A group of Army personnel and nurses attempt a dangerous and arduous trek across the desert of North Africa during World War II. The leader of the team dreams of his ice cold beer when he reaches Alexandria, but the problems just won't go away.Written by
In the bar scene in Alexandria, Sir John Mills was drinking real beer because ginger ale and other substitutes didn't look real enough on film. In the final cut (the fourteenth take) he actually was quite drunk. See more »
In the closing scene, as Otto is driven away, there is a Land Rover in the background. Land Rovers were not made until after WWII. See more »
[to van der Poel]
Don't just stand there like a Hype Park floozy wondering how she's going to get through the winter! Get back there and push!
And you, stop dreaming about your love life and come and help!
See more »
Opening credits prologue: TOBRUK - 1942 See more »
When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'A' rating. All cuts were waived in 1988 when the film was granted a 'PG' certificate for home video. See more »
Fitzcarraldo had his ship, Captain Anson had his ambulance first.
Ice-Cold in Alex is directed by J. Lee Thompson and is based on the novel of the same name written by Christopher Landon. The latter of which co-writes the screenplay with T.J. Morrison. It stars John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews. Leighton Lucas provides the music and Gilbert Taylor photographs in black and white.
World War II and the British base at Tobruk, Libya, is attacked by the German Afrika Korps. During the evacuation 4 personnel are tasked with the mission to drive an ambulance across the desert back to British lines in Alexandria in Egypt. Captain Anson (Mills), MSM Tom Pugh (Andrews), Nurse Diana Murdoch (Syms) and Nurse Denise Norton (Diane Clare) are the four people in question, soon to be joined by a South African officer, Captain van der Poel (Quayle). Poel seems shifty, but his physicality and supply of Gin will no doubt be handy on this arduous trip. And arduous it will prove, as the elements, Germans and inner conflict will all test the group to the limit.
It falls under the war movie banner, but the truth is that Ice-Cold in Alex is a different sort of animal. The core of Landon's story is to observe how a different group of characters cope in the face of mental and physical hardships. The war and the desert landscapes form the backdrop, but this is in essence a character study where the characters are defined by their actions. Thankfully the group of actors on show are able to turn in great shows to not let the slow structure of the film be a hindrance. Mills and Quayle especially bring a dynamic to their characters, drawing the viewer into the desert with them in the process. A number of quality scenes stand out in the picture, be it involving quicksand or trying to get "Katy" the ambulance over a hill, the tension mounts and the film never wants for effective drama. While the finale crowns the picture in a wave of humanistic collectedness. 8/10
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