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Ice Cold In Alex

Ice Cold In Alex

By Patrick Samuel • August 28th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
ICE COLD IN ALEX (MOVIE)
Associated British-Pathé

Original release: June 24th, 1958
Running time: 124 minutes

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Writers: Christopher Landon, T.J. Morrison

Cast: John Mills, Anthony Quayle, Harry Andrews

Ice Cold In Alex

On a Sunday afternoon, in front of the TV is where I could usually find my dad. With a cold drink in one hand and a bowl of cashews on the arm rest of the sofa, he’d be watching old war movies on Channel 4 and I’d usually join him. Over the years we watched so many…including The Longest Day (1964), From Here to Eternity (1953), The Cockleshell Heroes (1955)… and of course, Ice Cold In Alex.

Based on the novel by Christopher Landon it stars Sir John Mills as Captain Anson, a transport officer after the fall of Tobruk, a British base in North Africa during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War.

After an evacuation he’s left behind with his MSM Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews), two nurses and South African officer. Together they embark or perilous journey across the North African desert and enemy lines in a battered old ambulance and the only thing that keeps them going is the promise of a tall, frothy, ice-cold glass of beer when they arrive in Alexandria.

As they encounter landmines, quicksand and other hazards there’s always suspicion on Captain van der Poel (Anthony Quayle), the South African officer who carries a large pack and never lets it out of his sight. Could he be a German spy? No one know what’s inside, who he really is or what his motives are, but as they’re all fighting for the same goal – survival – they decide to let it rest until they reach the safety of British lines.

Ice Cold In Alex is just as tense as I remember it, especially in the scenes where van der Poel steps on a mine. It’s nerve-racking to watch Anson, with sweat pouring down his face, as he tries to dig the mine out beneath his boot.

Ice Cold In Alex

Looking at it again now after all these years, I’m surprised I never noticed before how different it is to many of the other war movies my father and I watched together when I was growing up. Rather than focusing on the battlefield and patriotism, it puts the magnifying glass on group dynamics and how they come to rely on a man their instincts tell them they shouldn’t trust.

With amazing performances by its cast and some really stand-out scenes, including its iconic final one where they all sit at the bar, differences aside, and eagerly awaiting their Carlsbergs, it’s a moment, as Anson says, is “worth waiting for”.

Ice Cold In Alex has always been a film I looked back on fondly with happy memories of time spent with my father as he introduced me to the films he enjoyed as a young man. It’s taut, engrossing and exciting, and it’s a war drama to rival all others and stands up well against many of today’s offerings.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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