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DateOriginal Topic
14th February 2005What a good laugh
By Garry
I couldnt help but laugh when i watched ZULU last night. The acting was very amaturish and was in some parts overacting. When Hitch i think it was got shot he first reached for his chest then he held his left leg. He was actually shot in the right leg.....Anyway why I watched it again for the umpteenth time was to see some things in it that i was told about years ago. They were 1) A coke can sitting near a tree. 2) A jet was supposedly left its vapour trail in the sky.
I could not find any evidence of the above. Has anyone else seen this or similar things that are unusual.
14th February 2005Invader

Ta-daaa. Also see for other movies hidden jokes. None seem to appear in Zulu.
14th February 2005Graham Mason
Dear Garry ,
Zulu was a film that is litterd with errors but good entertainment nonetheless , i set a competition on a South AFRICAN website recently where i found 43 " FAULTS " alone in one picture , yes HITCH was shown as being shot in the leg but Cpl Allan is shown as a big burly man as was C/ Sgt Bourne , various groups and organisations abound in the UK and abroad for the more serious aspects of this campaign . May i suggest a visit to BRECON and see the BEST collection / exhibit of the ZULU war and then check the internet for the many groups with a vested interest on this subject and you might look at things in a different light and nperhaps add to the growing font of knowledge to the pot of information . There are many VERY knowledgable folk in this forum who will answer questions with authority , there are many faults in ZULU but it stirs the heart and is not a comedy as i recall but an attempt to show what two sets of brave warriors did on a day in 1879 and as someone more wiser than i said " Why spoil a story with the facts " , Graham .
15th February 2005Sheldon Hall
I'll leave it to others to respond to Garry's comments about 'amateurish' acting, but there seems to be some confusion here about what constitute 'errors' or 'faults'. Several quite separate issues are being collapsed into one:
(1) distortions of historical fact for purposes of dramatic entertainment (Hitch being shot in the leg rather than the shoulder; Allan and Bourne being burly rather than slight);
(2) slips in continuity (Allan's wound being first on one side, then the other; alleged evidence of, e.g., landrovers, jet trails, Coke cans and those damned, elusive Zulu watches);
(3) questions of artistic quality (the stuff about 'over'-acting).
A fourth area might be unforeseen accidents which occurred during filming and were retained in the editing (e.g. the soldier tripping over a tent peg, mentioned in another recent thread).

All these involve quite separate considerations and should not be regarded as the same thing. It's not a straightforward matter to accuse a film of being 'faulty' because it doesn't meet your criteria of historical accuracy, or because conventions of 'realism' (in acting or the portrayal of violence) have changed over time. I need hardly point out that people do, in life (even in historic battles), trip over things, bump their heads, etc, and there are many spontaneous occurrences which happen in movies without their being 'errors'.

A bit of careful discrimination in terminology would help to clear the air of a lot of confusion!

15th February 2005Arthur Bainbridge
if Zulu was so amateurish how come it has stood the test of time and is now regargarded as an iconic movie.There should be no negative comments allowed about Zulu at all on this page
16th February 2005Diana Blackwell
I totally disagree. The finely-nuanced, uniformly convincing performances in "Zulu" are one of the movie's great strengths.

Good point. But surely censorship of opinions is the wrong way to go.

16th February 2005Garry
Invader.....Thanks for the other sites to check.

Graham.....I did not say that Zulu was a comedy , it was actually my training film in the army. I always enjoy watching it , but when someone poinys out certan errors in it that you havent noticed before does make you laugh.

Sheldon.....I have seen zulu's wearing watches but not the can or jet stream. Thank you for pointing out other things in the movie that i havent cared to notice or see.

Arthur.......Bad acting does not affect a movie when it has a cult following and other great actors in it doing a great job , ZULU has stood the test of time because it is based on fact and true heroism. I didnt make a negative statement.

Diana......There are many movies made in the sixties that are pathetic. Yes ZUlu was of convincing performances. Lets face it , i only asked a simple question and stated that i had a good laugh watching it. It was nearly forty years when it was made.

Oh my eye Oh my eye, how off target can you people get. Anyone would think that i had
just discreddited one of the real heros.
16th February 2005Andy Lee

If you really did have a good laugh watching Zulu mate.........I would seek urgent medical help.

16th February 2005Sheldon Hall
I'm all for people sharing their opinions, but when it comes to continuity errors I'd like to see the evidence! Please point out to me (preferably with a DVD frame count so I can find it for myself) the shot(s) showing Zulus wearing watches.
16th February 2005Paul Cubbin
....and I bet it was you that spilled my pint....

Garry - looks like you stirred up a hornet's nest here, mate. I think the film was a product of its time - stereotypical heroes, rather cheesy accents etc.. - but is much loved all the same. Personally I never miss 'Mary Poppins' at Christmas and much of the same can be levelled there. Except for the deleted scene where an enraged Zulu leaps out of a chalk picture and assegais Dick Van Dyke in the belly, now that's realism.
16th February 2005Glenn Wade
I say, steady on Paul, getting a bit bizzare and twisted now. Very funny all the same!
All the best
16th February 2005Graham Mason
You have not stirred up a hornets nest but rather a beehive of controversy ! , where would we be without our annual viewing of ZULU at Christmas ! .If you have seen the opening sequence of Gladiator i am sure that the war cry of the Visigoths or Goths , perhaps Vandals might have a familar sound to it . every film in creation has mistakes , look at Ben Hur, seen the watches on the charioteers ?. Zulu Dawn with it`s rubber bayonets and so on . The Zulu war community has it`s fair collection of " anoraks " ( myself included ) and research has been an eye opener for me and has thrown many new facts . We each have our degrees of involvement of this film and i for one would like to see a FACTUAL re-make. There is still enough interest in that 60`s film for many a heated debate but i must confess to never having seen it as a training film ! . Be careful on your spelling too , i have been pulled up on this many a time so be on guard, enjoy the subject and hopefully you will uncover facts new to us all , Graham .
17th February 2005Rich
Ah the study of film.... Can't they get anything right?!!! Do you think they used rubber bullets in there too and ketchup? Got to thank Cy and everybody back then for getting that piece of "art" off the ground. That's what it is isn't it in the final analysis? he didn't say it was a factual documentatry. Boy, can you imagine if Sheldon, John ,Julian and the rest of the Zulu War aficionados here collaborated on a treatment? Heck, I'd bet it'd be 10 years on a script then allow 5 years for costume research and design!!!... ;-)...
17th February 2005Rich

So is your book out and coming 'cross the pond? I'm eager to read it! .....

17th February 2005Sheldon Hall
It's taken me long enough to write the making-of book, never mind a screenplay...!! But yes, the book will be available in the US as an import, and can be purchased online from the publisher's website. If you visit and register your interest, they will let you know when it's available. Publication is now set for May, and I don't envisage any further delays.

I still want to see evidence of those watches - and in BEN-HUR too! Again, please describe or identify the offending shot so I can see it for myself - I remain convinced that what you're seeing in both films are bangles or arm-bands, not wrist-watches.
17th February 2005Glenn Wade
You're right Sheldon, they are bracelets, bangles or whatever you want to call them. The myth of 'The wristwatches' has fooled many into thinking that what they are seeing are wristwatches. Mind you, have you spotted the sandals on the warrior Hook is wrestling in the hospital, the Zulus stopped wearing those in the days of Shaka.
All the best
17th February 2005Michael Boyle

Don't know if you're aware of it but "Zulu:With Some Guts Behind It" is being offered at a pre-publication discount of nearly 40% on Amazon(US), (with a March release date).

It seems that many people in every generation find the films of the preceeding generations 'lame'. However even among people who wouldn't know a 'Rorke's Drift' from a 'snow drift' I've often heard the film fondly remembered.


17th February 2005Paul Cubbin
My wife got my 'Zulu' and 'Zulu Dawn' DVD's off Amazon. There are always bargains on eBay to be found too, although its a bit hit and miss.
18th February 2005Garry
My appologies as they are bangles...i am watching a video so i cant zoom in but after viewing a friends DVD it appears to be bangles and not as i thought.
18th February 2005Sheldon Hall
Yes, I was aware of Amazon's listing. The March release date is premature, however. It will no doubt be updated in due course (as, I hope, will the cover illustration they're using).

Aha! Just as I thought... another urban legend bites the dust.

The 'accessories' worn by the Zulu extras (bracelets, anklets, necklaces, loincloths, etc) were mostly made 'on site' by local people, though according to contemporary accounts the Zulus themselves weren't always sure how to wear them. One of the craftsmen, Ngofiza Majola, was described by a local newspaper as shaking his head ‘in sorrow for the “good old days”’ when he saw young extras ‘wearing their head-dresses back-to-front or with shorts peeping from below the animal-tail skirts.' There is a well-known photograph of one such extra/stuntman wearing Nike trainers (or their equivalent) while climbing over one of the upturned wagons - though I doubt this shot made it into the film!
18th February 2005Leigh Tarrant
The only thing about the film ZULU that I have learnt just recently, to which has upset the perhaps 'epic' feel in the grand scheme of things, has been the fact that when all the ZULUS line the hills for their first appearance, there ISN'T as many warriors as the picture makes out- just lots of zulu shields attached to a piece of wood, shattered my illusions somewhat....but thats ALL that I would comment on, otherwise a true awesome film, never to be bettered to be quite honest. So be.....and who cares about Zulu watches and so on.........Think i've seen it about 70 times now....never noticed some of these points that you lot seem to notice.......(!)
18th February 2005Paul Cubbin
I once lent a video of Monty Python's 'The Meaning of Life' to an Army Officer who wanted an amusing visual aid to a small lecture he was giving on the Zulu War. Whilst filming the Zulu attack scene, John Cleese was said to have dropped a major clanger (and showed a little too much Enoch Powell for most people's liking). When filming was stopped for te umpteenth time due to a sudden downpour, he turned to the 'Zulu' extras and said, "Alright, which one of you black bastards did a rain dance!" Apparently they deserted en masse and needed to be coaxed back over the course of several hours.
18th February 2005Sheldon Hall
Console yourself with the thought that this demonstrates the production team's ingenuity in overcoming limited resources! The whole shot was in fact improvised on set during filming - it's not in the script.
18th February 2005Rich
As a film enthusiast, there is one thing I've noticed with the film "Zulu" (and Zulu Dawn for that matter) and that is I think it
would be nice if there were some "extras" perhaps added to subsequent dvd issues where commentary about the subject could enhance enjoyment of the film. Apologies if this already exists on other regional issues but they certainly are not on the ones here in the US!
18th February 2005Sheldon Hall
There is indeed just such a Special Edition of ZULU - with two original trailers, a two-part making-of documentary and an audio commentary - released by Paramount Home Entertainment and available in every other region except the US! I suggest you upgrade your player to multi-region and PAL playback and visit a suitable website at the earluest opportunity!
18th February 2005Invader
Paul that's the best story I've heard all day ! Halarious.
18th February 2005Invader
I meant Hilarious.... don't look at me like that!! Sorry!
*Runs away*
(Yeah, I have a mean sence of humour)