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James Mason - "The Desert Fox"


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Howdy,

 

Great films today featuring James Mason...

('Tho tough competition from AMC showing John Wayne flicks all day)

 

 

Watched tonight's feature "The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel" on TCM recently.

A good film for what it is.

 

 

And, a controversial film on its release (and today), just like another recent TCM-aired film, "Tennessee Johnson."

 

 

Remember many years ago watching this film ("The Desert Fox") on TV in my university residence's common room. A bunch of us were watching this flick when in came a fellow house-mate of the Jewish faith. After seeing what we were watching, our friend suddenly expressed outrage that we were watching a film about a Nazi, and he went and turned the TV off.

This action set off fireworks, and, after things had quietened down, we all had a talk and peace and understanding ensued.

 

 

So, I am well aware of how controversial this film is and can be.

But, again, it helps to know the historcal context of both the film and of the character portrayed, Rommel.

Yes, Rommel supported the Nazis until his involvement with the 1944 assassination plot.

He was arguably a technician and an expert soldier who was "blinkered" in his view of politics.

His support for the Nazis probably had much to do with the Nazis allowing officers like Rommel to rise in the military ranks based on merit, and not on class background.

Remember that Germany had been a monarchy with an aristocracy, and that class background, and not merit, often determined how high one rose through the military ranks. Rommel would have been well aware of this. And he later shared Hitler's resentment towards traditional high-ranking German general staff officers (and those officers tended to despise Rommel as he didn't rise through the ranks in the "traditional" manner - this helps explain where in the film Rundstedt and Rommel discuss Rundstedt's past disparaging comments about Rommel).

With the Weimar Republic, things changed with the monarchy and aristocractic titles being banned (aristocrats got around this by legally changing their names to include their aristocratic title of count, earl, baron, etc., as part of their legal name), but old attitudes in the military were slower to change. Unfortunately (not unfortunate for the merit-based system, but unfortunate that Nazis were able to use it to get support), the Nazis were able to garner support from lower ranks in the military by continuing with the Republican merit-based system, with Nazi exceptions for race and for those who opposed them.

It's a very complex issue. You can argue Rommel should've known what was happening, but was an opportunist who didn't care and only cared about his career (this was a longstanding complaint about Rommel). You can also argue he was a technician who cared little about politics and wasn't concerned with anything not related to military matters. That if the German Communists had won in Germany in the 1930s, Rommel would have served them as well as he did the Nazis.

This is not a defence of Rommel, but just trying to establish the historical context.

 

 

As for the film, it was pretty good for 1951 despite what it is missing. Remade today, of course, the issues of how Rommel viewed the Holocaust and his views on the Nazi racial theories might be covered. And criticisms from senior and junior officers who served with him/under him included and explained. Also the complex issue of why he tolerated Nazis in the first place might have been covered showing his World War 1 heroics and his rise through military before WW2.

 

 

P.S. I had a relative (Great Uncle Heinz Laubenthal) who was a radio journalist (conscripted into Luftwaffe) embedded with the German military during World War 2.

He knew Rommel and spent time with Rommel in Africa eventually doing a radio report, "Ein Tag mit General Rommel unterwegs" ("A Day on the Road with Rommel") in summer 1941.

 

 

Incidentally, I also have met a few times Richard Rohmer, who was the reconnaissance pilot who spotted Rommel in his staff car in France on July 17, 1944 and who called in the air strike that shot up Rommel's car.

 

 

Ciao.

 

Edited by: RMeingast on Aug 11, 2012 6:17 PM

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How about Ustinov as Poirot? Classic, eh?

 

What a PIECE OF GARBAGE!

 

And this is the same station I was thanking just yesterday for their classic Barrymore selection.

 

Ye gods and monsters, what a piece of garbage.

 

As if there weren't enough CLASSICALLY CLASSIC Mason films to choose from, they had to choose THIS PIECE OF GARBAGE.

 

Oh well, you can't win 'em all, right TCM?

 

Right.

 

POG.

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Mason made 18 films in the 1930s, 22 in the 1940s, and 24 in the 1950s. I can't watch this modern 1982 Ustinov as Poirot crap. This is not classic, the era is not classic. And I don't see Mason in the film. Apparently this is being shown for the young people in the audience who demand wide screen and color, rather than Classic.

 

What about showing that film he did with Lucy?

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> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}This is not classic, the era is not classic. And I don't see Mason in the film.

This IS classic...and James Mason IS in the film (although not too much)...which is why they're showing it today.

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Wow! ya know, I was JUST thinkin' here that what a shame it is that James Mason never was in any "Ma & Pa Kettle" or maybe "Bowery Boys" movies.

 

Uh huh, 'cause a "classic" like THAT would have "DEFINITELY" been made in the "proper era" for some folks to watch around here, huh!

 

ROFL

 

(...oh, btw RM, seein' as how nobody here has as yet acknowledged your very nicely written original post about "The Desert Fox" and take on the Rommel's life, I will...well done and good read)

 

Edited by: Dargo2 on Aug 11, 2012 4:54 PM

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Did you EVAH see such a giant PIECE OF GARBAGE? He was bearable in Orient Express (or was that Finney, all Poirots pale to Suchet) but EUTS? GARBAAAAAAGE!

 

Mason is hiding behind the thirty layers of pancake makeup, and is married to some two bagger in a black and white dress.

 

Ye gods, I hope young people have more taste than this PIECE OF GARBAGE requires.

 

I figured he made enough really classically classic films to show in one day - so TCM, how do you explain this PIECE OF GARBAGE?

 

 

Fred, did you see The Return Of Peter Grimm? Had you seen it before?

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A big problem with a whole lot of modern movies is that they are WAY TOO LONG.

 

In the old days of double features, with 65 minute movies, if we didn't like one of the features, maybe we would like the next one. And the studios/distributors usually had two different types of films on a double-feature bill for that very reason.

 

But with these 2 to 2 1/2 hour movies, if it sucks, then it sucks for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

 

Whatever happened to all the great old classic Charlie Chan detective movies?

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OKAY, you two! PLEASE don't turn RM's thread here into ANOTHER freakin' TIRADE around here about "movies made after 19-freakin'-70", ALRIGHT???!!!

 

LOOK, YEAH, I would've liked TCM to show MY favorite James Mason film, the absolutely FANTASTIC Carol Reed Cold War drama The Man Between, but they DIDN'T!!! So freakin' WHAT???!!!

 

I know I'll still live to see the next freakin' day, even though they're not showin' it!

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Howdy,

 

> {quote:title=Dargo2 wrote:}{quote}Wow! ya know, I was JUST thinkin' here that what a shame it is that James Mason never was in any "Ma & Pa Kettle" or maybe "Bowery Boys" movies.

>

> Uh huh, 'cause a "classic" like THAT would have "DEFINITELY" been made in the "proper era" for some folks to watch around here, huh!

>

> ROFL

>

> (...oh, btw RM, seein' as how nobody here has as yet acknowledged your very nicely written original post about "The Desert Fox" and take on the Rommel's life, I will...well done and good read)

>

> Edited by: Dargo2 on Aug 11, 2012 4:54 PM

 

* That's ok. I made a boo-boo by posting a same thread twice. My other thread - since deleted (thanks) - was entitled "James Mason Day" then I added the "Desert Fox" movie.

 

I understand and agree with what they're talking about regarding "Evil Under the Sun."

Both Ustinov and Mason probably did this film for the money and for fun.

I can't imagine they took it seriously at the stage of their careers they were at when the film was made. I mean, it was one of Mason's last films as he passed away in 1984.

 

 

Anyway, we didn't get "Evil Under the Sun" in Canada. Instead, TCM aired "The Story of Three Loves" in the Great White North: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_Three_Loves

 

Tonight, Canucks get "Julius Caeser" instead of "Lolita".

 

P.S. Thanks, Dargo... I aims to be informative-like sometimes...

 

Ciao.

 

 

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Awwwwwww, come on, Dargo, if you know who can post you know what about you know whose you know what, then Fred and I can dither about the POG EUTS and the lovely TROPG.

 

Fred, thanks to the remote, yes the remote, my patience is less than a millisecond for bad programming. I WAS willing to watch for a wee bit, since I had liked Ustinov in Orient Express, but holey moley who the heck was that in the black and white dress, she was AWFUL! And Emma Peel, singing? And Roddy, just one question - why?

 

Sylvia Miles, it was in the b/w dress. From her IMDb, she doesn't appear to be all there.

 

Ohhhhhhh, for a full day of Charlie Chan, Oland and Toler both. Heavenly. Does TCM show them in Canada? I thought cable was going to pave the way for international viewing? Why can't I CHOOSE to watch TCM Canada for my overpriced payment price to FIOS, so I wouldn't have had EUTS imprinted on my brain all day and make Dargo upset? :):):):):):)

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> {quote:title=RMeingast wrote:}{quote}

> You can also argue he was a technician who cared little about politics and wasn't concerned with anything not related to military matters.

 

That should be true of any soldier. They support and defend the country and its people, no matter who sits on the throne (or at the president's desk . . . etc.). After all, good soldiers serve for 30 years or more, much longer than any freely elected civilian administration has held power in any country.

 

I feel the movie did a good job of balancing the varying views of Rommel and his career.

 

I wish TCM had been able to show *5 Fingers.* It's one of my favorite James Mason movies.

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> Awwwwwww, come on, Dargo, if you know who can post you know what about you know whose you know what, then Fred and I can dither about the POG EUTS and the lovely TROPG.

 

The difference is that they keep that confined to the thread dedicated to George Brent in Hot Topics.

 

RM started this thread to talk about *The Desert Fox*.

 

You want to complain about the programming on TCM today?

 

Why not start your own thread about that instead of derailing someone else's thread that has nothing to do with what you want to talk about?

 

By now a poster has to be living under a rock to not know how disappointed in TCM you are.

 

So why not start a thread about it where you can post to your heart's content about it and not derail other threads? That way you'll have a go to thread every time TCM disappoints you.

 

Edited by: lzcutter because small words like not are important

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*"But with these 2 to 2 1/2 hour movies, if it _sucks_ , then it _sucks_ for 2 to 2 1/2 hours."* - FCD

 

Are you alright, Fred? Such vernacular is definitely not normal for you.

 

Or are you hanging out with the "fast crowd" lately and picking up the bad habits of others?

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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> {quote:title=willbefree25 wrote:}{quote}Awwwwwww, come on, Dargo, if you know who can post you know what about you know whose you know what, then Fred and I can dither about the POG EUTS and the lovely TROPG.

Huh??? What the heck is POG, EUTS, and TROPG??

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> What the heck is POG, EUTS, and TROPG??

 

POG appears to be shorthand for one of her favorite descriptions- piece of garbage

 

EUTS appears to be shorthand for *Evil Under the Sun* which aired earlier today as part of James Mason's SUTS day but which she hated.

 

TROPG appears to be shorthand for *The Return of Peter Grimm* but whether she likes it or considers it a POG has yet to be determined.

 

I get that she doesn't like some of the films that were shown today but if she wants to rant about, start a new thread and do it there. Don't derail an existing thread where the OP is trying to have a serious talk about one of the films that were shown.

 

Edited by: lzcutter for clarity

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Howdy,

 

> {quote:title=Arturo wrote:}{quote}Where is THE DESERT RATS? FMC has shown THE DESERT FOX rather frequently in the last few months, but never this sequels of sorts. Would've been cool here as a companion piece to the other.

 

* "The Desert Rats" was more a straightforward war movie with James Mason basically doing a cameo as Rommel (also much less sympathetic view of Rommel as there is in "The Desert Fox"). Many historical inaccuracies in this film, so there you go:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Desert_Rats_%28film%29

 

Ciao.

 

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Howdy,

 

> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> > Awwwwwww, come on, Dargo, if you know who can post you know what about you know whose you know what, then Fred and I can dither about the POG EUTS and the lovely TROPG. The difference is that they keep that confined to the thread dedicated to George Brent in Hot Topics.

>

> RM started this thread to talk about *The Desert Fox*.

>

> You want to complain about the programming on TCM today?

>

> Why not start your own thread about that instead of derailing someone else's thread that has nothing to do with what you want to talk about?

>

> By now a poster has to be living under a rock to not know how disappointed in TCM you are.

>

> So why not start a thread about it where you can post to your heart's content about it and not derail other threads? That way you'll have a go to thread every time TCM disappoints you.

>

> Edited by: lzcutter because small words like not are important

 

* Yes, I'm a newbie here. And as such have read the TCM Code of Conduct for the Message Boards.

I guess some haven't or need to be reminded.

Oh well... There's always a few who spoil things...

 

Ciao.

 

 

 

 

 

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>Yes, I'm a newbie here.

 

It might be better for you to use a pseudonym on internet message boards. And use different names on different message boards. That's in case you make someone mad, and its best that they not know your real name.

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>POG appears to be shorthand for one of her favorite descriptions- piece of garbage

>

>EUTS appears to be shorthand for Evil Under the Sun which aired earlier today as part of James Mason's SUTS day but which she hated.

>

>TROPG appears to be shorthand for The Return of Peter Grimm

 

Thanks for your translations.

 

I saw this film several weeks ago, and I'm going to watch it again tonight because it is a very good film.

 

A similar story is told in the 2008 film, Valkyrie, which I also like.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

>

> I get that she doesn't like some of the films that were shown today but if she wants to rant about, start a new thread and do it there. Don't derail an existing thread where the OP is trying to have a serious talk about one of the films that were shown.

>

Excellent point, and you're absolutely correct about that.

 

2wg6gk5.jpg

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Howdy,

 

> {quote:title=FredCDobbs wrote:}{quote}

> > Yes, I'm a newbie here. It might be better for you to use a pseudonym on internet message boards. And use different names on different message boards. That's in case you make someone mad, and its best that they not know your real name.

 

* Nope, no need to use a pseudonym for me. Too many hide behind fake names. The anonymity allows people to evade personal accountability for what they write. But whatever...

I guess people have reasons for what they do... Who am I to judge them...

As for you, FredCDobbs, as Dwight K. Shrute once said, "Un-shun."

I only used the "ignore" feature because I didn't want to stay up all night arguing ad nauseam, entertaining as that might have been for those on the message board.

I wanted to take the boiling kettle off the stove and let things cool down awhile... But mostly I didn't want to stay up all night arguing...

But I guess I should have known better... I swallowed the bait, hook, line, and sinker...

I did read the "Blackboard Jungle" thread and the meandering way it went on... No problems... And I'm learning who the users are and their ways... Oh well...

 

Anyway, to make this somewhat relevant to TCM, I'm not watching Ginger Rogers Day today.

Sticking with AMC's John Wayne marathon - despite the same movies replayed over and over again as AMC is doing for their "marathon." At least TCM doesn't loop the movies like that... Oh well...

 

Ciao.

 

 

 

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