Customer Review

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4.0 out of 5 stars Fitzcarraldo had his ship, Captain Anson had his ambulance first., 8 July 2011
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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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