Zulu Dawn script
Zulu Dawn (1979)
Synopsis: Zulu Dawn is a 1979 war film about the historical Battle of Isandlwana between British and Zulu forces in 1879 in South Africa. The screenplay was by Cy Endfield, from his book, and Anthony Storey. The film was directed by Douglas Hickox. The score was composed by Elmer Bernstein.

1.SCRIPT APPEARS ON BLACK SCREEN:

One hundred years ago the British Colony of Natal in Southern

Africa was surrounded by a

vast and independent Zulu Kingdom.

In 1879, a banle took place that was forever to alter the

course of colonial history:

I SANDHLWANA:

2 EXT. DAWN.

Four Zulu's are seen in silhouette herding cattle up a hill.

3.LONG SHOT - Two Zulu's are seen in silhouette high on a

precipice.

4.Seven Zulu's are seen walking in silhouette against the

sunrise.

5.The sun fills the screen as the sound of many running feet

and Zulu drums are heard.

6.EXT. ZULU KRAAL. DAY.

A large regiment of Zulu warriors carrying shields and assegais

(stabbing spears)

are seen running into the Kraal whilst the sound of tribal

singing, chanting and drum

beating escalates.

7.Inside the camp a group of Zulu's are seen grappling with a

bull as they struggle to

bring the animal to the ground. They are watched by a vast

circle of warriors all

shouting encouragement.

8.An elaborate tribal dance ensues. It appears to be some sort

of Fenility Rite. The

females stand opposite the men in rows, chanting as they move

in closer.

9.CETSHWAYO, the great Zulu King emerges into the throng. He is

tall, beautifully

fat, with a big intelligent face and superb dignity. He surveys

his subjects with

interest as they stand unanimous, thrusting their assegais into

the air whilst shouting

their allegiance.

10.EXT. HIGH COMMISSIONER'S RESIDENCE, PIETERMARITZBURG,

NATAL. NIGHT.

BARTLE FRERE (V.0.)

Reading aloud the letter he has just written.

Cetshwayo '5 Zulu army to disband and the warriors permitted to

return

to their homes.

2

11.SWITCH TO INTERIOR. FRERE is seated at his desk whilst LORD

CHELMSFORD is seen in the background standing on the veranda.

BARTLE FRERE:

He continues to read aloud:

Present military system to be abandoned. New regulations

concerning

the defence of the realm worked out.

CHELMSFORD enters the room, sits and studies two sheets of

paper.

FRERE continues:

All who do not submit will be dealt with as enemies of the

Crown. We

will not permit the arbitrary killing and

FRERE pauses as he underlines a certain word:

and unjust oppression which the Zulu people have suffered from

their

own King Cetshwayo

Pausing, FRERE looks up as if to meet his comrade's gaze.

CHELMSFORD,

however, continues to read, turning the page.

BARTLE FRERE:

You '11 see from the letter that this ultimatum is our decision

alone. Her

Majesty's government seems to prefer a negotiated settlement

12.CLOSE UP of CHELMSFORD's letter:

Her Majesty's government confidentially hope that by the

exercise of prudence

and by meeting of the Zulus in a spirit of forbearance and

reasonable

compromise it will be possible to avert the very serious evil

of a war with

Cetshwayo:

13.Return to BARTLE FRERE. As he melts some sealing wax over a

silver burner:

BARTLE FRERE:

(Referring to the letter he has just completed)

Does this do what we both know to be right Frederick?

CHELMSFORD:

It does Sir Henry (He folds the papers neatly in half)

excellently.

The pair exchange glances as BARTLE FRERE applies the wax to his

letter.

14.CLOSE UP of stamped seal.

15.EXT. CHELMSFORD'S CAMP PIETERMARITZBURG. DAY

3

Activity everywhere, the incessant movement of an army in the

final stages of its

formation. Huge ox-wagons are being hauled into the camp.

16.CHELMSFORD and CREALOCK are on horseback in full regaJia as

they ride into

the centre of the Camp.

17.Squads of Basuto-infantry - tall, rangy bodies, naked except

for a loincloth and neck

ornaments - are being drilled by foul mouthed, bullying

European NCO's.

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Cy Endfield

Cyril Raker Endfield (November 10, 1914 – April 16, 1995) was an American screenwriter, film director, theatre director, author, magician and inventor, based in Britain from 1953. more…

All Cy Endfield scripts | Cy Endfield Books

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