Ice Cold In Alex details
|Formats:||PG DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||John Mills, Diane Clare, Harry Andrews, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle|
|Director:||J. Lee Thompson|
Ice Cold In Alex
|Run time:||2 hours 12 minutes|
|Rental release:||21 Feb 2005|
Most helpful review
Ice Cold --- but red hot in being one of the top 100 Best FilmsBy roncoach (370 reviews) from suffolk , 07 Nov 2011
[Highly rated reviewer]This is quite simply one of those rare films for which male, female and child viewers all have a soft spot. Once seen, it is indelibly stamped on the memory and I would bet any money that every lover of films who has seen this once has seen it many times after that first delightful viewing.
It is a long film containing very few characters. These two factors present real impediments to any film maker but J Lee Thompson deftly brushes them aside and great credit goes to him for that. So those potential hurdles are no problem here.
With so few characters, the actors and their performances need to be 'top notch' --- and they most certainly are in this case. The 4 main characters, virtually carrying the whole film for 2 hours as a quarte,t all deserve mentioning by name here: John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and stalwart Harry Andrews. Even the ambulance is fondly remembered as a leading member of the cast.
The plot is simple: an ambulance simply has to get from A to B but in this case we have a rising tension throughout the film because the area between A and B is the vast, dangerous and German-controlled wastes of the Libyan desert (where it is acurately and superbly filmed on location). BTW, I think the choice of B&W cinematography is exactly the right choice in this case even though it was filmed much later than the normal WWII movies usually made during and immediately after the conflict.
I find it very hard to think of a negative critism with regard to this splendid film. But, just for the record, there is an unnecessary and ambiguous 'love interest' between the Mills and Syms characters which is somehow out of place. But, to be honest, finding any negative aspect of this film is simply churlish!
So many memorable moments to savour: Quayle's far too short 'short-shorts'; the tense minefield scene; the quicksand; the amusing 'where-does-he-keep-going-with-his-shovel'; the wonderful 'ambulance-up-the-hill' scenes; the quick-thinking disappearance of an Army Identification dog-tag;........... and the way in which we all taste every sip of that lager :))))
This may not be my beloved Golden Age of Hollywood but it must surely rank among my top 100 films of all time.
An absolute 'must' to see and enjoy
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Worth waiting for..........By Steven Walker from London, England , 09 Jul 2004Based upon a true story the film is great matinee viewing. It centres around Captain Anson (John Mills) journey across occupied North Africa during the Second World War. His mission is to deliver two nurses to the town of Alexandria in an ambulance. The route is made the more difficult by the constant threat of encountering Nazi patrols and indeed from attack by German ground and airborne forces.
There is much more to the film than just a simple tale of the days spent in the Ambulance. In retrospect it is almost like a play in that the scenes are acted out against a desolate desert back drop or in the ambulance and as such the story relies solely on the dialogue.
There is more depth here than just a 'road trip' film. For me it showed how social positioning of men and women has changed over the 50 or so years. The men are strong, commanding and uncomplicated whereas the two nurses are young, pretty and in their own words silly things that are just no good at anything other than crying and getting in the way. No more so is this highlighted with their relationship John Mills character.
Captain Anson is a very stereotypical almost clich? British soldier; a leader, determined, and to top it all with a public school accent - hurrah, don't worry chaps we'll soon see good old Blighty's shores again. The younger pretty nurses soon swoon to him even though he is uncompromising and rude as he traditionally believes a woman?s place is certainly not in the battle fields of Africa. A woman?s place in this film is definitely by her man. In fact it gets so detached from how we are today that the exchanges are amusing.
The film has some classic moments; they encounter a South Africa soldier in the desert and bring him along for the ride. His frequent trips into the desert make the others suspicious and he is uncovered as a German spy reporting back to his superiors regarding their movements. Famous scenes involving quick sand and the monumental task of pushing the ambulance up a seemingly unending sand dune enable the film to address many key themes that were prevalent at that time. In particular respect, forgiveness and solidarity are core themes and they culminate at the end, when they reach Alexandria, and Captain Anson buys them all the cold beer he promised, including the German spy, as they learn that you can be a Nazi and human too. This scene of them downing a glistening frothy pint was later used by Carlsberg in an advert and during the filming required sufficient retakes for John Mills to be drunk by the final cut.
Perhaps now it needs to be taken with a little pinch of salt but still terribly enjoyable, tense and emotional you can?t help but be drawn in and wonder what you would do in the same position.
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