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The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  17 October 1951 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,830 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 27 critic

The story of the final years of the respected World War II German general, Erwin Rommel.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (biography) (as Brigadier Desmond Young M.C.)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Dr. Karl Strolin
...
...
...
...
...
Gen. Fritz Bayerlein
...
Capt. Hermann Aldinger
...
Desmond Young ...
Himself, Lt. Col. Desmond Young
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Storyline

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 Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Desert Fox  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Field Marshal Gerd von Runstedt: [It's] 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.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Desert Rats (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Anchors Aweigh
(uncredited)
Music by Charles A. Zimmerman
Heard during the scenes of D-Day and the ensuing battles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

On some inaccuracies and trivia...
4 June 2003 | by (Northridge, Ca) – See all my reviews

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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