Adventure, Drama, History, War
USA / English
One of the last of the classic-era widescreen epics, Zulu
was also one of the last war movies to celebrate the virtues of the famous British stiff upper lip. At Rorke's Drift in 1879 a handful of British soldiers, hopelessly outnumbered by 4,000 Zulu warriors, fought one of the most celebrated defensive actions in military history. Zulu
tells the story on an epic scale, bringing to life the heroism, courage, loyalty and sacrifice of those desperate hours. This is truly cast-of-thousands filmmaking, with vast action wonderfully captured in widescreen Technirama. John Barry, who also scored Goldfinger
in the same year, provides a telling musical accompaniment.
The superb cast includes Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins, but Zulu's final claim to fame is that it made an instant international superstar of a young actor whose name is Michael Caine. A belated sequel arrived in 1979 in Zulu Dawn, which despite even more spectacular action and a great cast died at the box-office. It is nevertheless well worth seeing.
On the DVD: Zulu on disc has excellent prologic stereo considering the age of the film, while the anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 transfer is crystal-clear, boasting rich colours, strong contrast and detail and only occasional minor print flaws. The original American trailer, also presented anamorphically enhanced at 2.35:1, is a worthwhile addition. There is a very good new 45-minute "making of" (1.77:1 anamorphic, in stereo), curiously split into two parts. The heart of the programme consists of interviews with survivors from the film, focusing on Stanley Baker's widow. The only let down is lack of input from Michael Caine and composer John Barry. The commentary by film historian Sheldon Hall, author of a forthcoming book on the movie, and Second Unit Director Robert Porter is serious and packed with information. --Gary S Dalkin
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