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on 1 August 2004
This is a terrific story of courage and endurance in the desert during WW2. John Mills (with terrible dyed blonde hair) is a British ambulance officer with a drink problem, who escapes the seige of Tobruk and has to get his passengers safely to Alexandria. With him is a stalwart sergeant (Harry Andrews) a mysterious South African (Anthony Quayle) and a gorgeous nurse (Sylvia Sims). This simple yet gripping story follows their struggles to get to Alexandria, evading capture by Germans. All the performances are first rate. The film contains what is for me, the most agonising scene in any movie. It's the excruciating moment when they've spent hours painfuly pushing the ambulance up a mountain of sand, and Syliva Sims unwittingly lets go of the crank and the amublance slides all the way down to the bottom again. I just die with mortification for her every time I see this scene, I am just SO sorry for her, and the men are all so NICE about it, which makes it even worse. And then of course there's that completely and utterly memorable scene at the end where they're in the bar in Alex and finally get their ice-cold beers. It really is worth waiting for. Marvellous film.
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on 21 May 2003
A very straightforward and admirable story of triumph against adversity, set in the inhospitable North African Desert in World War 2. John Mills plays a British Army Captain ordered to evacuate from Tobruk just before it falls to the Germans, and make his way to Alexandria (Alex) in a battered military ambulance. He picks up a motley crew of an experienced sergeant, (Harry Andrews), a nurse (Sylvia Sims) and a mysterious South African (Anthony Quayle) who is not what he seems. The story of their trials and tribulations as they fight both the Germans and the harsh desert is fairly simple. What makes the film is the interplay between the characters. Eventually they triumph, spurred on by the thought of an ice-cold Carlsberg in the Alex officers' club. Not a great film, but certainly worth watching. And once you've seen it, the Carlsberg ad from the mid 1980's will suddenly make sense. In black and white, which doesn't detract at all. And watch for a cameo performance from the actor who later makes a career of playing foreign colonels in films such as The Guns of Navarone and the James Bond series. I saw him once in Lulworth Cove where his family runs a brick-making business - it will probably come up in Trivial Pursuit.
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on 17 February 2006
This is not the usual 1950s sort of 'big' WWII story full of perfectly heroic good guys and perfectly villainous bad guys. Instead of the usual stereotypes, there are complex individuals who start off reserved strangers and gradually build up trust and friendship. A hero is allowed weaknesses and a villain can be heroic. The North Africa campaign is going badly for the allies. The Germans are about to besiege Tobruk and so the Brits must move out. Captain Anson and Sergeant Pugh of the military ambulance service have been ordered to take their ambulance and leave. Everything goes wrong from the start. Because a bridge is blown up before they are able to cross, they find themselves isolated on the wrong side. And with two nursing sisters to get to safety they are forced to take a difficult and dangerous route across the desert in order to reach Alexandria on the coast of Egypt. They encounter a South African who introduces himself as Captain Van Der Poel and persuades them to let him join them. To start with, his contribution to their efforts seems a mixed blessing. He's one of those brash, domineering types who doesn't like to waste time on prudence and caution so he soon gets into trouble in a mine field. He also seems to be carrying a large quantity of gin which he shares generously with Captain Anson. Poor Anson has developed a serious drink problem as a result (probably) of what they refer to nowadays as 'post traumatic stress'. One of the nurses, Sister Norton, seems to be suffering the same kind of stress, but she is driven to hysteria by those terrors that cause Anson to hit the bottle. The only solidly uncomplicated characters are Sergeant Pugh and Sister Murdock. Pugh and Murdock have to worry about keeping Anson and Norton straight and balanced and they all distrust Van Der Poel, who speaks German rather well and keeps disappearing at regular intervals with his heavy, rectangular looking back-pack. They don't appear to be a very promising team but, as the saying goes: 'when the going gets tough, the tough get going' - and that's what happens in this case. Events drive them and they have to pull together to survive the hostile environment of the desert and the constant threat of capture or worse by the advancing Germans. Each time it seems that adversity is going to grind them into the desert sand, they reach inside themselves and find further resources to overcome it. Remember Sisyphus, who was condemned to endlessly push a huge rock up a hill? Well, he'd certainly sympathise with one of their trials. I found myself fully engaged with them: pushing with them, pulling with them and identifying with all their hopes and fears.
Finally, trust, friendship and common humanity triumphs over the insanity of war. And everybody gets a cold beer. Lovely.
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on 16 May 2005
A classic film by any definition, and I am hoping it will eventually be available in Canada. I first saw it on UK TV back in the sixties and the performances from this superb cast are second to none.
The simply stunning Sylvia Syms shines as a British Army Nurse who is an integral part of this tightly knit team on an almost impossible quest to reach Alexandria. The tension never lets up until they finally reach Alex and those legendary ice cold beers; yet even here there is a final plot twist which adds even more power to the climax of this masterpiece of British cinema.
Take me now, Sylvia...
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on 3 February 2009
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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on 11 October 2015
What a classic! John Mills was a gifted actor, as I have seen from His war films. He always did a brilliant job-he makes you feel like you are there with him sometimes! These war films are must for all of you war fan film fans out there! These films are hard to beat, and they are a superb way of really getting a piece of true British film quality!
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on 4 November 2014
It is a very good film but as I now have severe hearing issues I needed subtitles on the description it said it had them but it did not so sadly I had to send it back.
It cost me more that the dvd did in postage that is the problem with Amazon you have to bear the postage which is only going one way up!
I really wanted that film but without subtitles no good to me.
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on 16 May 2011
Having just read the book, I looked forward to watching the movie. In the main the film followed the book and the acting was good. Of disappointment to me with the film was the romantic link between the nurse and Anson (Mills), instead of the nurse and Pugh (Andrews), as in the book. The film's one and only romantic scene was completely out of sync with the storyline and made no sense at all. I guess it all came down to Mills having more pull as an actor than Andrews. Andrews is perfectly cast as MSM Pugh though and gives a perfect performance. Aside from this, the movie is worth watching.
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on 12 December 2006
Superb film, without flaw (except perhaps John Mills' barnet and the Afrika Korps' American half-tracks). Sylvia Sims is wonderful, Harry Andrews, Anthony Quayle, all great. The Qatara depression is the stuff of nightmares. Quayle in the minefield - 'there's something under my foot!'. I've seen this so many times, but it remains fresh and each adversity they face a challenge - that slope at the end in particular. They really don't make movies like this anymore!
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on 14 September 2013
an excellent film of this genre, sets man against the elements and sees will power and tenacity overcome the odds. Just as ordered, very satisfied.
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