4000 advancing Zulus with their own measly 150 soldiers, many wounded.
Zulu is a famous epic depicting real events with surprisingly little racism considering the subject matter and the time. Sure, we do not really see the Zulus’ side of the story, and they are a nameless, faceless, personalityless mass for most of the movie. However, they are also intelligent, strategic, cultured and honorable, which makes the film a lot less dated than we’d expect.
The cinematography is gorgeous, the characters are great (Bromhead is a very shady queen!), and the suspense is real. Also, fun fact, the Zulu king Cetshwayo kaMpande is played by his real life grandson Mangosuthu Buthelezi.
We loved the arrival of the Zulu, the British adherence to protocol even in a crisis (proper tunic etiquette is to be observed at all times!), the action, and the game we made up wherein we recast the movie using only Monty Python members (they all correspond perfectly with a character in the film!). And did we mention it is gorgeous? Well worth a watch!
What we learned: Invade someone’s land and they might be a bit pissed off.
Next time: #249 Bunny Lake is Missing (1965)