Ice Cold in Alex

Felt like watching an old black and white movie tonight and chose the old John Mills classic Ice Cold in Alex.

Main cast at bar scene from film Ice Cold in Alex

Main cast at bar scene from film Ice Cold in Alex

The film begins in Tobruk, a British base, as it is attacked by the German Afrika Korps in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. During the resulting evacuation, Captain Anson (John Mills), a transport pool Officer suffering from battle fatigue and almost an alcoholic, MSM Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews) and two nurses left behind in the evacuation—Diana Murdoch (Sylvia Syms) and Denise Norton (Diane Clare)—crew an Austin K2 ambulance, (nicknamed ‘Katy’ by its original driver), and decide to drive across the desert back to British lines.

Sylvia Syms at her OBE award

Sylvia Syms at her OBE award

What prompted a further look was the statement in the films introduction that it is based on a true story. As usual a trip over to Wikipedia shows the film but it doesn’t make any reference to the film being true.

Not to be out done there was a link to Sylvia Syms, the leading lady, and from this a link to her very own Sylvia Syms website. Can’t help but wonder what her career went on to be beyond Ice Cold in Alex, well, all the details are there.

You can’t help but notice the continutiy errors in the bar scene, the heads on the beers keeps changing with each cut. Apparently John Mills became rather light headed having to down so many beers over so many takes.

But the final icing on the cake is the appearance in the final scenes of a Land Rover series 2 which of course wasn’t made until after the war, the period when the film is set. And Katey is an Austin K2 ambulance which is obviously an earlier version than the Austin K9 signals truck I have written about elsewhere on here.

Overall a classic film that has stood the test of time and no doubt reflects a different era of macho men with their big ideas. The scenes of John Mills in his underpants in the quick sand is ‘wince’ worthy without a doubt and must surely be labeled as one of the British films industries most embarrassing moments to fill the silver screen!

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