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4.5 out of 5 stars71
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2003
Well what can you say? two superb actors of their times in a pair of gritty war films(at least for their time!).James Mason as the soldiers soldier General Rommel(DERERT FOX)seems to suit the part perfectly.Whilst action is fairly thin on the ground the political backstabbing and clambouring for favour of their all powerfull Fuhrer is neatly handled.The state hero soldier who realises too late he has been fighting for a madman.Ultimately destined to fall foul of the very war machine he fought so well for Rommel struggles to justify his actions as he learns more of the truth.Only Mason could pull off the stereo typical German-English accent we all love to use when telling jokes and make it watchable. Great stuff.
Rommels thorn in the side and opposing army the 'DESERT RATS' (8th army) is represented in the second film by another legend of the big screen Richard Burton.Burton is a Captain of a band of determined Australian soldiers who by day defend against Rommels tanks and troops and by night raid into the enemies rear lines and cause havok.Great British stiff upper lip stuff all around. Mason co-stars as Rommel in this film and brings us the best moment of the film when he and Burton by a wierd coincidence meet and exchange words.Great actors in a great scene.Well worth a watch.
The quality of the film is good and clear so the transfer to DVD was done well.The theatrical trailers for both films are included and thats about it, but what do you want for less than twenty quid? buy it!
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on 6 August 2007
I can remember "Montie" being interviewed just before one of the 8th Army's (The Desert Rats) Albert Hall reunion's in the 1950's and being asked of all the people who had died in the war, who he would like to be with him at the reunion.
His answer was "Erwin Rommel, an officer and a gentleman!"
Two great movies. Both well worth watching.
It's interesting to note that James Mason played many military roles during his long career, but during World War II he was a conscientious objector which caused many actors who had served their country (David Niven, Peter Ustinov, John Mills etc., etc.,) to refuse to act with him.
Despite all that, two great movies, buy and enjoy.
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James Mason gives two very different impersonations of Rommel, every Brit's favorite Nazi general, in The Desert Fox and The Desert Rats. The former is a solid biopic more concerned with his involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler than his exploits in Africa, painting him as an honorable man unable to believe just how insane Hitler is until it is too late, while the latter is a standard war movie set against the siege of Tobruk slightly elevated by Robert Wise's direction but which still manages to feel overlong at an hour and a half. Richard Burton and Robert Newton are the top-liners, but Mason turns up for an extended cameo as a dastardly Nazi swine of the "Die, Englander pigdog" comic strip variety.

The only extras are the original trailers for each film.
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on 8 April 2016
Bit of a game of two halves here in my opinion. I'd ideally give it 3.5 stars if I could - 3 for The Desert Fox and 4 for the Desert Rats. The only thing they have in common really is James Mason playing Rommel in each film - but he plays him differently in each. In TDR he (in common with most of the German officers in the film it seems) has a cut-glass British accent. In TDF he gives Rommel an almost guttural German accent.

TDF is, in truth, a pretty slight affair. By no means the detailed biopic you might wish for. We see Rommel in the desert (albeit briefly, despite the film's title) and we see him inspecting the so-called Atlantic wall. Interspersed are, frankly unnecessary, segments of real footage from the Desert War and the Normandy Landings, which are just padding the film out really. The bulk of the film is about Rommel's possible involvement in the July plot as he comes to realise that his Fuhrer is no military genius and is leading Germany to disaster. There are some good scenes with von Runstedt discussing the military and political situation that they found themselves in, and Mason is always excellent.

TDR is a really good solid action/combat film in praise of the Australian defenders of Tobruk as it was laid siege by Rommel's Afrika Korps. Richard Burton is their British senior officer (brought in initially because the Aussie troops were considered too 'green'). There is some examination of the loneliness of leadership, and the fear inevitably felt by soldiers in war, but this is mainly a series of battle sequences, including a daring commando raid. When captured Burton has chance to lock swords with Mason's Rommel in one particularly enjoyable scene. But ultimately it's about the bravery of the Aussie troops - the desert rats - who held out against the onslaught.
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on 28 February 2010
Two great movies that are worth being seen. It's interesting to note that James Mason has dressed many parts as a soldier in his long career, but during the Second World War was a conscientious objector, and forced many players who have served their country to refuse to play with him. Despite all this, two great films, buy and enjoy.
James Mason in The Desert Fox and in The Desert Rats, deftly manages to give us two very different representations of Rommel, the Nazi general most loved and respected by the Allies. The first is more geared to its involvement in the plot to terminate Hitler than his exploits in Africa, and succeeds in presenting the 'man of honor who does not want to follow Hitler in his madness, while the second is a classic war movie that deals the siege of Tobruk, slightly ennobled by the direction of Robert Wise, but also manages to be too long lasting approximately an hour and a half.
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on 26 February 2013
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on 25 January 2013
One is a worthy action war film, the other an interesting biopic about Field Marshall Rommell. Both good films. Excellent deal as a double pack.
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on 20 February 2007
Although having two Classis films in the DVD package one has to wonder

why they mixed up history in using the Title ' The Desert Rats '

The Desert Rats in Real Life was Composed of regular British Army units, the famous "Desert Rats" division was originally formed as the Mobile Division or Mobile Force (Egypt) and was one of two training commands used by the British before World War II to develop armoured warfare techniques.

At the outbreak of war in September 1939 it was renamed the Armoured Division (Egypt) and finally 7th Armoured Division on 16 February 1940.

The DVD with the title ' The Desert Rats ' is about The Australian 9th Division besieged at Tobruk were denigrated as being "caught like rats in a trap" by German propaganda, the Australians calling themselves the 'Rats of Tobruk' with pride as a result.

So although both units fought with Courage they really should have called it ' The Rats of Tobruk ' rather than ' The Desert Rats '
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on 9 June 2015
The Desert Fox / The desert Rats (2 Disc Box. The Desert Fox is about James Mason plays Field Marshal Erwin Rommel Illustrating his way of life and his attitude toward his own forces and how he regarded the enemy. His many tussles with Adolf Hitler and his crew.
Part 2 The Desert Rats starring Richard Burton, Robert Newton and James Mason. Richard Burton played the English Officer in charge of an Australian gunners. A perfect foil to Rommel's company.. .
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on 30 March 2015
Preferred The Desert Rats to The Desert Fox, although both were relatively short films in duration (in modern terms), but neither is a 'classic' unless you consider them to be so. I felt Rats skimmed over the Desert campaign, concentrating only on the Tobruk siege, whilst Fox skimmed over the war in general, and barely provided an insight into Rommel's life. The DVD quality was fine, the audio too.
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