[Special Screenings] Local Showings of 'Zulu,' 'Midnight Cowboy,' 'Monty Python's Life of Brian'

Movie of the Week:

If Jaws: The Revenge was Michael Caine’s first major film instead of this epic 1964 war drama, would we have ever heard from him again? Ponder that as the end credits roll; there will be no time for such idle thinking as you’re engrossed in director Cy Endfield’s cinematic telling of a real-life Anglo-Zulu War battle. On Jan. 22, 1879, Zulu forces handed Britain one of its worst defeats, massacring 1,500 soldiers at Isandlhwana in South Africa. More than 4,000 Zulu warriors then advanced on a British hospital and supply dump guarded by 139 Welsh infantrymen under the command of Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead (Caine). However, because the Royal Engineers happened to be in the area, their commander, Lieutenant John Chard (Stanley Baker, who co-produced with Endfield), was senior to Bromhead and therefore the unlikely officer in charge. Though thoroughly outmatched during 12 hours of bloody battle, the small British force mounted one of the greatest defenses in the history of warfare, surprising no one more than Chard and Bromhead.

There’s a Six Degrees of Orange County connection to the production: Because the Zulu extras had never seen a film, Baker showed them a flick starring singing cowboy and future California Angels owner Gene Autry to give them an idea of what they were in for. That’s probably not why this is the first selection in the Bowers Museum’s “The Colonial Experience In Africa” series, which “examines the varying experiences of the encroaching Europeans and the native Africans that occurred as a result of colonialism,” but a boy can dream, can’t he? Nowhere in Africa (Feb. 12) and Cry, The Beloved Country (March 12) round out the series. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Thurs., Jan. 8, 7 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).


Also Showing:

Hearts and Hands
Pat Ferrero’s hourlong documentary explores the relationship between 19th-century quilt makers and the social history—abolition, industrialization, the Civil War, westward expansion, and the temperance and suffrage movements—reflected in their work. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Sat., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).


Midnight Cowboy
Remember when you didn’t know Jon Voight as an insufferable Republican tool? Remember when Dustin Hoffman created memorable characters like Ratso Rizzo as opposed to, say, the title character in Last Chance Harvey? Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; Sun., 6 p.m.; Mon. & Wed., 8 p.m. $8.


Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Brian (Graham Chapman, who co-wrote) was born on the original Christmas day in the stable next to you-know-who, so he goes through life being mistaken for the Son of God. But as his mum informs, “He’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy!” South Coast Village, 1561 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 557-5701; Wed., 7:30 p.m. $6.50.

The Party
Indian movie extra Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) bumbles off a set and into the Hollywood Hills of the Swinging ’60s. He winds up at a sprawling party, and before anyone figures out the nosy little nobody does not belong, he has destroyed everything in his path. Bay Theater, 340 Main St., Seal Beach, (562) 431-9988; Thurs., Jan. 1, 6 p.m. $8.

Quilts In Women’s Lives
It’s another Pat Ferrero documentary, this one an award winner about “seven renowned quilt makers who reveal the passion and values behind the continuing tradition of quilting.” Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Tues., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).

Savannah Homecoming
East Africa’s golden plains burst onto the screen as we follow two women’s journeys between bustling cities and rural landscapes. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3600; Wed., 1:30 p.m. Free with paid admission ($9-$12).

Mail your press releases (and a videotape or disc, if available) to Special Screenings, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Or send e-mail to All materials must be received at least two weeks before the screening.

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