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ERROL23

Five Graves To Cairo(1943)

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North Africa 1942.CLP JohnJ Bramble(Franchot Tone)the last of a British tank crew wanders into a small town.He goes into the local hotel owned by Farid(Akim Tamihorf)Working in the hotel is French girl Mouche(Anne Baxter)

Coming in is advancing Nazi troops being led by Field Marshall Erin Rommel(Eric Von Stroheim)who take over the hotel.John tells them he works there.Rommels LT(Peter Van Eyck)is suspicious.

Rommel,having dinner with several captured British Officers tells them he has a secret foolproof plan called The Five Graves.

James Mason and Christopher Plummer also played The Desert Fox.Eric Von Stroheim is a standout.

 

Edited by: ERROL23 on Feb 25, 2014 11:53 PM

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Filed Marshal Erwin Rommel.    And he never mentions the Five Graves during the game of "Twenty Questions" Rommel instigates during his luncheon for the captured British officers.  The audience only finds out about them as he explains to "Davos," the waiter-spy Franchot Tone's character is masquerading as, that the Germans had buried a series of supply depots in the sands of Egypt years before the onset of war.

 

Karl Michael Vogler also played Rommel, in 1970's PATTON.

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Filed Marshal Erwin Rommel.    And he never mentions the Five Graves during the game of "Twenty Questions" Rommel instigates during his luncheon for the captured British officers.  The audience only finds out about them as he explains to "Davos," the waiter-spy Franchot Tone's character is masquerading as, that the Germans had buried a series of supply depots in the sands of Egypt years before the onset of war.

 

Karl Michael Vogler also played Rommel, in 1970's PATTON.

A few others who played Erwin Rommel on film and TV:

 

Werner Hinz  1962

" The Longest Day"

 

Wolfgang Preiss  1971

" Raid on Rommel"

 

Hardy Kruger  1988/89

" War and Remembrance"

 

Michael York  1990

" Night of the Fox"

 

and Robert Culp , ROBERT CULP ? 1985

"Key to Rebecca"

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Franchot Tone has very few 'outstanding performances' among his films - I sort of blame this on his "nothing" face.  He's a nice-enough looker, but not in the ladykiller-handsome ballpark like so many others. 

 

But FIVE GRAVES TO is just about perfect for him - that role, I mean.  His character can't be strong or fierce looking - he needs to be meek, mild - a "nothing" face.  The good thriller moments of the film are handled perfectly by Tone, too. 

 

PHANTOM LADY would prove he could again lead a dark film with thriller mystery moments, too, but then he flips completely into Lucy's husband in HER HUSBAND'S AFFAIRS in a comedic film with him as Lucy's erstwhile straight-man hubby.  (I keep remembering the comment that Hollywood didn't know what to do with Lucille Ball, but she had some jim-dandy films.  I think she did pretty well.)

 

Tone goes on to litter himself across American TV and, of course, I was too young to notice him then.  Darn.

 

But back to the desert for a moment, I consider FIVE GRAVES to be among my favorite war films because of Tone's perfect "nothingness", his ability to be such a non-threat but always stressed over the potential for discovery. 

 

His next film, PILOT #5, is another one worthy of Favorites consideration, too. 

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Franchot Tone has very few 'outstanding performances' among his films - I sort of blame this on his "nothing" face.  He's a nice-enough looker, but not in the ladykiller-handsome ballpark like so many others. 

 

But FIVE GRAVES TO is just about perfect for him - that role, I mean.  His character can't be strong or fierce looking - he needs to be meek, mild - a "nothing" face.  The good thriller moments of the film are handled perfectly by Tone, too. 

 

PHANTOM LADY would prove he could again lead a dark film with thriller mystery moments, too, but then he flips completely into Lucy's husband in HER HUSBAND'S AFFAIRS in a comedic film with him as Lucy's erstwhile straight-man hubby.  (I keep remembering the comment that Hollywood didn't know what to do with Lucille Ball, but she had some jim-dandy films.  I think she did pretty well.)

 

Tone goes on to litter himself across American TV and, of course, I was too young to notice him then.  Darn.

 

But back to the desert for a moment, I consider FIVE GRAVES to be among my favorite war films because of Tone's perfect "nothingness", his ability to be such a non-threat but always stressed over the potential for discovery. 

 

His next film, PILOT #5, is another one worthy of Favorites consideration, too. 

 

I also view FGTC as one of Tone's best movie roles.    One of the reasons he kind of fades to the background is that plays the secondary male lead behind actors like Clark Gable.    But at least Tone didn't have as much of a 'nothing' face as Ralph Bellamy.   

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I think Tone (and Lee Tracy) are two fo the great "Nothing Faces" in Hollywood, while I consider Bellamy's far more distinctive - it's got lines, jaws.  He uses it fairly plainly - hiding expressiveness.  But Tone and Lee Tracy have such a plain, everyman face - indistinct, in that way.

 

Tone's FIVE GRAVES and PHANTOM LADY were two roles that pushed him to be a favored, collectible actor.  But HER HUSBAND'S AFFAIRS and the rather neatly-twisted character he has in EVERY GIRL SHOULD BE MARRIED exposed us to characters a bit more complex than the first-half of each film offered.  And he pulled those off, quite well.

 

Robert Young and Robert Montgomery might come closer to my idea of "Nothing Faced" actors but Robert Young's ability is spoiled by his years on American TV - er, on MY American TV schedule, so he was never qualified to fit into a 'nothing face' category - he was always an American TV Dad.  Montgomery might fit better except he had some pretty daunting roles (I probably remember him from THEY WERE EXPENDABLE too much to ever consider him 'dead pan' or 'not expressive'.  He had to be jaw-clenching hard in that one - not a "nothing face", therefore.  He might have been too square-jawed, too strong-of-features, too.

 

Lee Tracy and Tone have become favorites (me collecting everything movie I can) because they are so ordinary looking, yet deliver outstanding performances when given the right material.  One of Lee Tracy's most shocking portrayals was in the 1964 THE BEST MAN, a film about political vomit.  This was Lee's first big-time film appearance in almost two decades - and sadly his last.  But he and Tone both helped American TV maintain a momentum.

Both are actors that TCM's showings have let me 'discover', and I'm grateful for that.  This always makes me wonder how many other 'plain faced' actors I've let slide under my radar (Aline MacMahon is one of those on the femme side of things.)   Women may face a much tougher battle to be distinctive.

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