Captain Foster plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mix-up leaves him with a medical unit containing a Quaker conscientious objector. Despite all odds ... See full summary »
How Field Marshal Erwin Rommel became implicated in the July 20, 1944 officers' plot against Hitler. A morality tale highlighting the dilemma of the modern soldier forced to choose between obeying orders and following his conscience.
Two stories in one - an easygoing British Corporal in France finds himself responsible for the lives of his men when their officer is killed. He has to get them back to Britain somehow. ... See full summary »
This biopic follows Rommel's career after the Afrika Korps, including his work on the defenses of Fortress Europe as well as his part in the assassination attempt on Hitler, and his subsequent suicide. Written by
After this film, James Mason would reprise his role as Nazi German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel two years later in The Desert Rats (1953), made also by the same 20th Century Fox studio and also being set in World War II North Africa. See more »
In a clip, a long line of surrendered German soldiers is described as being the remnants of the Afrika Korps. The soldiers are wearing Wehrmacht uniforms used in Europe and not the distinctive Afrika Korps uniform. See more »
Field Marshal Gerd von Runstedt:
too late for me. I'm seventy now - too old to fight, too old to challenge authority, however evil... but not too old, however, to wish you and your friends the best of luck in their extremely interesting enterprise.
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While a highly rewatchable war movie, with a corker of a performance from James Mason, this motion picture does have its inaccuracies--beginning with its memorable opening. In truth, British commandos did not sneak or charge in, outfitted in nightfighting fatigues; they simply walked in, disguised in Axis uniforms with fake ids. Though the covert mission proved a fiasco, Rommel, in true chivalrous tradition, had these would-be assassins buried with full military honors. However, cinematically-speaking, it's a gripping moment, and it's considered the first true pre-credit movie sequence, a trick one would see quite often in later movies, such as the Bond films and others.
The movie focuses largely on the Field Marshall's involvement with the attempted assassination of Hitler, but just how much (or how little) Rommel was involved is still arguable. Curiously, James Mason once mentioned how he was up for the part of Rommel and was competing with another Fox contract-player, Gary Merrill (best known as Bette Davis's love interest in ALL ABOUT EVE). Mason was impressed by how well Merrill marched and strutted, doing bits of military-like physical action that didn't come easily to the urbane Mason. Even though Mason ultimately won the part over Merrill, he self-critically felt he didn't fully do the role justice (though many, including myself, wouldn't agree with him). Perhaps the studio opted for Mason to bring out a sympathetic quality, because viewers do tend to forget the numbers of Allies who died directly because of the main character! Rommel was a great general for his energetic and ingenious tactics, not for (possibly) wanting Hitler killed.
Don't get me wrong; this movie is still a joy.
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