Zulu Dawn

I have spent part of this afternoon painting my L-shaped built-up areas with PVA in order to seal the wood before I paint them. Whilst I was doing this I decided to play my copy of ZULU DAWN on the portable DVD player that I keep in my toy/wargames room.

This film has a mixed reputation. Compared with ZULU it is worthy rather than exciting, as its depiction of the events of and leading up to the Battle of Isandlwana are reasonably close to the historical truth. ZULU – on the other hand – is a great story whose historical accuracy is somewhat more doubtful. I always enjoy watching ZULU, but more for its entertainment value than its historical veracity.

If put to the vote I doubt that many people would place ZULU DAWN above ZULU. As the newspaperman says in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, ‘when the legend becomes fact, print the legend‘.


10 Comments on “Zulu Dawn”

  1. Still, there are some memorable moments in the movie for me. Mostly from the opening scenes before they march to war.

    Simon Ward is a favorite of mine even if there is a remarkable resemblance in mannerisms of the Duke of Buckingham, the young Churchill and William Vereker.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I think that ZULU DAWN is a somewhat undervalued and underestimated film and has some excellent scenes.

    The late Simon Ward was very convincing in YOUNG WINSTON, but – as you point out – his characterisations were all rather similar.

    All the best,


  3. I agree that it's underrated – I enjoy Zulu Dawn, as you did, for painting on my own or a lazy Sunday. Zulu is more of a classic, for film nights with friends perhaps.

    Each has its merits – although only Zulu Dawn has O'Toole and Vaughan, the two finest Peters of their generation!

  4. Jim Duncan says:

    I now find that watching a movie while painting is too much of a distraction. Even more so if it is a foreign production with sub-titles.

    I now usually listen to music using headphones as I don't want to disturb anyone else.

    I recently painted some Peninsular British infantry to the sound of Engelbert Humperdink and then Connie Francis. Please release me stupid cupid!!

    Psycho-analysts will have a field day with that combination.

  5. I really enjoyed Zulu Dawn and feel it is undervalued too.
    I often listen to Radio 4 plays and short stories on the i pad when painting…

  6. Colonel Scipio,

    I think that you have summed it up rather well; ZULU DAWN is a film to watch for your own pleasure whilst ZULU is best as a shared experience.

    I also agree that both Peters were good actors. Peter O'Toole had the ability to project a detached and slightly other-worldly persona whereas Peter Vaughan could be both menacing and comedic.

    All the best,


  7. Jim Duncan,

    I usually listen to recorded books or plays whilst painting, but on this occasion I fancied something different.

    Engelbert Humperdink and Connie Francis is an unusual combination … but not as odd as Engelbert Francis and Connie Humperdink would be!

    All the best,


  8. Tradgardmastare,

    We both seem to have similar tastes when it comes to what we listen to whilst painting.

    I will sometimes listen to the soundtrack of a film – as I did this time – but much prefer recorded books or plays. I have just finished listening to some of the BBC's SMILEY plays, and thought that they had told the stories rather well.

    All the best,


  9. Chris says:


    How long is the UK version of Zulu Dawn? The version shown in the US has 30-60 minutes deleted (estimates vary), because “everyone” knew American audiences would never sit still for a war movie longer than 2 hours. Harrumph.

    Best regards,


  10. Chris,

    My version of ZULU DAWN is 113 minutes long, and I think that nothing has been deleted from it although Wikipedia states that the film is 2 minutes longer.

    All the best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s