Review of Zulu Dawn

Zulu Dawn (1979)
Straightforward recounting about the British defeat at the battle of Isandhlwana by Zulu warriors
10 October 2008
This historical epic is a spectacular retelling of the deeds leading a bloody battle where a regiment was massacred by a force over thousands Zulus commanded by Cetschwayo(Sabela) at Zululand. In command of British force is General Lord Chelmsford well played by Peter O'Toole and an excellent Burt Lancaster plays Colonel Durnford as a tough and veteran officer. Extraordinary secondary cast formed by prestigious British actors, such as Simon Ward,John Mills, Peter Vaughn,Ronald Lacey, Michel Jayston, James Faulkner(also producer), among others. The battle scenes are magnificent with deployment of the vast forces, and exciting combats when the army try to defend from attack by thousands of Zulu warriors.Stunning cinematography with colorful landscapes and martial musical score by the master Elmer Berstein. The picture is well directed by Douglas Hickox who translates perfectly the outstanding battles. This is a prequel about 'Zulu'(1963,Cy Endfield) depicts the electrifying battle of Roarke'Drift where little more than hundred soldiers made a valiant stand against thousands Zulu warriors.

Adding more details over the largely depicted on the movie, the incidents happened of the following manner : Zulu victory over British forces 22 Jan 1879 about 160 km, north of Durban.A column led by Lord Chelmsford seeking the Zulu army camped at Isandhlwara, road to Ulundi while patrols went out to scour the district. A report was received and Chelmsford moved out with half his strength, leaving the camp occupied by six companies of the 24th Regiment, two guns, some colonial volunteers and some native contingents: about 1800 troops in all. Late in the morning , an advance post warred of the approach of a Zulu army. Then a mounted patrol found thousands of Zulus concealed in a ravines as the patrol rode to warn the camp, the Zulus followed. The camp commander spread his troops around the perimeter of the camp, but the Zulus broke through, the native contingents fled but were chased and killed. The 21 officers and 534 soldiers of the 24Th Regiment were killed where they fought , there were no wounded , no prisoners and no missing. Only about 50 Europeans and 300 Africans escaped. The invasion of Zululand was temporarily halted until reinforcements were received from Britain. Despite the defeat, the Zulus were humiliated and crushed at Roark's Drift battle.The battle of Isandhalwana was recorded in history as the worst defeat ever inflicted on a modern army by native troops. In Parliament upon the downfall of his government, British Prime Minister , Benjamin Disraeli, asked the question: 'Who are these Zulus ,who are these remarkable people who defeat our generals , convert our bishops and who on this day have put an end to a great dynasty?
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