Zulu  [DVD]
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Based on the 1879 massacre in Africa, British soldiers stand fast against the Zulus at Rorke's Drift.
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 DalkinSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The former was originally shown following its restoration on Sky's Hi Def TV channels and has now made it to Blu-ray. Originally this was to have been an HD DVD release back in June but like so many others with that format's abrupt termination, "Zulu" is now belatedly out on Blu-ray.
"Zulu" is one of my favourite films of all time. It is one of the very best war films to ever come out of the UK, indeed, some maintain it to be the greatest of all.
It tells of the heroic stand by just over 100 British troops at an isolated mission station called Rorke's Drift in 1879 South Africa, following the annihilation of a British Army at Iswandlana by the Zulu Nation.This army of 4000 strong Zulu warriors then headed to Rorke's Drift to dish out a similar fate to the small British force stationed there....
What follows is a sustained battle, the ferocity of which will linger long in the viewer's memory. "Zulu" boasts an all star cast headed by Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, and in his first film role - Michael Caine.
The subject matter could have been a minefield to film but "Zulu" just shrugs this off and portrays the Zulus with awe and respect, depicting them as almost a force of nature against whom the British Army look small and almost frail....
The film boasts a thunderous score courtesy of John Barry and although this is not in 5.1, the stereo mix is still very good, indeed, and does what it is supposed to do with aplomb.
However, the picture itself is most definitely the star on show here. The restoration to Hi Def is nothing short of astounding and I can only assume that a 70mm print was used.Read more ›
Zulu is the greatest achievement of the career of British (Welsh) actor Stanley Baker, who co-produced with US-born, formerly blacklisted director Cy Endfield. Nothing else in the war movie genre really measures up, including Endfield's so-called "prequel", Zulu Dawn, or other epics based on British colonial wars, such as Khartoum. It was filmed on location in the grandeur of Natal, South Africa, with descendants of the Zulu warriors who took part in the original action portraying their forebears. The prominent Zulu politician and traditional chief, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, plays the Zulu leader, his distant relative Cetewayo. Mass Zulu participation in the project guaranteed the uplifting dignity and authenticity of cross-cultural characterisations of the film.Read more ›
Siege epics were curiously popular in the Sixties - 55 Days at Peking, El Cid, Khartoum, The War Lord, The Alamo among them - but perhaps none have quite such a hold on the public's affections as Zulu, particularly in the UK. It's a celebration of national courage (but not nationalism) with its eyes wide open. The besieged men aren't there to build empires but because it's their job - "Because we're 'ere. There's no-one else," as Nigel Green's memorable Colour-Sergeant puts it to a young soldier.
It's a film with dignity on both sides of the conflict but no self-importance, it manages to extol heroism without glorifying war. It's also one of the few films to show the sheer physical arduousness of prolonged battle - it ends not with triumph and jubilation but with sheer exhaustion.
The narrative construction is deliberate and belongs to the days when films built up to a climax instead of throwing them in every ten minutes to keep the audience awake. John Prebble and Cy Endfield's script is strong, its subtle clash of egos between Stanley Baker and Michael Caine never over-emphasised and surrounded by memorable vignettes among the rank-and-file that gives the film a depth beyond the superbly handled battle scenes - Nigel Green struggling to maintain his composure as he takes the final depleted roll call, drunken missionary Jack Hawkins' truly irritating Bible-bashing unnerving a young private, Neil McCarthy's concern for a sick calf taking precedence over the ongoing battle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this film and been to the barracks in Wales to see the medals and the stories of the men of Rorkes Drift .Published 12 days ago by Paul Wilkin
I am not interested in the DVD’s content, only in whether it contains English subtitles for the deaf. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Deaf Ears
Still one of my favourite films of all time and looks stunning jn blu ray for a 50 year old film!Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
Wow.this epic film looks absolutely gorgeous on blueray.simply stunning.Published 1 month ago by stephen howarth