View the H-War Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in H-War's March 2010 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in H-War's March 2010 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the H-War home page.
1st Reply From: Jasminjo2@aol.com Subject: War movies are wrong, how and why ()-Zulu Reply Date: March 17, 2010 4:05:33 PM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> It's no doubt entirely true to note that the unit which fought at Rorke's Drift wasn't anything like as Welsh as the film implies (though there is a quibble- while Monmouthshire might not have been part of Wales for administrative purposes in 1879 it's inhabitants would mostly have seen themselves as Welsh). Interestingly the film doesn't entirely disguise the substantial English (and other) element in the ranks- that most English of actors Oliver Reed effectively playing himself in the guise of Private Hook (apparently a libel on the actual Private Hook) while the sergeant major is thoroughly English. The reality, though, is that in terms of cultural memory Rorke's Drift is now a thoroughly Welsh affair- no doubt assisted by the fact that most of the VCs awarded for that action ended up physically in a regimental museum in Wales. References to Rorke's Drift used to be a commonplace of sportswriting cliche whenever a Welsh rugby team dug out a narrow win by last ditch defensive heroics. Brian G H Ditcham email@example.com_ (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) 2nd Reply From: Kuehn, John Dr CIV USA TRADOC <email@example.com> Subject: RE: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why (UNCLASSIFIED) Date: March 18, 2010 10:51:25 AM EDT To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> I would add (since I am plowing through _Washing of the Spears_ at the moment_) that Burt Lancaster as Durnford in "Zulu Dawn" is one of the best casting jobs ever done. Lancaster even looks like Durnford. Bob Hoskins ain't bad either. Whoever made that movie read _Washing of the Spears_, just as Tony Richardson had to have read _The Reason Why_ when he made "Charge of the Light Brigade" (see other post on Crimean War). I bet Ridley Scott owns both films. John T. Kuehn, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Military History Curriculum Developer Department of Military History U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, KS "Present preparedness must not be sacrificed to an illusory future readiness. National emergencies cannot be foreseen and must be met by existing forces." The General Board of the Navy, January 1933 -----Original Message----- From: H-NET Military History Discussion List [mailto:H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Scott Hendrix Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 2:07 PM To: H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU Subject: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why () 1st Reply From: McGrath, John J CIV USA TRADOC <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: RE: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why (UNCLASSIFIED) Date: March 16, 2010 11:38:30 AM EDT To: email@example.com, H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Zulu, of course, has some problems as well. Most prominent is the casting of a young Michael Caine in a role in which the historical figure would have been better served if Wally Cox were cast as Lieutenant Bromhead. This would have made for a better movie because the company was left behind because of the infirmities of its commander who was deaf. Bromhead was retained in the unit because his grandfather was the colonel of the regiment at Waterloo and his brother was a company officer elsewhere in the regiment. His rise to the occasion at the battle of Rorke's Drift would have been a good story. Instead he was portrayed as a foppish aristocrat who had to be cut down to size by the battle. The opposite of reality. Additionally, the unit is portrayed as a "Welsh" regiment, even singing a welsh hymn at the end of the battle. In reality in 1879 the 24th Regiment was recruited primarily from the industrial city of Manchester. Any Welsh in the unit had come from factory jobs in Manchester, not from Wales itself. The unit did become a Welsh regiment in a large army-wide reform, but this was not until a few years after the Zulu War. I've always preferred the more obscure Zulu Dawn because it features the character of Lord Chelmsford and shows why the Zulus were successful at Isandhlwana (a deployment blunder on the part of the British acting commander) and Chelmsford's shock at discovering the disaster. Chelmsford later proved at Ulundi that properly deployed British troops could defeat the best the Zulus had to offer. Of course this was also the case at Rorke's Drift although the British force was so small that sheer numbers almost overwhelmed them anyway. John McGrath 2nd Reply From: Sidney Allinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why Date: March 16, 2010 1:48:26 AM EDT To: email@example.com, H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> While ZULU is an excellent portrayal of the battle for Rorke's Drift, it more than slightly distorts the preponderant "Welshness" of the British soldiers actually there. Because of the two principal backers of the movie's production -- Richard Burton and Stanley Baker -- were themselves Welsh (and justly proud of it) they did tend to exagerrate the number of their countrymen present in the battle, and changed the name of the actual regiment involved. At the time, it was the 2nd. (Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, a unit recruited mainly in the area of Birmingham, England. The nominal roll noted down after the battle records the birthplaces of the British soldiers taking part as being 49 English, 18 Monmouthshiremen (not part of Wales in 1879), 16 Irish, 14 Welsh, 1 Scottish, and 21 of various foreign nationalities. The 2nd. Warwickshire Regiment's name was changed to South Wales Borderers two years after the battle of Rorke's Drift. -- Sidney Allinson. -----Original Message----- From: H-NET Military History Discussion List [mailto:H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Scott Hendrix Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 3:47 PM To: H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU Subject: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why From: Bill & Kathleen Mero <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: REPLY: War movies are wrong, how and why Date: March 13, 2010 12:48:25 AM EST To: H-NET Military History Discussion List <H-WAR@H-NET.MSU.EDU> Reply-To: email@example.com How refreshing to know that Bob Houston uses ZULU in his classes. One of the best "war" movies in our personal collection and yet it seems to be little known to many who would no doubt enjoy it. Kathleen Mero John Marsh Historic Trust, Inc. ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----