I had fully intended to write about The Patriot this week. It's a guilty pleasure of a film. It's pure puffy-shirted nonsense, and ultimately more about World War II than the American Revolution. (I know, figure that one out.) But so many people already know about The Patriot that it feels like a column cop-out, even if it is appropriate to the holiday. And who wants to read about a Mel Gibson film this week, anyway?
So, I thought I'd tackle another film centered on British colonialism, and the loss of one nation's independence. Zulu is a film I always meant to go back and research after it was oh-so-casually namedropped in my 19th Century Europe class. There's not much of that class I actually remember, as I was sick the entire semester with bronchitis. My notes actually ran in swirls and loops around the page because I was so doped up on drugs, so it's a miracle I recall a Zulu reference. We never actually watched it. Movies were almost always verboten. My professor merely said "You guys remember that Michael Caine movie? Well, this is that war." Everyone tittered in that way history students always do -- oh please, that movie was so inaccurate! -- when in reality, they were probably all holding back from chanting "Zulu! Zulu!" or something. It's only in retrospect I realize we were all dorks doing stuff like that in our heads.
But I digress. One of the reasons I wanted to do this column was to research stuff I didn't know about, and after World's Deadliest Warriors showed off how powerful a Zulu shield was, well, it was time to find out exactly why those Zulus wanted to kill Michael Caine's battalion.