Ice Cold in Alex

It may not be a very good film, but as Raymond Durgnat demonstrates in A Mirror for England, it's an interesting account of 'Britain's sense of inferiority in the post war world'. After the fall of Tobruk in World War II, a battle-fatigued army captain (Mills), a sergeant-major (Andrews) and two nurses drive an ambulance back to Alexandria. On the way they pick up a Dutch South African officer (Quayle) who does everything brilliantly. He's pointedly tougher and more sensible than the suicidally, and manslaughterously, hysteric captain. He's pointedly stronger than the strong sergeant-major, and he's also, it seems, a brilliant diplomat (twice persuading ugly-looking panzers who've captured them to release them). Even when they've found out that he's a German spy, they reckon he's a decent chap as well, having saved their lives several times over. So they save his, by pretending he wasn't in Allied uniform when they caught him. The capability ranking is unmistakeable: Germans or colonial, top; loyal NCO, next; English officer last.

Release details

Duration: 132 mins

Cast and crew

Director: J Lee Thompson
Screenwriter: TJ Morrison, Christopher Landon
Cast: John Mills
Harry Andrews
Anthony Quayle
Sylvia Syms
Diane Clare
Richard Leech
Liam Redmond

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Sean Pollock

I saw the film and it was good. However, just as a matter of interest in 1957/8/9 while stationed in Libya 15 miles South of Tobruk with the RAF, I discovered the old ambulance they used in the film. It was obviously left there as no longer in use..