57 user 28 critic

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.


J. Lee Thompson


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




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


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


A thousand square miles of blazing, pitiless desert, and a story so unusual, so gripping that it could only spring from life itself. See more »


Adventure | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Although Director J. Lee Thompson had seen The Wages of Fear (1953), he had not drawn direct influence from it for this movie. See more »


After some days of travel Sister Diana asks where Captain van der Poel is going with a shovel, to which the others reply, 'Never ask', implying that he is going off to the toilet. But surely well before this time this one of the others would have done the same, prompting the same question. At the very least she would have asked long ago what the arrangements were for such things in the desert. See more »


Narrator: Two million men. Two million stories. This is one. It happens to be true.
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 »


References The Wages of Fear (1953) See more »


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

User Reviews

Excellent film
19 April 2005 | by cllr-roger-smithSee all my reviews

I recently watched the film again after many years. It bears its age well and I had forgotten the number of nail-biting sequences: brigadier's car blown up, chase by Germans, second check by Germans, Anthony Quayle in the quicksand, and best of all, "winding" the ambulance up the sand cliff to get out of the Qattra Depression, etc. etc.

The four main characters play their roles well although my personal favourite is Anthony Quayle as the South African/German. He successfully conveys a figure of strength and confidence, balanced by a sense of defeatism when his true identity is revealed.

John Mills is solid in his playing of the worn-out but still dogged British officer although he is diminutive against Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews.

Sylvia Sims is plucky and just about believable whilst Harrt Andrews is totally dependable as the sergeant.

Altogether a cracking film !

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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


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

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Black and White (archive footage)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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