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DateOriginal Topic
19th February 2005Writing a screenplay about Isandlwana
By Coll
As Zulu has been covered a great deal previously, the original and a possible remake, I thought I would only mention a new film about the battle at Isandlwana, which has had a couple of suggestions on the way it should be approached on screen.

I liked the idea of 'Saving Private Ryan' which is a sort of being there documentary-type version, but rather than follow one group of men, this process would be used to cover most of the events and incidents that happened during the actual battle, depicting the true fear and horror involved on that day, including the effect that the situation was having on the soldiers.

This would also include more detailed coverage of the main participants and, of course, the battle, especially during the fighting in the camp and last stands on the nek, following the soldiers flight down the Fugitives' Trail, giving an insight into the terror of being pursued through the rough terrain and having to turn and fight, individually or in small groups, all the way to the Manzimyama, and the mounted men to the Buffalo, ending with Melvill and Coghill meeting their deaths on the Natal side.

This is just a summary of what I think it should entail, but are there any thoughts on what you think it should include or the way it should maybe be filmed, in an attempt to show the battle on the big screen ?.

23rd February 2005Jamie
Documentary type film would be the way to go IMO. All the newer evidence and newly discovered letters puts a whole new angle on to the battle.

A visit to Isandlwana would give you inspiration and let you understand the true nature of the battlefield etc.
24th February 2005Derek C
I like your idea and I think there is enough interest to warrant such a film. However, this would be a major undertaking. Funny how Zulu, for all it's inaccuracies, is held so dear to most on this group. I dabble in history, amoungst many other hobbies/duties, as do many on this group. The J.F.K. assasination, for example, is still under immense scrutiny, yet living, breathing witnesses are around?

In such a remake of the movie, ammunition supplies woud be a major issue for e.g.. People on this group have quoted survivors' stories that ammo was not an big issue. In my opinion, those survivors left early (obviously!) and did not witness the fate of Young-Husband & Co. Maybe the screws holding the ammo boxes was not an issue, maybe the Quatermaster was free with the supplies, it doesn't really matter. But, when a soldiers primary weapon is not much more than a longer assagai/spear than his foes', ammunition supply is a major problem. In my opinion, the reason that RD worked, was that the likes of Parde' Smith kept the ammo flowing.

These are things we'll never know for sure and just one aspect of the battle. I take my hat off to anyone that makes an historical film.

6th May 2005Colum
I am writing a story book about the battle of Isandhlwana and its aftermath. Best thing to do when you are taking on such a project is to get historians on your side. It has proven a great help to me.
6th May 2005Coll
Although I still think a new film should be filmed in the same method as 'Saving Private Ryan', there was another film I saw recently, which contained aspects that I feel should be included in such a representation of the battle at Isandlwana.

'Black Hawk Down' certainly kept adding the tension, when soldiers trapped, or pursued by a vast number of opponents, that even with their supply of weapons and ammunition, no matter how many of the enemy fell dead or wounded, they kept on coming.

This is the sort of tension, I think, would show what pressure the soldiers were under, especially when having only a single-shot rifle, against an army of several thousand.

I'm sure, if filmed correctly, that viewers would feel themselves getting edgy as the Zulus neared the soldiers in the firing line, then experiencing the gasping for air as they made their way along Fugitives' Trail.

By the end of such a film, people should have felt so caught up in it, they are absolutely exhausted, as if it was them that had been fighting, then trying to escape.

I for one, would be very keen to see such a movie.