Wednesday, August 17, 2005

He's dead, Jim...

James Booth, the actor who played Private Henry Hook VC in Zulu, has died aged 77.

I've already done a post on the rainbow array of glaring historical inaccuracies in the film (which is, nontheless, a great film) and I won't rehearse them all here but...

But his portrayal of Private Henry Hook as a thieving drunk would later inspire a campaign to restore the reputation of the Victoria Cross-winning soldier.


Frankly, it's scarcely surprising. Short of the fact that he won the VC, the Hook portrayed in the film could not have been a greater contrast to the real man if the scriptwriters had tried (ironically, the writer behind the film, John Prebble, was himself a sometime historian). In the film Hook is seen as a drunk, a malingerer, a cheat and a thug, who finds mean redemption in the battle). In reality, Hook was a teetotaller, a hard worker and one of the most popular figures in the battalion among both officers and men, with a repuation for kindness, generosity and conscientiousness (and a doting father and husband). Indeed, he was only present in the hospital at the time of the attack because he had volunteered to take on extra duty assisting Surgeon-Major Reynolds.


Makes U-571 and The Patriot seem like pretty small fry in comparison!

1 Comments:

Blogger Diana Blackwell said...

For more information on James Booth, please see the world's only website about him, www.jamesbooth.org, which includes a bio, interviews, original reviews, photos, and much more.
Diana Blackwell

10:19 AM  

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