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Thread: Favorite World War II Movies

  1. #1
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    Default Favorite World War II Movies

    My favorite World War II film is The Desert Fox, starring James Mason as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. When it came out, 1951, the war had only been over a few years and many critics wondered, why make a hero of an enemy, dead or not?

    The film was well done, one of Mason’s best, in my opinion. Perhaps people on this forum more knowledgeable than I can point out inaccuracies in it—I’m not that much on the nuts-and-bolts of military history.

    Luther Adler, the great Jewish actor, should have received an Academy Award for his portrayal of Hitler. It wasn’t so much that Adler looked like the dictator in his last years, but he caught the essence of the Führer. I think Adler also portrayed Hitler elsewhere. I know he did him in a Twilight Zone episode.

    Another Mason film I liked, made about the same time, was Five Fingers, about Operation Cicero, where the British ambassador to Ankara’s valet rifled through the ambassador’s safe, extracting various top-secret documents, which he sold to the Abwehr (who paid him in counterfeit British pounds). Towards the end, Berlin had in its possession details of Overload—they refused to believe it, however.

    The British, in the early days of the war, couldn’t match the Germans, but more than made up for it in their crack espionage system. They turned most of the Nazi spies in the UK--either that, or face the firing squad. And, of course, there was Ultra, which revealed everything Hitler was saying over his Enigma machines.

    As an aside to The Desert Fox, I had been looking for this film for many years. One day, walking my dog, I was sorting through a box of tapes at a yard sale—and thought I had The Desert Fox! It was labeled The Desert Fox, but when I put it in my machine, it turned out to be hard-core pornography—no James Mason anywhere! I have to admit, I fast-forwarded through it, but it was sheer pornography, nothing redeeming. The next day I went back and said I wasn’t going to ask for my money back, but he should remove that box (which he claimed was his late father’s), because if a minor got ahold of any of those tapes, the guy was going to be in deep trouble—if only from an irate parent.
    Last edited by Gary D.; 10-07-2009 at 11:27 AM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    I loved the Desert Fox. I think any movie with Rommel is great because its in Africa and is more exotic. My favourite is Das Boot. I cried at the end because these men went through so much to survive all odds at sea, only to die from a frigin air attack on the harbour when they completed their mission. No doubt a sad movie, although fictional....
    Wiki is ok. History Channel is ok.
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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    I loved the Desert Fox. I think any movie with Rommel is great because its in Africa and is more exotic. My favourite is Das Boot. I cried at the end because these men went through so much to survive all odds at sea, only to die from a frigin air attack on the harbour when they completed their mission. No doubt a sad movie, although fictional....
    I saw Das Boot when it was first released. I don't remember that much about it--the English subtitles didn't bother me. I recall feeling very claustrophobic watching this movie. I'm sure claustrophobia released a lot of potential men from being in the undersea service of any nation. You can imagine the smell! But I guess they got used to it. Anyway, as I recall, it was probably pretty accurate.

    I also liked Sink the Bismark, but, even with Kenneth More in it, I am not sure about the complete accuracy--the overall accuracy, maybe. Admiral Lutjens was protrayed as a devout Nazi--at that time members of the Reich services, at least to my knowledge, weren't allowed to have a party affiliation. I think this came about after the 1944 attempt on Hitler's life at Rastenberg. I may be wrong. Anyway, I question if Lutjens was as fanatical as the movie made him out to be. It was a stirring film, however.

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    I second Herman2's opinion of Das Boot. Wolfgang Peterson was on a roll with that one. I have a copy of the ultra-extended director's cut that I've just about wore out. I think Wolgang Peterson did a film named "Stalingrad" that was very good as well. There are a few newer films such as "A Midnight Clear" and "When Trumpets Fade" that I like very much as well. Of course, there's always "Saving Private Ryan"- also a favorite of mine. Mainly because of the sound and savage effects of the film as much as the story line.

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Moving to appropriate forum...

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by Non_Sequitor View Post

    * * *Of course, there's always "Saving Private Ryan"- also a favorite of mine. Mainly because of the sound and savage effects of the film as much as the story line.
    When this movie was released, one of my younger co-workers said it was 'too violent.' So, the Normandy Invasion wasn't violent??? I'm glad they more or less told it like it was--the more horror and gore the better, lest we forget what was involved.

    There's a lot I don't like about present-day movies, but they're generally more factual (at least those set during the war) than those released during the war. The studios sought to demonize our enemies, so the audience would forget it was our young men killing their young men, regardless of color.

    I loved Vicki Baum's Hotel Berlin '43. The (propaganda) film came out during the war, so when I had a chance to view it on television, I looked forward to it. What a letdown. They took a beautiful love story, a renown German actress hiding, befriending, and finally falling in love with a young anti-Nazi student, and grossly twisted the plot. At the end, the actress sought to betray her lover to the Gestapo to save her own skin; he, in turn, took her down to the cellar and shot her. I wonder how Baum felt about Hollywood ruining her book?
    Last edited by Gary D.; 10-07-2009 at 06:04 PM. Reason: typo

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by Non_Sequitor View Post
    I second Herman2's opinion of Das Boot. Wolfgang Peterson was on a roll with that one. I have a copy of the ultra-extended director's cut that I've just about wore out. I think Wolgang Peterson did a film named "Stalingrad" that was very good as well.
    Agreed...two very good movies that certainly "open one's eye's".



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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Probably not known to modern audiences, but a great and different film about WWII, and a much awarded film in its own right, was The Best Years of Our Lives: http://www.filmsite.org/besty.html
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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Two others are Ice Cold in Alex and The Hill.
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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by Non_Sequitor View Post
    I think Wolgang Peterson did a film named "Stalingrad" that was very good as well.
    "Stalingrad" was directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, Petersen was not involved. Actually Petersen had already moved to Hollywood by the time "Stalingrad" was filmed.
    "I just ran out of ammo. I will ram this one. Good bye, we'll meet in Valhalla." - Major Heinrich Ehrler, April 4, 1945

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Quote Originally Posted by flamethrowerguy View Post
    "Stalingrad" was directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, Petersen was not involved.
    You are correct...thanx for pointing that out.



    What you do in life, echoes in eternity!!!

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Another movie I particularly like is Night of the Generals. It's been a while since I read the book, but I viewed the tape again recently. It's as though the author had Peter O'Toole in mind when he was writing his book--well translated from the German, by the way.

    Excellent supporting cast in this 1966 film. Omar Sharif, one of my favorites, was very believable playing the German policeman trying to zero in on the German general who killed the prostitute in Warsaw. I recommend both the book and the movie. It's one of the few movies you can see and enjoy it after having loved the book.

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Wolfgang Petersen directed Das Boot. Pronounced "Dahs Boat". It is a 1980 or '81 film
    that shows the horrors of submarine warfare from the German point of view. Well directed and the acting by German actors is worth commending. I also have "Stalingrad"
    one of the most brutal depictions of warfare on the Eastern Front for German forces. It
    has a horrible climax. Really worth a look. It can be found on eBay, Amazon and almost all online movie stores. It has English subtitles as does Das Boot.

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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    The Enemy Below is quite a good film about submarine versus anti-sub surface ship.

    Morning Departure, while about a post-war sub striking a WWII mine and the consequences, is probably still good viewing although it's been twenty or thirty years since last I saw it.
    ..
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    Default Re: Favorite World War II Movies

    Hi Rising Sun. Yes, I have "The Enemy Below"; a very well directed movie by **** Powell whom I believe was a WWII vet himself. Somehow the other movie has escaped me. Also I have a book from the '80's "World War II SuperFacts". To my amazement I learned that Lee Marvin was an ex-Marine and he assaulted 21 beaches in the Pacific Theater and was wounded 7 times! At Saipan only he and 5 others survived out of his company of 247 marines. He spent a year in the hospital recovering from his wounds and studied acting on the GI Bill. He drew a full disability pension from the military until his death. A great American.

    "No Freddie. They don't love me. They'll do it because their d _ _ _ _ d good soldiers."
    Gen. Patton when a British officer said he wasn't aware that Patton's troops loved him enough to pull out of a major battle and march to
    Bastogne, Belgium in relief of the 82nd and 101st Airborne troops.
    Last edited by Anglo-Saxon-Viking; 10-25-2009 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Format

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