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The war Collection Volume 2
on 4 October 2009
I was Monty's Double (1958) Black and White
An evergreen classic, with ME Clifton-James, the man who really did act as Monty's double during the war, starring in a version of events that ensures a dramatic, if fictional, climax to an otherwise true tale of war time deception. A strong cast supports the lesser known star, John Mills is dry and amusing as Major Harvey. But it is Cecil Parker who steals the show with a wonderful performance as the absent minded genius working for British Intelligence. This is a light hearted, witty re-telling of ME Clifton's book recounting his part in a successful diversion from the D-Day landing destination of Normandy. Real footage of Montgomery's tour through North Africa is dropped somewhat clumsily into a very British studio film, but it has too much charm to detract from the whole. It's warm, affectionate wartime comedy that makes perfect comfort viewing.
Ice Cold in Alex (1958) Black and White
John Mills (in North Africa again) as the war worn Captain Anson who has turned to drink to cope with the stress of command. Harry Andrews plays his stolid Sergeant trying to keep him from his worse enemy and Sylvia Syms is the adoring nurse who they're stuck with in an Army ambulance that's seen better days, limping through a Nazi overrun Libya. Anthony Quayle's South African accent is probably enough entertainment in itself, he is the German spy who hitches a ride with them. It's the claustrophobic ambulance in contrast with the vast Libyan desert that provides a wonderful backdrop to the ensuing drama. The friendship and mutual respect that grows between the four is masterfully drawn. The hope of ice cold lager in Alexandria dangles before the thirsty crew and pulls them on to the best piece of product placement, Heineken, ever got for free. A war film of reconciliation.
Went the day well (1942) Black and White
The only one in this collection that was made during the war, this is a gritty Ealing drama of a typical English village on the South coast being occupied by some brutal Nazis. Leslie Banks plays a duplicitous fifth columnist in the midst of the unsuspecting villagers. Marie Lohr plays the gutsy Mrs Fraser and there are sterling performances from a strong Ealing cast with the spinsterly Elizabeth Allan coming to terms with the fact her only admirer is a Nazi spy. Frank Lawton and the lovely Mervyn Johns provide strong suppport. There are few laughs but plenty of superbly filmed propaganda. Simple courage and selfless action win the day against a remorseless, and seemingly unredeemable, foe that leaves you in no doubt who deserved to win the War. Black and white in every way.