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The Desert Fox (1951)

James Mason , Cedric Hardwicke , Henry Hathaway  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Mason, Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy, Luther Adler, Everett Sloane
  • Directors: Henry Hathaway
  • Writers: Desmond Young, Nunnally Johnson
  • Producers: Nunnally Johnson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008AOTO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,900 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Desert Fox" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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 precredit 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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of a great fox and many rats August 5, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
It is interesting how often the losing sides in great conflicts often throw-up great military leaders. Just as the Confederacy had Robert E Lee in the Civil War so too did the German Wehrmacht, in WWII, have the military genius of Erwin Rommel.

This 1951 classic has British actor James Mason in the lead, and flanked, by Cedric Hardwicke (Dr Karl Strolin, mayor of Stuttgart), Jessica Tandy (Frau Lucie Rommel), Leo G Carroll (Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt) who all give fine performances. Cameo appearances come from Rommel biographer Desmond Young, who plays himself, as a captured British officer in North Africa at the start of the film's action, and footage of US Generals, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton (waving at tank crews).

The film traces Rommel's growing disenchantment with Hitler (Luther Adler) and the encroachment of the Nazi police state on the life of its citizens - revealed in guarded conversations between Rommel and his friend Mayor Strolin, (the latter also giving a gestapo spy the slip) and Rommel and von Rundstedt.

This disillusionment is clearly seen in the two separate conversations between Rommel and Dr Strolin -the first in a hospital ward where Rommel is clearly more up-beat and later in Rommel's study, where the conversation is more strained and indeed aggressive between the two old friends.

The destruction of the Rommel family unit is a poignant moment as Rommel goes to his death (via self induced poison) to safeguard the lives of his wife and son. The Fuhrer honours the fallen hero of the Reich with a state funeral after he 'had succumbed to war injuries' -fulfilling his 'bargain' that if Rommel went quietly nothing would happen to his family.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More war classics from the Fox library September 22, 2010
Four disc DVD set of classic war movies from the 20th Century-Fox library. Each film is pressed on a separate disc. Great for fans of old war movies, this set is really only let down by its complete lack of any kind of substantive special features.

The Blue Max (1966/Color/150 minutes/Widescreen)

George Peppard stars as an overly ambitious German pilot who wants nothing more than to win his country's highest medal during World War I. Ursula Andress, James Mason and some thrilling flying scenes co-star. Special features are limited to trailers for other Fox war movies.

The Desert Fox (1951/B&W/88 minutes/Fullscreen)

James Mason stars as German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in a film that is primarily focused on Rommel's involvement in the plot to kill Hitler. Special features are limited to trailers for other Fox war movies.

Immortal Sergeant (1943/B&W/90 minutes/Fullscreen)

Henry Fonda stars as a somewhat reluctant corporal who must lead a lost, wounded and starving British patrol back to their base in North Africa. Special features are limited to trailers for other Fox war movies.

Sink the Bismarck (1960/B&W/97 minutes/Widescreen)

Fact-based story of the hunt for the German battleship Bismarck. Stars Kenneth More and Dana Wynter. Special features are limited to a "Movietone" newsclip about the Bismarck and trailers for other Fox war movies.
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64 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars English actor, James Mason, makes a great Rommel. July 23, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Originally copyright by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, in 1951, only six years after the end of World War Two, this black and white film gives a shallow overview of the last years of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel: the Desert Fox.
Once you get past the opening rather stagey scenes, of British commandos raiding a German headquarters building in north Africa, hoping to kill the Desert Fox in his lair, the rest of the film is carried along guite well, by the great performance of James Mason, as Rommel. This performance is the only reason I rated this film as four stars, without Mason I would have been disapointed.
Other members of the cast do fine jobs too, notably Cedric Hardwicke and Leo G. Carroll. One can find good entertainment based on real events.
D-Day: the invasion of Normandy, is a highlight of this film. There are several minutes of what appears to be genuine newsreel footage of the storming of the beaches: the ships off shore, the guns, the planes, brave men falling. It's all very real at this point.
"The Desert Fox" was made in an era when the directors, producers, and the Hollywood Establishment in general, were less preachy, and less likely to distort the truth in order to promote a social agenda. That is a big plus for this film.
On the down side: the film starts off with several undisclosed advertisements for other videos, of like kind, by Fox. This is borderline dishonest, as consumers have paid for entertainment and expect it to be commercial free. At the very least, the ads should be disclosed, before anyone makes a purchaseing decision.
All in all, "The Desert Fox" is good entertainment and deserves a look.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great. February 21, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This was not the great film I thought it would be. The reason is simple, the film skips entirely Rommel's great achivements and instead focuses on his downfall. I spite of being called "The Desert Fox", for the majority of this movie the "Fox" is not in the desert. I envisoned the film covering Rommel's victories in Africa but there is ony a slight mention of them at the end. The movie starts of with Rommel at El Alemien, and losing. The rest of the film is Rommel off and on in the hospital, in his home and arguing with Field Marshal Rundstedt. I could understand this if the film had been made in wartime, and was just propaganda, but it wasn't. The movie also gave the immpression that Rommel was fully involed with the plot to kill Hitler which is not true. He had been asked to join the conspiracy but never really gave a straight answer although he was totally against Hitler at the time. In spite of all the bad, this is still a pretty good movie and I gave it 3 stars. James Mason does a great job and the film paints a good picture of the downfall of Rommel, including the lengthly scene of Rommel charged with treason and his blackmail to suicide. All in all it's a good movie and anyone with an interest in the man Erwin Rommel should see it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Erwin Rommel
The Desert Fox, 1951 film

It begins in 1941 when a British submarine surfaces to land British Commandos behind enemy lines in Libya. Their purpose is to kill one man. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Acute Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent dvd
Published 1 month ago by grant cornett
5.0 out of 5 stars ... journey to the center of the earth is much better amd that green...
typical mason form journey to the center of the earth is much better amd that green Scottish scarf hes wearing is preposterous it doesn't look german at all
Published 1 month ago by brandon d baur
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thank you very much
Published 2 months ago by russ gaggens
4.0 out of 5 stars ) I believe he really enjoyed
husband wanted these...he has watched them all (4?) I believe he really enjoyed them
Published 2 months ago by Joan Herrick
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money I paid.
When judging movies of this period and the time they were produced, I essentially look for three things:
A, Did it keep my attention? Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andrea
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK Film, Fun because it's a classic
The film is alright, which is why I'm rating three stars, more bc of the film rather than the shipping or the physical product.
Published 2 months ago by Randall C Kemp
4.0 out of 5 stars rommel after the desert
interesting. romantic view of the desert fox after the north africa campaign. i knew he was an honourable soldier but didn't know he was involved in the plot against hitler....
Published 3 months ago by Mandorichard
5.0 out of 5 stars Four old classics
Blue Max and Sink the Bismarck are real winners. Desert Fox is a little stylized and spotty, but well acted. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Wingert
4.0 out of 5 stars Tells about Rommel during 2 World War.
Does not cover what he did in the 1st world war. He was a infantry officer at that time not an Armor office.
Published 4 months ago by BAKER
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