7.8/10
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Ice Cold in Alex (1958)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, War | 27 June 1958 (UK)
During World War II 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 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 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:

Ice Cold in Alex 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

Sylvia Syms's husband used to send her obscene limericks in the post, which she then gleefully read out to the cast and crew. See more »

Goofs

At the checkpoint when entering Alexandria, the MP Captain hands over a shirt saying "This is for your South African friend". Later Captain Anson states that he has told security that he has a German Officer with them. Anson is trying to conceal Lutz's assumed identity and would not have told the checkpoint captain that Lutz was South African. See more »

Quotes

Captain van der Poel: It has been quite an experience. All against the desert. The greater enemy. I've learnt a lot about the English. So different from all I've been taught. Auf wiedersehen.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: TOBRUK - 1942 See more »

Alternate Versions

Original British version, "Ice Cold in Alex", runs 130 minutes. US distributor shortened the film in 1961 to 76 minutes and released it as "Desert Attack". See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) 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

My favourite war movie
19 July 2002 | by cmark51See all my reviews

Ice Cold in Alex used to show up on the late show on CBC years ago, and it has also been on some of the cable channels. It gets better with each viewing. When the subject of war movies comes up, I always tell people this is my favourite war movie, and, in my opinion, one of the best - and usually get a blank look. They recognize the cast when I list them, though. And it is a great cast - Mills, Andrews, Quayle. And I am totally in love with Sylvia Sims in this. (I guess I must have a thing for beautiful women, with no makeup, sweating in khakis. I loved Juliette Binoche in Canadian battledress in The English Patient, too - but I digress).

This is simply good storytelling and great character drama in a setting that tests character, with an authentic look and feel and superb B&W photography of the kind that distinguished so many post-war 'neo-realist' films. There are so many great moments such as van der Poel lifting the ambulance, the 'surprise' encounter with the SAS (?) man, the Blimpish officer's encounter with an 88-mm shell in his Humber staff car, Mill's moments of crisis, stunning closeups of Sylvia Sims, and and especially that moment in the bar which makes you want to run out for a tall frosty one. Next time I view it, I will indeed have a cold Carlsberg waiting in the fridge. Years ago, I was sailing across Lake Winnipeg to Gimli on a slow, hot July day, with little wind, I promised we would enjoy beer and pizza when we finally made it to harbour, and I was thinking of this movie.

I am also a bit of a military vehicle buff, and I like this movie for that, too - for me, the ambulance - I think it's an Morris-Commecial CS11/30F, or maybe a Ford WOT2, but I'd have to see the movie again to be sure - is also one of the stars. Cranking-up-the-sand-dune is probably my favourite scene with it. The Wages of Fear /Scorcerer comes to mind as a comparable vehicle-as-character movie.

Vehicle buffs will also enjoy the anachronism of seeing a Land Rover parked on the street in the background of the final shot - the car wasn't in production until 1947.


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