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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blu Ray truly worth waiting for...
Finally, one of the greatest ever British war films comes to the format it was destined for. A tense, thrilling war picture and a superbly written and acted character study with career-best performances from some of the finest actors Britain has ever produced, `Ice Cold in Alex' is a film that demands respectful treatment in the transfer to high definition, and Optimum...
Published on 16 Jun 2011 by Martin Thomson

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Subtitles be warned.
As someone who is hard of hearing I looked for the information on subtitles.It now appears Amazon have taken them off? As I bought a DVD on the strength of having subtitles and there were none.

Product details
Actors: John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Syms, Harry Andrews, Diane Clare
Directors: J. Lee Thompson
Writers: Christopher Landon, T.J...
Published 3 months ago by Ian D. Jones


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blu Ray truly worth waiting for..., 16 Jun 2011
By 
Martin Thomson (London UK) - See all my reviews
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Finally, one of the greatest ever British war films comes to the format it was destined for. A tense, thrilling war picture and a superbly written and acted character study with career-best performances from some of the finest actors Britain has ever produced, `Ice Cold in Alex' is a film that demands respectful treatment in the transfer to high definition, and Optimum have more than risen to the challenge, providing a simply stunning Blu Ray that doesn't so much push the boundaries of what older films can look like on Blu Ray as it does smash clean through them.

Put simply, this is one of the very finest black and white high definition transfers I have ever seen, with a level of detail and clarity that is simply staggering. Whilst the old standard DVD was very presentable, this new restoration blows it clean out of the water. Gilbert Taylor's razor-sharp cinematography has never and will never look better than it does here. Fine object detail is beyond criticism, with the numerous desert vistas providing a visual treat, and close-ups revealing every pore of skin and bead of sweat, enhancing the gritty feel of the film. Grading is exceptional, with a deep and rich greyscale and no evidence of clipping even in the brighter scenes. Digital tampering is kept to a minimum, with a natural film-like look present throughout. The use of modern `sprocketless' telecine transfer means that there is no evidence of telecine wobble, with the image remaining rock steady from the first frame to the last.

As with Optimum's release of `The Dam Busters', the original BBFC censor card has been retained, another lovely little touch that helps to set this release apart.

Sound is also good, presented as a 2 channel mono PCM track. Whilst the dynamic range is slightly limited by the inherent age of the source material, dialogue is clear throughout and effects such as gun blasts are deep and rich. Leighton Lucas' underrated and stirring score is particularly nice to hear in an uncompressed format. The track is a completely acceptable presentation for a film of this vintage.

An interview with Sylvia Syms, home movie footage by John Mills, a trailer and behind-the-scenes stills gallery round the disc out with the special features.

All in all, Optimum Releasing and the individuals responsible for the transfer itself should be congratulated for putting such extensive effort into the restoration of `Ice Cold in Alex', ensuring its survival in the best possible way for many years to come, and I would recommend this Blu Ray to fans of the film and newcomers alike without reservation. If you want to see the best of British film on the best of British Blu Ray, look no further!
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, taut desert war film with fine performances and some unusual developments, 19 May 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Cold In Alex [DVD] (DVD)
Four people in an ambulance are struggling to cross the hot, blinding North African desert on their way from Tobruk to Alexandria. It's 1942 and Rommel's Africa Corps is just about to take Tobruk and continue its race to Egypt. There is Captain Anson (a blond John Mills), an ambulance officer stressed to the breaking point and just this shy of being an alcoholic; Sergeant Major Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews), a big, capable lifer who has been with Anson for several months and knows his weaknesses; Diana Murdoch (Sylvia Syms), a nurse who was stranded in Tobruk, who has a steady hand but has seen her friend, another nurse, die in an attack on the ambulance; and Captain van der Poel (Anthony Quayle), a strong, swaggering South African they meet in a deserted outpost. Captain Anson is persuaded to let van der Poel join them because van der Poel has three bottles of gin with him. He also carries something in a knapsack he refuses to let out of his sight.

Ice Cold in Alex is one of the best of the war movies Britain produced in the Fifties. It sets up a small group of people on a tense journey through a desolate landscape in a broken-down ambulance. We get to know these people...and we begin to worry whether Captain Anson is going to lose it every time he gets close to a bottle; whether van der Poel is truly a South African or a German spy; whether it will be Sergeant Pugh, or Nurse Syms, or van der Poel who'll get killed in one of the dangerous situations they encounter. And the movie has plenty of well-directed, tense situations coming one after the other. The four of them encounter mine fields that must be crossed, sand storms, Nazi ambushes and pursuits, capture by German troops they must talk their way out of (with van der Poel coming in handy), mechanical breakdowns and quicksand. And if there is one lesson they all learn, it's to never park your vehicle on the top of a giant sand dune.

The movie is unusual in that the hero is damaged goods. John Mills is excellent in portraying Captain Anson as a determined and stalwart British officer. He's even better at showing this man just a bit too eager for a drink, too quick to justify it, too close to breaking down when things don't work out. Mills was not a big man, and he has to dominate the movie next to two very big men, Harry Andrews and Anthony Quayle. Both are nearly a head taller than Mills. In one scene Mills as Anson collapses and Quayle must pick him up, carry him several steps to the rear of the ambulance and deposit him inside. This is all done in one shot. Quayle looks as if he's dealing with no more than a 50 pound bag of flour, yet Mills is definitely the one we watch during the movie. His Captain Anson may be falling apart, but he is determined to get the ambulance and its passengers to Alexandria. While he struggles to do so we can see that he's slowing pulling himself together. It's a nice performance. There also is almost no distraction from artificial romance. There is only the faintest hint of a possible relationship developing between Nurse Murdoch and Captain Anson, just a brief moonlight nuzzle and, much later, a realistic recognition of Anson's continuing demons and the difficulty of making personal plans in wartime. The movie also gives a much more subtle approach to the German enemy. At the conclusion, while the four of them are finally enjoying an ice-cold lager in an Alexandrian bar, one of them points out that, working together, they beat the desert, which was a bigger enemy than...well, you'll need to see the movie.

For those who like well-constructed films that don't let up, who like good performances and who like older British films, Ice Cold in Alex is worth having. The DVD transfer is just fine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a lot of people know this but..., 24 Jun 2013
By 
Gary Aronsson (Liverpool,England.) - See all my reviews
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A superb film and an excellent transfer. This film has a particularly funny scene that the cinema going public never really noticed,and for the simple reason that they were not shown one of the later "takes". The scene at the very end of the film when the cast get to have their long awaited Carlsberg Lagers,the original Ice Cold in Alex of the title,involves John Mills knocking back a pint of Carlsberg Export Lager in one good guzzle.They had originally tried to use a substitute for the real lager but it simply didn't look right so they used the real stuff.Unfortunately for John Mills something went wrong with the later part of each take and this involved the entire scene being repeated,about 8 times, with the result that by the time the scene was finally filmed to the satisfaction of the Director John Mills was pissed out of his skull and had to spend the rest of the day sleeping it off.
A very fine film with a superb British cast that simply couldn't be made now because we don't have people good enough to pull it off.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Against the Desert; five with the ambulance, 28 Dec 2012
This review is from: Ice Cold In Alex [DVD] (DVD)
Three of Britain's finest ever screen actors and WWII's most beautiful nurse. Can this get less than five stars? I'd give it ten if I could. Any John Mills film is good for me. Harry Andrews always with his quiet authority, and Anthony Quayle rarely quite at the front of a film but always leading it in his own way. Sylvia Syms, need I say any more?

The triumphs and tragedies of a samll group of people all with their own problems, one a disguised enemy. The desert backdrops. The unashamed tugging at heart strings. The comradeship. The themes are very familiar, but the scene of changing the spring, taking the ambulance up the slope, the final scene in the bar; these are as good as any scene in any movie. Ever.

This film lacks nothing; even the use of a US half-track by the Germans does not detract. Even amongst John Mills' wonderful legacy, I think this is his best.

A great book, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restored excellence, 25 Jan 2013
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A good job has been done with the restoration of this stirring and outstanding film. The ratio aspect is good and not tampered with as some are and spoil the image. Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ice cold in alex in blu-ray, 23 Sep 2011
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I found the quality of this product made watching this film more enjoyable. The picture was much sharper and I enjoyed the extras
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Worth waiting for"..this movie, 3 Feb 2009
This review is from: Ice Cold In Alex [VHS] (VHS Tape)
As the man said "They dont make them like this anymore."
This 1958 is a classic, taut war movie about the Second World War, about a small group of ordinary people who faced with crisis and peril just get on with it. I could watch this movie any day of the week and never get tired of it.

The main characters are an army captain on the verge of a breakdown, a determined nurse, a solid sergeant major and a South African soldier whom they pick up on the way. With simple heroism they try making their way to their goal, which in this case is a glass of ice cold beer in Alexandria on the coast.

The measure of a great film is whether it can stand the test of time. "Ice Cold In Alex" surely does that. The film has an excellent storyline and the acting and location cinematography is faultless. As you watch this film you gain a real sense of what it may have been like when British lines were in confusion at the spectre of the advancing Afrika Corps as our party try to effect an escape from the advancing Germans in a field ambulance.

Methinks i'll take a day off soon, and pull out my old dvds and set myself up for a day long movie session - Flight of the Phoenix, Ice Cold In Alex and Lawrence of Arabia, and sink a few beers.
"Worth waiting for".
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmissable, 2 Feb 2007
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This review is from: Ice Cold In Alex [DVD] (DVD)
Nothing amiss with the quality of the print, and or the film itself, of course, which remains a genuine classic worthy of constant re-runs! Great to have it to hand, rather than waiting for a rainy Sunday afternoon with breaks for adverts.

But it would have helped to get someone who knew the film better to prepare the blurb on the packaging. Harry Andrews doesn't get so much as a mention, whilst the minor part played by Diane Clare, refered to here as 'Mary' Clare (an actress of an entirely different generation) is made out to be one of the starring roles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic blu-ray, 16 Sep 2012
By 
Richard Bevan (Worcester, Worcs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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The transfer on this blu-ray is totally fantastic. The detail is great and there is not any noticeable print damage, dust etc. If only all films of this age could end up on blu-ray looking this good. Even films from the 70's are often much worse than this on blu-ray.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fitzcarraldo had his ship, Captain Anson had his ambulance first., 8 July 2011
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Cold In Alex [DVD] (DVD)
Ice-Cold in Alex is directed by J. Lee Thompson and is based on the novel of the same name written by Christopher Landon. The latter of which co-writes the screenplay with T.J. Morrison. It stars John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews. Leighton Lucas provides the music and Gilbert Taylor photographs in black and white.

World War II and the British base at Tobruk, Libya, is attacked by the German Afrika Korps. During the evacuation 4 personnel are tasked with the mission to drive an ambulance across the desert back to British lines in Alexandria in Egypt. Captain Anson (Mills), MSM Tom Pugh (Andrews), Nurse Diana Murdoch (Syms) and Nurse Denise Norton (Diane Clare) are the four people in question, soon to be joined by a South African officer, Captain van der Poel (Quayle). Poel seems shifty, but his physicality and supply of Gin will no doubt be handy on this arduous trip. And arduous it will prove, as the elements, Germans and inner conflict will all test the group to the limit.

It falls under the war movie banner, but the truth is is that Ice-Cold in Alex is a different sort of animal. The core of Landon's story is to observe how a different group of characters cope in the face of mental and physical hardships. The war and the desert landscapes form the backdrop, but this is in essence a character study where the characters are defined by their actions. Thankfully the group of actors on show are able to turn in great shows to not let the slow structure of the film be a hindrance. Mills and Quayle especially bring a dynamic to their characters, drawing the viewer into the desert with them in the process. A number of quality scenes stand out in the picture, be it involving quicksand or trying to get "Katie" the ambulance over a hill, the tension mounts and the film never wants for effective drama. While the finale crowns the picture in a wave of humanistic collectedness. 8/10
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Ice Cold In Alex [VHS]
Ice Cold In Alex [VHS] by J. Lee Thompson (VHS Tape - 2001)
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