movie film review | chris tookey


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  Zulu Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
7.50 /10
Stanley Baker (pictured left), Jack Hawkins , Ulla Jacobsson
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Directed by: Cy Endfield
Written by: John Prebble, Cy Endfield

Released: 1964
Origin: GB
Colour: C
Length: 138


Outnumbered British soldiers take on the Zulu hordes at Rorke's Drift.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Epic action movie set in 1879, very faithful to the real historical events, with an exciting climax that takes up about half the running-time. Michael Caine was cast against type as an upper-class officer, but gave one of his better performances, alongside the ever-reliable Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins. Not surprisingly, the film was popular with the public, but critically underrated. Imperialistic heroics were extremely unfashionable with the intelligentsia during the 1960s, as was any depiction of black people as enemies rather than victims or social problems. A few decades on, this movie deserves to be recognized for what it is - a rip-roaring action film with strong performances and a terrific story to tell.
"Arrives armed to the teeth to make a killing at the box office, and it deserves to do so, but is it ungracious to regret that all the screen shows us nearly all the time is another kind of killing?"
(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)
"Mr Endfield now and then rises to his visual opportunity... For a film that's largely taken up with killing, it strikes me as decidedly unbloodthirsty."
(Isabel Quigly, Spectator)
"[The] direction ... adroitly pieces together the grim jig-saw puzzle of war and mingles little Journey's End touches of shy self stock-taking and backs-to-the-wall kinship with the din and the odd dignity of death. Sometimes the drama is too theatrical to ring true."
(Cecil Wilson, Daily Mail)
"Once the carnage is over, there's a general sort of feeling that the Zulus are jolly fine chaps (for savages). The one point that is never even hinted at is that the land belonged to the Zulus and the British had no business to be there at all."
(Nina Hibbin, Daily Worker)
"Oh, how slow it all is...The Zulus look terribly embarrassed as they are put through their paces, but then, so does Jack Hawkins... This is the kind of film where nobody ever seems to have given any real thought to what the characters do and say."
(Richard Roud, Guardian)
"This overdose of gore and cliches is strictly for kiddies with cast-iron stomachs."
(Judith Crist)

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