Henry Hook in Zulu I Curator’s Nook +

published on July 3, 2020

so you're probably mostly familiar with

rocks Jeff through the movie Zulu which

famously stars Michael Caine from 1964

it's reasonably accurate in terms of its

depiction of Rorke's drift but Henry

Hook is one of a number of real-life

people who were depicted in the film

hook was played by a man called James

booth and his depiction in the film is

quite interesting when you're

researching something like this for an

exhibition you can't help but develop

personal collect personal connections to

the people and the objects that you're

reading about in your researching and

this is something that became of

interest to me if you go and watch Zulu

today you'll you'll see Henry hook is

depicted as a thief a coward he's under

arrest at the time of the the siege for

stealing he's surly he's insubordinate

to his superior officers he's portrayed

as a sort of cheeky chappie Jack the lad

type character that's not at all what he

was like in real life in fact I mean as

we've already gained hints of he was a

model soldier well-liked and respected

by his the other members of his regiment

well-liked here at the British Museum he

was a well-liked popular member of staff

and it was interesting to see that his

characters essentially defamed in the

film which is a shame it seems that the

filmmakers needed to have an overt

villain and english-speaking over

villain who could be antagonistic to the

other characters and so they seem to

have chosen Henry Hook too full to

fulfil that role he goes through a

journey as they might say in the film

world so by the end of the film he

redeems himself he reluctantly joins the

fighting and becomes they were looked at

here and been a winner of the Victoria

Cross but it's totally at odds with what

hook was like in real life I have a

picture here just to show you here you

have hook as he's portrayed by James

Boothe in Zulu here you have hook as he

appeared in real life so strikingly

different in terms of how they appear

and strikingly different in

terms of how they were as characters

there was a story I read a couple of

times whilst I was researching this

exhibition which was that hooks

daughters when they were quite elderly

were invited to the premiere of Zulu in

1964 and they were so shocked at how he

was portrayed that they walked out

unfortunately I couldn't find that

backed up anywhere I asked a few people

I did some digging and I couldn't find

that backed up anyway so it does seem

that it could be urban myth it's a nice

story but of course couldn't be featured

in the exhibition without that real

evidence behind it

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