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The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951) Poster

Goofs

Jump to: Anachronisms (1) | Character error (2) | Continuity (1) | Errors in geography (3) | Factual errors (8) | Miscellaneous (1) | Revealing mistakes (5)

Anachronisms 

Some have said the quote by Von Runstedt, "Victory had a hundred fathers, defeat is an orphan" is an anachronism. It is sometimes attributed including Count Galeazzo Ciano (Italian fascist politician, 1903 - 1944). It seems to have been a quote from his diary of 1942. Von Runstedt is unlikely to have quoted it as Ciano's diary was not published until 1946. However, this is a very ancient military saying that goes back to Roman times. It is sometimes attributed to Hannibal though there is no proof of him being the originator. A soldier as educated and able as Von Runstedt might well have been familiar with it.
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Character error 

During the scene when Rommel has returned to Africa by plane after having nasal diphtheria and is being briefed by his staff. General Fritz Bayerlein (George Macready) is asked has there been any new supplies, tanks, guns? Rommel then asks "and no petrol at all?" Bayerlein answers "Not a pint!" His reply should have been "not a litre!" - Germany was, and still is, on the metric system.
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Lt. Col. Caesar von Hofaker is seen in a Wehrmacht (Army) uniform. In fact, he was a Luftwaffe (air force) officer and should have worn a different uniform.
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Continuity 

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".
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Errors in geography 

During one of the Normandy Invasion scenes, the landing craft can be seen approaching an island with palms trees near the beach. The video is clearly from an operation in the Pacific Theater rather than the D-Day landings.
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In Rommel's hospital room in Germany, there is an American electrical outlet next to the bed.
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In shots of the battle of El Alamein, there is one of an anti-aircraft battery overlooking Tobruk Harbour, some distance from El Alamein.
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Factual errors 

Colonel Count von Stauffenberg, who planted the bomb that almost killed Hitler, is shown with an eye patch over his right eye. In fact he has lost his left eye.
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The opening commando raid shows at least a dozen German soldiers killed. In reality, only four were killed.
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The opening scene states that a British submarine inserted a commando unit behind enemy lines; however what is shown is clearly an American Fleet Type submarine which did not operate in the Mediterranean.
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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.
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During the naval bombardment prior to the D-Day landings, one of the ships shown shooting is HMS Repulse, which was sunk in December of 1941, two and a half years before D-Day.
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The narrator says that Allied armies were sweeping toward the Rhine when Rommel was approached by the anti-Hitler conspirators in early July 1944, but those forces were actually still being contained by the Germans in Normandy, and did not break out until after the assassination attempt.
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During the scenes of the soldiers going ashore during the Normandy Invasion, the soundtrack plays the US Marines' Hymn. However, it was the Army that stormed the D-Day beaches, not the Marines.
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Before the July 20 assassination attempt, Hitler is in the meeting room and asks where Goering is and he's told that Goering is on his way. However, Goering was not in attendance at the conference that day.
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Miscellaneous 

In the opening raid scene, one of the German soldiers is seen briefly carrying an American Thompson submachine gun.
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Revealing mistakes 

When depicting the D-Day invasion at Normandy, landing craft are shown approaching the beach at Iwo Jima. Mt.Surabachi is clearly seen, but the shot has been reversed (numbers on the bows of the landing craft are back to front) to make the location less evident.
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In a scene between Von Runstedt and Rommel, a man seen through the window in the background does not move at all, showing that it is a painted backdrop.
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The scenes concerning the failed 20th July 1944 bomb plot to kill Hitler have a very obvious goof if you look properly. It's midsummer (July, 1944) and Hitler's military planners are shown apparently walking through the East Prussian woods to the building for their meeting with Hitler, where the bomb was to be planted below the table around which they would be assembled. It's midsummer and all the trees have no leaves on them whatsoever. Obviously this was filmed sometime between perhaps December and March and not July as portrayed.
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During the opening scene where British commandos are raiding Rommel's headquarters at night, none of the automatic weapons being fired ejects any empty shell cases.
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When Rommel is on his walking tour of the "Atlantic Wall" there is a scene where he and his entourage are walking in front of a gun emplacement fronted with a slope covered with stone blocks. The faintly visible straight shadows indicate, however, that they are walking in front of a painted backdrop.
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Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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