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Zulu- film and myths

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Zulus - thousands of 'em." That is perhaps the line that most people remember from the 1964 film, Zulu.
    The film recounts the battle of Rorke's Drift in 1879 when some 150 British soldiers held off around 4,000 warrior tribesman whose land they had invaded.
    It was an event which saw 11 Victoria Crosses awarded, more than for any single battle before or since.
    That may in part be due to Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli wanting to draw a veil over the huge defeat at Isandlwana earlier on the same day when a column of 1,800 well-armed British military were put to the spear.
    However, an analysis of the citations will show that the award of each VC was justly deserved.
    But, since it was made nearly half a century ago, the British movie about the seven score or so of men who successfully beat off a Zulu army has become a 139-minute cinematic treasure."
    BBC News - Zulu movie Rorke's Drift VC winning battle myths
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I hate it when the truth gets in the way of a really great story! :)
     
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I thought everyone knew that stuff....Men Of Harlech would certainly not have been sung...no matter what our fellow member wltd45 keeps thinking...I don't think it was written at that time.....But thats viet Taffs for yer...

    As for Bourne....If he didnt say zulus thousands of em...I bet the bloke standing next to him did....The movie is not that far off the mark...Zulu Dawn though is much more documentarial and deserves much better press than it got...The 24th regiment and its members did heroic deeds in Africa...1st and 2nd regiments...the fate of individual companies is worth following...Especially at Iswalandah were most were from one regiment and a company of the other...Zulu fails in one main point but apart from the cows, and the layout on film of the drift all isn't that incorrect. The hospital scenes were in fact much worse and much more deserving of medals than the movie depicts...The Dutch arriving and fleeing back to their farms is a misnomer...and as for our gallant Dutch advisor who was at the drift...he must have legged it pretty fast down fugitives trail to make it there in time from his fight at Islanwhanda...The missionary is overplayed....the guy was in fact
    one of the good guys..used by the Brits...I think he may have been maligned more to hide the fact that the real commanding officer of the Drift on hearing of Islanwhanda disaster....hot footed it to Helpmaker for errrr....help....a sort of urqh thing...brave man...no volunteers required...I'll go...my job...I'm in command...I can explaing best...be back soon...honest.....Hold the line boys...best of jolly British...go greystone...go like the wind....Hurrah me lucky lads...back for tea...promise....

    An artist...female...I'll remember her name when I look on my bookcase wrote the best individual book just on the Drift fight that I've come across
    She painted much empire Zulu battle stuff without...errr actually seeing it...some of the most evocative prints we have probably all seen...Mcdonald I think...Her book Rourkes Drift is better than the damn movie....I sang men of Harlech while reading it knowing full well I should have been singing Shropshire lad....

    Rourkes Drift...Islanwandah...all the 3 columns battle fields...I did the lot in 2 visits over 2 years...for work obviously...well they let me have a break and who wouldn't choose to go have a look....I have zulu poufes and rugs from zulu cattle in my Zulu room...a real knobkerie and shield...etc....Who cares if the movie was not 100 per cent...it was certainly 90 percent... the war itself? Think Iraq and duplicity but a few years earlier....Why do you come to the land of the Zulu???? Because we can and we want to....NNC forwards.......
     
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I better better that a bit....before I get a Martini Henri in me ribs...

    Allendorf stayed at the Drift after arriving from Islan...In the zulu Dawn Movie we see him being assegied or shot, cant remember and dying...His companion rode on to warn all and sundry on from the drift..Allendorf did not die at Islan....The dozens of Dutch Boer horsemen seen telling Chard to politely go smoke the grass...were in fact 4 horsemen who did not enter the drift but told piquiet what had happened at Islan and were off double dutch like.... Commander of the drift had by this time gone off to Helpmakker to garner info on the reinforcing infantry company that had yet to arrive....History has been kind to him...he could have changed the battle or earned the laurals...It is my opinion not a recorded fact that he legged it...Why after Durnfords column crossed over he thought it wise for the commanding officer to go take tea elsewhere I don't know...Bit like Frost at Arnhem going back to see Urquhart about some more peeps for the bridge....where is everyone???
    Or Custer shouting head over that hill see whats there...I'll just go and get Reno...
     
  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Love that movie.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Sometimes I wish urqh came with subtitles. :rolleyes:
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Another classic movie debunked by the WWII Forums.......at least the reputation of 'Where Eagles Dare' remains unsullied ! :D
     
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  10. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Should I be worried that I can understand him?
     
  12. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Damned if I know why the press bothers with movie critics, when they could just follow us!
     
  13. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    In my opinion the best line is the Color Sgt telling the young soldier (who ask him “why…”) - “Because we’re here.”
     
  14. muscogeemike

    muscogeemike Member

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    Another site has a long thread about the Zulu wars but I didn't know about the Commanding Officer leaving the Drift.
     
  15. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    I like the line where the Colour Sergeant is doing the roll call, and when someone doesn't answer quips "You're alive, Jenkins...I saw you"
     
  16. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Open your Times in the morning to this:

    Zulu Dawn (1979) - Part 11.wmv - YouTube

    And your lordships are physically sick..

    End you breakfast news paper with this:

    Zulu : Men of Harlech - YouTube

    And you know all is well with the British world...More kidneys dear?

    No matter the revisionism...Hitch...Hook, Chard, even Verriker existed even if he didn't survive Islandwhana to get to fugitives trail as depicted.

    They were real people...their victoria cross citations tell us what happened. Tell us the story...the movies gloss...but not that much....The individual actions of the vc winners tell the story in the movies well... When the Zulu them starts playing in zulu...you realise the vc is about to be earned...their depiction in the movie is so close to their citation on their medal that there is not much waiver room...romantic heroism it may seem...but Hook really did do what is depicted...so did Hitcch, Jones, and the rest...Men of Harlech was not sung at the sandbags...who cares...the song is now theirs forever...they earned it in saving the British empire of the time...that My lord Chelmsford nearly lost in a day. Long may their names be remembered in British history..and that song...Personally I like the zulu theme better..Sends the hairs on my beard up never mind my neck...
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  18. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    The song was nothing to do with the movie mate...It was certainly well established before the movie...but I think...I'll have to check..it wasn't written before R.Drift battle...I'm willing to be proved wrong though...
     
  19. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    1794 Without words....1830 With lyrics...so it was in fact around at the time of R.Drift battle...There are other dates for its first singing in Welsh etc....

    Well thats buggered me...The song and lyrics were around before the zulu wars..so there goes an urban myth...

    494 Jones may just well have sung it under his breath as the zulus...thousands of em...were tramping towards him....He may well have just whistled it...I bet though if half a dozen welshmen suddenly got up and sang it as zulus advanced...The boys from Liverpool would have shot them first and then started on the zulus.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Well according to the previous link and Harlech Castle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia the battle being celebrated was a siege from the War of the Roses with the Lancastrians holding the castle. So I'm not sure why "the boys from Liverpool" would get all that upset. The former link also mentioned that the tune may well predate the 1794 date. Is there any source of information on what songs were popular and/or were sung by the troops during that period?
     

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