This is my final of 3 reviews for the The Second Marvelous Michael Caine Blogathon 2019 taking place next week during the 24-26th of April and being hosted by Gill of WeegieMidget.
Tnx for letting me partake Gill!
“Mr. Witt! When I have the impertinence to climb into your pulpit to deliver a sermon, then you can tell me my duty.” – Lieutenant John Chard:
Number of Times Seen – 1 (16 Apr 2019)
Brief Synopsis – In deep Africa during the lat e 19th Century, a group of 150 British soldiers must find a way to defend themselves against an onslaught of Zulu tribesmen just days after the tribe successfully massacred more than 1500 British soldiers at a different post.
My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about years ago, yet never really had much interest in seeing what it was all about.
When I saw that this was one of Michael Caine’s very first film roles, I immediately chose it as one of my picks for this blogathon and boy am I extremely pleased that I did so.
I loved this movie because it shows a rare form of warfare that is unmatched by other methods.
They are able to take a story that happened in an epic way and still show it so perfectly that we can understand and visually see what transpired.
The film manages to show battle scenes really realistically and we get to see how battles were fought at this time and place since things are quite different than how they are done now.
This film gives us a unique viewpoint of this kind of battle and shows it to us so well.
The cast of this film is spectacular and I loved the way that Caine, Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins all worked so well together despite the fact that their characters are quite diverse in their viewpoints on the way that the battle should be fought.
The fact that I didn’t know much about the true events depicted here helped keep things in perspective for me.
I was quite impressed with the way that they have the story move along because they found a way to raise the level of tension and suspense to a point where the viewer is on the edge of their seat as they want to see what will happen as things in the story gain more and more momentum.
The one (slight) complaint that I had about this film (as with most war films) is the difficulty to actually tell the various supporting characters apart since they all seem so similar and the film doesn’t have time to develop any of them properly.
This film’s premise kept reminding me of the siege at The Alamo and The Battle of Helm’s Deep (which I heard was actually created with this battle in mind) in the way that a small band of defenders must find a way to keep a horde of attackers at bay long enough to survive.
This film is able to show many of the heroic gestures that some of these besieged men acted upon in order to try and help their fellow soldiers survive the impending onslaught by the Zulu tribesmen.
I’m so glad that I finally saw this film and there is no doubt in my mind that it will now be quite high on my list of best films from 1964.
Can’t wait to get the opportunity to see this film again soon!
Bottom Line – Amazing film that takes things that occurred in epic proportions and show it so perfectly. The battle scenes are filmed really well and gives us an amazing viewpoint of how battles were fought in those places during that time. The cast is spectacular with Caine, Baker and Hawkins all doing splendid jobs with their very diverse characters who each look at the impending battle from different viewpoints. Not knowing the story of what happened I was quite impressed with the way that the story moves along since it is able to raise the level of tension more and more as things gain momentum. The one complaint I have about this film (as with many war films) is the difficulty to actually tell most of the various solders apart since they don’t have enough time to develop them properly. The film’s premise reminded me a lot about the siege on the Alamo or the Battle at Helm’s Deep (which I heard was created with this battle in mind) and they manage to show many heroic gestures by these besieged men. So glad I finally saw this film and I look forward to seeing it again in the future! Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Stanley Baker owned John Chard’s Victoria Cross (and other medals) from 1972 until his death in 1976. Originally thought to be what is known as a “cast copy”, the Victoria Cross was later proven, after a series of tests, to be the original. Unfortunately, Baker died, never knowing he had the real V.C. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)
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Good movie. First time I saw it I was amazed at how good the battle scenes were and the close in fighting when the Zulu warriors broke inside the compounds. Great British cast (and I disagree that there were too many characters and tough to tell apart – I found that one of the strengths of the movie – how well they did at differentiating most – and how they told you at the end – who got what military honor for the battle etc.) And I loved the Zulu salute by banging on their shields etc. Stanley Baker was also one of the film’s producers. He was terrific in this movie and Guns of Navarone. And he died far too young.
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Maybe I’ll be able to get a better grasp on the supporting roles next time but even with that issue, I still loved the way they presented things here. Tnx for stopping by and commenting Mike!
A really well made movie. Loved it.
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Couldn’t agree more Alex! Tnx
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Lovely to read your entusiastic post and thanks for bringing this post and film to my blogathon.
Thank you for your comments.
I love this movie and have seen it many times over the years. In the late 1960’s a 70mm was shown in Sydney and it was an incredible spectacle. Every viewing of this movie is for me a great experience from John Barry’s score to the outstanding performances. In the supporting roles I particularly enjoy James Booth as “Hook”. Rob, I believe that you will be rewarded by multiple viewings of this outstanding film.
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