Friday, October 7, 2011

Costumes and props from Zulu on display...

I always remember the 1964 movie Zulu from when I was growing up, as it always seemed to be on television around the holidays, just like that other British institution, the James Bond movies.

Zulu movie exhibit at the London Film Museum
Zulu movie costume and props
South Wales Borderers uniform replica
Zulu costume and props
This exhibit is inspired by the historical movie about the classic Battle at Rorke's Drift between the British Army and Zulus in January 1879, which starred Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins and James Booth, to name but a few.

Featuring a replica South Wales Borderers uniform, Zulu shields and other weapon props, the display was photographed on January 25, 2011 at the London Film Museum.

South Wales Borderers uniform re-enacters costume
South Wales Borderers uniform Zulu filmSouth Wales Borderers uniform Zulu movieZulu movie South Wales Borderers uniform
The uniform on display like the ones featured in the movie, is actually a re-enacters costume made and on loan from Neil Aspinshaw.

According to the display, the film suggests the title of the Regiment involved was 'The South Wales Borderers', but at the time of the historic battle they were actually called 'The 24th (The 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot', only taking the alternative name two years later in 1881, after the events in the film.

In addition, although the helmets used in the film were white, the actual helmets at the time of the Anglo-Zulu war were stained a tan colour using tea or coffee. The helmet featured in the costume display was on loan from Henry Coleman at ZuluFilmStore.com.

Cetawayo's throne tusks and shield props from Zulu
Cetawayo's throne tusks and shield Zulu
This shield from the movie were on loan from Maureen Endfield (widow of the director Cy Endfield) and family, whilst the fiberglass tusks were on loan from BAPTY, a specialist armoury and weaponry prop supplier.

For the film, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was Chief of the Zulu Nation and took the role of his predecessor and great grandfather, 'Cetawayo'.

Over 700 Zulu extras were required during filming and many were descendants of the people involved in the original battle. Due to South Africa's strict apartheid rules when the film was made, the Zulu people were not allowed to be paid the same amount as their white counterparts. Apparently as a way around this, the director gifted all the animals used in the production of the film after it had been shot.

Zulu shield movie prop
Zulu shield prop
Another Zulu shield on display, made from cow hide, was used in a competition to promote the film at the time of its release, this one was on loan from its winner Charlie Tapper.

Historic weapons from the time period on display
Zulu movie props
Also included in the exhibit were these weapons and military artifacts from around the time period of the movie. There are some Assegai spears and a Knobkerrie Zulu club, meant to split skulls, from the Isandhlwana Era which preceded this movie, plus a Martini-Henry decommissioned rifle,used and unused rounds for the rifle and a water canteen, all from the Rorke's Drift Era.

Buy the movie: Zulu

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