The Many Lives of Cy Endfield: Film Noir, the Blacklist, and Zulu
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Predictably, it was only Raymond Durgnat who paid any attention to Endfield. Neve met and interviewed Endfield and won the help and support of his family and friends after his death in But Neve also allows us to glimpse Endfield as irascible, irrational, querulous and difficult to work with. This was a road not taken and by the time the two men were back on good terms — united by the idea of making Zulu Dawn — Baker was dying of cancer.
Without making inflated claims. Neve nudges Endfield into the limelight where, at last, he can receive the public approbation he deserves. Related Papers. By Robert Murphy. By Rebecca Prime. By Alisa Zimnova. Endfield was then asked about a long list of Hollywood writers and directors and invited to say which of them he knew to be members of the Communist Party in the s.
Did Endfield betray his former friends and colleagues by testifying? Paul Jarrico, a long-time friend, certainly broke off communicating with him for many years, but some others, such as Joseph Losey, adapted a more-practical view and thought that if people like Endfield and Jules Dassin, the latter seemingly without having to name names, were ready to clear themselves then it was time for others to do the same. Endfield and Stanley Baker then started the long process of obtaining financial backing for what was to be an epic of sorts.
Endfield did have sole director credit. Zulu , with Stanley Baker and Michael Caine taking leading roles, finally appeared in and was immediately a success, though questions were raised in some quarters about the way in which British imperialism was represented, or rather not represented, in the film. Neve points to parts of the film which were cut before it was released and they often seemed to relate to criticisms of the role of the British in Africa.
On the other hand, it had been necessary to reduce the running time for commercial reasons.
A lengthy film could only be shown a few times each day. It was the colourful and adventurous aspects of the film that appealed to them — the Zulus chanting and charging, the stoicism of the soldiers, the final victory. And I recall reading that once the Zulus had abandoned their attack and retreated, leaving behind their dead and wounded, the soldiers finished off the latter by bayoneting them. But that was hardly likely to get into a film.
There were problems once filming started in Africa when Peppard took an instant dislike to Endfield and walked off the set. He refused to return unless the director was replaced, so Stuart Whitman was brought in to take on the role that Peppard should have had. But other members of the cast and crew were more positive in their views of the director.
The film was not a success when it was released to cinemas, and that was what counted at the end of the day.
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Endfield did direct two other films after Sands of the Kalahari , though neither achieved any critical or commercial standing. And in he wrote the screenplay with Anthony Storey for Zulu Dawn, a late attempt to repeat the success of Zulu. It did show more of the political aspects of the British invasion of Zululand. And it was spectacular in terms of the battle scenes.
As well as co-writing the screenplay of Zulu Dawn , Endfield wrote a novel with the same title. It is not a particularly noteworthy piece of work, and seems unable to make up its mind whether it is a documentary or a fictional version of what happened.
There is little real character development and the action moves sluggishly on the page. His card magic continued to fascinate him. He designed and patented a portable chess-set, and worked on developing an electronic game when the video game industry was in its infancy.
But his health was failing and he died in Cy Endfield was not one of the giants of cinema and his own assessment of his reputation probably resting on two films, The Sound of Fury and Zulu, may be an accurate one. But Brian Neve has provided an in-depth survey of his career in films and his other activities. It should appeal to those with an interest in Endfield, the blacklist, and the film world generally.
There are ample notes a useful filmography, and an extensive bibliography.
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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Dec 06, Matt rated it it was amazing.
How does oral history contribute to your book?
Engaging and clear, I stopped near the end to watch 4 more movies by him. The themes the director explored were fascinating - motivation, work, and social groupings among them. A pity that Endfield didn't have a larger body of work. I am also a Stanley Baker fan now.
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