This week’s mystery movie was the 1979 film “Zulu Dawn,” with Burt Lancaster, Peter O’Toole, Simon Ward, Nigel Davenport, Michael Jayston, Peter Vaughan, James Faulkner, Christopher Cazenove, Simon Sabela, Dai Bradley, Bob Hoskins, Anna Calder-Marshall, Freddie Jones, Nicholas Clay, Ronald Lacey, Phil Daniels, Donald Pickering, Paul Copley, Ken Gampu, Ronald Pickup, Denholm Elliott, John Mills.
Photography by Ousama Rawi, edited by Malcolm Cooke, production design by John Rosewarne, costume design by John Buckley, associate producer Dieter Nobbe, co-produced by James Faulkner, music by Elmer Bernstein. Original story and scenario by Cy Endfield, screenplay by Cy Endfield and Anthony Storey, executive producer Barrie Saint Clair, produced by Nate Kohn, directed by Douglas Hickox.
“Zulu Dawn” is available on DVD from TCM.
Oh, look. It’s Russ Meyer’s “Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens.” Also “Zulu Dawn.”
Kevin Thomas, writing in the Los Angeles Times (Sept. 19, 1980), said:
“Zulu Dawn” is one of those sweeping historical spectacles involving some elaborately staged battle waged by the British imperialists against the natives and invariably featuring an array of stalwart English actors.
… We’ve met O’Toole’s and Mills’ kind many times before — perhaps too many times — as we have Burt Lancaster’s Irish colonel, the only officer who perceives the folly of O’Toole’s actions, Simon Ward’s cool young aristocrat, the newest man in the regiment, and the intrepid, critical reporter (Ronald Lacey) who tells O’Toole that the English people are going to want answers.
…Director Douglas Hickox, working from Endfield’s and Anthony Storey’s screenplay, handles his cast capably and builds the film steadily to its bravura, 20-minute climactic battle sequence. Yet “Zulu Dawn” leaves you wondering if despite its avoidance of gratuitous gore and for all the righteousness of the point it makes there’s sufficient here for yet another depiction of war and bloodshed.
Writing in the New York Times (July 11, 1982), Janet Maslin said:
“Zulu Dawn” … is another sweeping battle film, one that’s less exciting but certainly more evenhanded [than “Zulu.”]
… Peter O’Toole, with only a faint echo of his imperious “Lawrence of Arabia” glamour …
… The war maneuvers are depicted painstakingly and slowly, with much attention to the heavy casualties on both sides. There is a great deal of movie-actorish dying to be seen. Warriors on both sides gasp, slump and shudder as they breathe their last…
… Douglas Hickox, who also directed a screen version of “Entertaining Mr. Sloan,” makes “Zulu Dawn” picturesque and proper, if a little dull. For all the mayhem in the movie, there isn’t much emotion, even when the fighters are dropping like flies. But the scenery, the top-flight cast and the thousands of African extras make this an eye-catching film even if it isn’t a particularly dramatic one.
Monday’s mystery guest does not approve of such goings-on. The mysterious goings-on of which he does not approve will be revealed over the course of the week.
Update: After consulting the script, I can confirm that this is Gilbert Tjabane.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent. All goings-on must get his approval.
Update: This is Simon Sabela.
Brain Trust roll call: I’m giving half-credit to people who guessed a certain film that preceded our mystery movie: Floyd Thursby, Michael Lott and Thom and Megan.
For Wednesday, we have a mystery chap.
Update: This is Bob Hoskins.
Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and I’ll take Monday’s mystery guest under advisement), Mike Hawks (mystery movie), Benito (half-credit for mystery movie), Chrisbo (mystery movie), Sylvia E. (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest) and Thom and Megan (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest).
Note to Michael Lott: You were closer the first time. 🙂
For Thursday, we have a mystery woman.
Update: This is Anna Calder-Marshall.
Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Earl Boebert (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Jenny M. (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mystery guest), Mike Hawks (Wednesday’s mystery guest), Gary (half credit on the mystery sequel/prequel), Sylvia E. (Wednesday’s mystery gent and Monday’s mystery gent), Anne Papineau (half credit on mystery prequel/sequel), Thom and Megan (Wednesday’s mystery gent), Mary Mallory (mystery movie) and Diane Ely (half credit on mystery sequel/prequel).
For Friday…. No one approves of such goings-on.
Update: This is Simon Ward, Denholm Elliott, Peter O’Toole, and (after much tedious replaying of the movie and consulting the script) Michael Jayston.
Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery woman), Mary Mallory (Tuesday’s and Thursday’s mystery guests), Howard Mandelbaum (Thursday’s mystery woman), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery woman), Sylvia E. (Thursday’s mystery woman), Thom and Megan (Thursday’s woman) and Anne Papineau (mystery movie).
Update: This is Simon Ward and Burt Lancaster.
Note to Sylvia: Not a red coat in the bunch today!