Zulu

I’d always thought that Future Noir – Paul Sammon’s book about Blade Runner – was the most thorough account of the making of a film available. I was wrong.

This weighty tome from Sheldon Hall offers interviews with surviving cast members, brief biographies of those deceased, and the original magazine article – edited and unedited – by John Prebble that gave birth to the project. It describes scouting for locations and building sets and accommodation for actors and extras. It recounts the filming, scoring the music, acquiring Richard Burton to read the opening and closing narration, the publicity, the box-office take, critical response from around the world, and a chapter on various misconceptions that have arisen about the film since its release. It also offers Prince Buthelezi of the Zulu Nation the opportunity to write a Foreword and a few closing comments.

To call all this exhaustive is insufficient. About the only information Mr Hall doesn’t offer is what cast, crew and extras had for pudding on Friday, or what they did on their holidays after everyone went home. I found it fascinating but, in all honesty, I think you’d have to be a devoted fan of the film to appreciate it. Then again, judging by the fact that this edition was revised and expanded to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, there would appear to be quite a few of those out there.

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