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
Desmond Young questioned everyone " . . . from field marshals to Desert Rats". This is a reference to the nickname adopted by the British 7th Armoured Division of the "Desert Rats", derived from the jerboa image used as a unit badge. The term has been also applied to members of the British Eighth Army, though there is contention over their right to adopt this nickname. See more »
Narrator says Rommel was wounded June 17, 1944 the same day he met with Hitler. He later says he was wounded three days before the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt. He was wounded July 17th not as the narrator says June 17th. After the D-Day invasion, Rommel requests and gets a personal interview with Hitler for "June 17". Returning from meeting on "June 17", his car is strafed and overturns, severely injuring him (Rommel). Yet "three days later" it is "July 20". See more »
[a British officer steps from the back of his tralier to address the officers before him]
Gentlemen, the following order from General Auchinleck, is to all commanders and chiefs-of-staff of the Middle East Forces.
"There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or bogeyman to our troops, who are talking far too much about him. He is by no means a superman, although he is undoubtedly very energetic and able. Even if he were a superman, it would still be ...
See more »
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.
25 of 29 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?