Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Desert Fox is a superb filmed biography of German general Erwin Rommel, concentrating on the period between his retreat from North Africa and his government-decreed death. A brilliant tactician, Rommel earns the respect not only of his own men but of the enemy. Unfortunately, Adolph Hitler (Luther Adler), laboring under the delusion that he too is a military genius, demands more of Rommel than he's able to provide. Ordered to stand his ground in Africa to the last man, Rommel realizes that it's more intelligent in the long run to retreat; this incurs Hitler's wrath, but Rommel is a war hero, and as such is virtually "untouchable". Increasingly disgusted by Hitler's behavior, Rommel joins in a plot to assassinate the Fuhrer. The attempt fails, and Rommel's complicity is discovered. He is given a choice: either face a horrible death by torture, or commit suicide, thereby saving his family and his reputation. Rommel opts for the latter; the official story given to the press is that Rommel died heroically of his war wounds. Also appearing in The Desert Fox are Jessica Tandy as Rommel's wife and Leo G. Carroll as an insufferably aristocratic Von Ruhnstedt. The film caused a critical stir in 1951 by providing a tense ten-minute dramatic sequence before the opening credits--a technique that is all but de rigueur today. The Desert Fox was based on the book by Brigadier Desmond Young, who narrates the film and appears as himself in the early scenes.
against-all-odds, assassination, conquest, disillusionment, General, Germany, territory, war