The House of the Angel focuses on the ruling class in 1920s Argentina, a deeply repressive society where political arguments were often settled by duels, and young women were expected to be totally ignorant of sex.
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
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 »
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 »
[after the two nurses agree to go with Capt Anson across the minefield]
Dames and mines. Lovely party.
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Opening credits prologue: TOBRUK - 1942 See more »
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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