7.8/10
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53 user 24 critic

Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, War | 27 June 1958 (UK)
During WW2 in North Africa, a medical field unit must cross the desert in their ambulance in order to reach the British lines in Alexandria.

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Writers:

Christopher Landon (novel), T.J. Morrison (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Mills ... Captain Anson
Sylvia Syms ... Sister Diana Murdoch
Anthony Quayle ... Captain van der Poel
Harry Andrews ... M.S.M. Pugh
Diane Clare ... Sister Denise Norton
Richard Leech ... Captain Crosbie
Liam Redmond ... Brigadier (D.D.M.S.)
Allan Cuthbertson ... Brigadier's Staff Officer
David Lodge ... C.M.P. Captain (Tank Trap)
Michael Nightingale Michael Nightingale ... C.M.P. Captain (Check Point)
Basil Hoskins Basil Hoskins ... C.M.P. Lieutenant (Alexandria)
Walter Gotell ... 1st German Officer
Frederick Jaeger ... 2nd German Officer
Richard Marner ... German Guard
Peter Arne ... British Officer at Oasis
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Storyline

A group of army personnel and nurses attempt a dangerous and arduous trek across the deserts of North Africa during the second world war. 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 Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Tobruk to Alexandria... they had to make it... even if one of'em was a traitor!

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

27 June 1958 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Attack See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1961) | (1958) (pre-censored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The beer that the crew drink at journey's end in the novel is American Rhinegold. Although it's not actually a German beer, it certainly sounds like one. As the war was still a very fresh memory in many people's heads at the time, the decision was made to go with Danish Carlsberg beer instead. In reality, as Denmark was occupied by the Germans in WW2, they would not have been able to get Carlsberg in Alexandria. More likely they would have had the local beer. See more »

Goofs

When a group of German Stukas bomb the minefield, one of the camera shots is of a plane's bomb doors opening. Stukas didn't have bomb doors as their bombs were mounted externally. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Anson: [after the two nurses agree to go with Capt Anson across the minefield] Dames and mines. Lovely party.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: TOBRUK - 1942 See more »

Connections

Featured in War Stories (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

My Old Man (Said Follow the Van)
[uncredited]
Written (1919) by Fred W. Leigh and Charles Collins
Sung by John Mills, Sylvia Syms and Harry Andrews
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Desert, The Great Enemy
9 December 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Ice Cold In Alex could never have been made during World War II at the time of the actual fighting. Though it benefits from location shooting in Libya where the action actually took place during the desert war.

The time is after the second fall of Tobruk as the British are fleeing from the Libyan desert to regroup along the El Alamein line that General Auchinleck had staked out. John Mills is a captain with a drinking problem and he's in charge of a party of four driving an ambulance out which consists of RSM Harry Andrews and British nurses Sylvia Sims and Diane Clare. Along the way they pick up Anthony Quayle who is South African. He proves to be of invaluable assistance in getting through German lines twice and in other ways. But Quayle has a mission all his own.

Coming in on the side of the Allies was a matter of considerable debate in the Union Of South Africa. Jan Christian Smuts carried the day for the Allies, but the opposition party which later imposed the apartheid policies were pro-Axis. They won the post war South African elections and held power until Nelson Mandela took over.

The desert turns out to be the real enemy for this little band and they all pull together. One of the company does not make it to the end.

In a way that Erwin Rommel would have liked, the Afrika Korps is not portrayed as inhuman monsters by any means. Interestingly enough in the same year Ice Cold In Alex came out, The Young Lions had a German officer machine-gunning helpless British stragglers just like this party is. Maximilian Schell was the Nazi who did the deed in that film and both of these films rank as among my favorite war films ever.

The title refers to a cold beer that Mills is determined to have at a favorite bar of his in Alexandria. Ice Cold In Alex has some flawless performances by the entire cast, the desert travelers mesh very well as an ensemble group. The film ranks among the best work that all of the principal players ever did. And the filming in the actual location in Libya was able to blend some black and white newsreel footage in to the story without a seam showing.

I saw this film when it first came out in theater in 1958. I was impressed with it then and even more so now.


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