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ZULU - With Some Guts Behind It

Hall, Sheldon
ISBN 0-953-1926-6-0 Tomahawk Press

ZULU - With Some Guts Behind ItSheldon Hall has written an incredibly thorough book which goes into every aspect of the production in fascinating detail. It provides a splendid read and many marvellous illustrations that I had never seen before will delight the readers as much as they delighted me.
John Barry OBE


Zulu: With Some Guts Behind It is both a comprehensive analysis of the making the film and an affectionate tribute from a fanís perspective.

The book tracks the progress of the film from an initial idea by screenwriter John Prebble. Based on original accounts of the battle, the initial screenplay was adapted along the way. Fortunately some additions never made the final cut, such as an implied romance between Chard and fictional character Margaret Witt. Sheldon is immensely forgiving of the film's errors, believing it should be seen as drama not history. Liberties were taken with the truth, he argues, to provide a dramatic cutting edge, such as the dawn assault on the redoubt

Sheldon's research has been exhaustive, interviewing the major players, from both in front and behind the camera. The latter provide a valuable insight into the technical challenges of producing a film, especially in 1960s South Africa. Michael Caine's autobiography is quoted, but we fare better with new observations from the supporting cast.

A host of hitherto unseen images taken during the film's production, both candid and formal, pepper the book.

Zulu has been the door through which many entered the Anglo-Zulu War. For that, we are in the debt of Stanley Baker, Cy Endfield and the previously unknown names and faces who created this cinematic success. Sheldon has opened another door into the film-makerís world, from accounts of the budget to the creation of sound effects, for which the filmís devotees should be equally grateful.

(Peter Weedon Nov. 2005)


Review by Alan Critchley

It was a strange feeling reading the details of the making of 'ZULU' when the film has become part of the furniture. It's like sitting on a favourite settee for 40 years and then finding out where the nails were made and who hammered them in. Where the fabric came from and the life details of the weaver. The effect is to appreciate the comfort and familiarity even more.

It's like that with Sheldon's highly readable and entertaining book. The detailed information covers every aspect of the film from concept to completion. The information, even though extremely detailed, is never dull. I realised just how little I knew about what goes in to the making of a film. When the film is 'ZULU', it's doubly interesting. The amount of unused shots could probably make a film on its own. They would be worth seeing.

Sheldon has left no stone unturned in piecing together this entertaining but in-depth work. A tribute to his years of effort and knowledge and of those involved in the making of 'ZULU'. Well worth reading.

(July 2006)