The subject of Zulu Dawn is the Battle of Islandlhwana wherein some 1,500 redcoats were slaughtered by 16 times their number of Zulu warriors led by legendary chief Cetshwayo.
The film is, in fact, a sort of ‘prequel’ to the 1964 picture Zulu, which dealt with an heroic stand at Rorke’s Drift by a small band of British soldiers in 1879.
The action sequences are superbly handled, as are the scenes in which the men and material are assembled and manoeuvered. For sheer scope and numbers of people being manipulated for the cameras, Zulu Dawn is positively DeMillesque in scale.
Such banality as there is is, thankfully, confined to the expositional sequences which are quickly gotten out of the way to allow the army to get on the march.