Film expert set for second Zulu dawn

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A Sheffield academic will delve deeper into his favourite movie to mark its 50-year anniversary.

Film studies lecturer Dr Sheldon Hall is preparing the second edition of Zulu: With Some Guts Behind It – The Making of the Epic Movie to celebrate five decades since its release.

Dr Hall, aged 49, first fell in love with the film as a schoolboy, but it was only after moving to the city to teach at Sheffield Hallam University that he put pen to paper.

The first edition of the book was published by Sheffield-based Tomahawk Press in 2005.

Today is both the anniversary of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift – when barely more than 100 British soldiers held off attacks from 4,000 Zulu warriors in 1879 – and the premiere of the film it inspired 85 years later.

And to mark the occasion he hopes to uncover even more behind the scenes facts.

Dr Hall, of Nether Edge, said: “Zulu has been my favourite film since I was eight years old. Seeing it at that age really captured my imagination.

“I know a lot of people are sceptical but it is not just cowboys and Indians in Africa. The respect which develops between both sides is awe-inspiring.

“My publisher friend asked if there was anything I wanted to write a book about.

“I’d just finished an essay on Zulu which was 5,000 words. The book was about 120,000.

It took around four years to complete the first edition.

Research involved a lengthy interview with Lady Ellen Baker, widow of actor Stanley Baker – who played Lieutenant John Chard.

This time Dr Hall hopes to fulfil an ambition to meet the Hollywood veteran who was propelled to fame by Zulu.

He said: “I never interviewed Michael Caine as he was too busy. I got a very polite letter from his agent. I’d like to do that this time if I can.”

The second edition will be published this summer.