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The Desert Fox

1951, DVD
Released six years after the end of WWII, is a solemnly respectful tribute to Erwin Rommel, Germany's most celebrated military genius.

The Desert Fox

James Mason delivers a strong performance in this fascinating portrait of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. In the early 1940's, Rommel's juggernaut Afrika Korps dominated North Africa. But as the tide turned and he came to the painful realization that his Fuhrer, to whom he hd sworn allegiance, was destroying Germany, his ingrained sense of duty pushed him into a conspiracy against Hitler. Co-starring Jessica Tandy as Rommel's wife and Cedric Hardwicke as another anti-Hitler conspirator, The Desert Fox is an intimate look at one of the most respected military tacticians of modern times.What a difference a few years can make.

The Desert Fox, released six years after the end of World War II, is a solemnly respectful tribute to Erwin Rommel, Germany's most celebrated military genius. James Mason's portrayal of this gallant warrior became a highlight of his career iconography. The film itself is oddly disjointed: a pre-credit commando raid to liquidate Rommel is followed by a flashback to the field-marshal's lightning successes commanding the Afrika Korps—-a compressed account via documentary footage and copious narration (spoken by Michael Rennie, who also dubs Desmond Young, the Rommel biographer and onetime British POW appearing briefly as himself). The dramatic core is Rommel's growing disenchantment with Hitler (Luther Adler), his involvement in the plot to assassinate der Führer, and his subsequent martyrdom. Mason's Rommel returned two years later for a flamboyant, mostly German-speaking cameo in The Desert Rats, a prequel focusing on the battle for Tobruk. --Richard T. Jameson

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel...

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • 06 Feb 41: Lt Gen Rommel appointed commander of the Afrika Korps
  • 12 Feb 41: Rommel arrives in Tripoli with his Afrika Korps
  • 19 Mar 41: Hitler tells Rommel not to expect reinforcements in Libya until May
  • 24 Mar 41: Rommel begins his North African offensive
  • 15 Aug 41: Panzer Group Afrika is activated with Rommel in command
  • 17 Nov 41: British mission to kill Rommel fails because he is away in Rome
  • 22 Jun 42: Rommel is promoted to the rank of Field Marshal
  • 03 Nov 42: Hitler orders Rommel's Afrika Korps to stand and fight
  • 09 Mar 43: Rommel leaves North Africa for reasons of health
  • 11 Mar 43: Rommel receives Diamonds to his Knight's Cross medal
  • 12 Dec 43: Rommel takes command of northern coastal defenses
  • 15 May 44: Rommel invited to anti-Hitler meeting, but does not attend
  • 05 Jun 44: Rommel goes back to Germany for his wife's birthday
  • 29 Jun 44: Rommel urges Hitler to pursue peace, which he rejects
  • 15 Jul 44: Rommel writes to Hitler, again urging he sue for peace
  • 17 Jul 44: Rommel is wounded when his staff car is strafed
  • 14 Oct 44: By Hitler's order, Rommel is forced to commit suicide
  • 18 Oct 44: Funeral service is held for Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

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