173. Ice Cold in Alex (GB 1958)
Military ambulance makes its way through the Western Desert to Alexandria during World War 2.
d. J. Lee Thompson
starring: John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle, Harry Andrews
bit parts: Alan Cuthbertson (Colonel Hall in 'Fawlty Towers'!)
Flatly directed, uninspired cinematography, bad music and clichéd through over familiarity, but if you remember, the entire raison d'etre of 'SVDC' (as its come to be known in hip circles: The Royal, Breck Road L5; The Garrick Snug, Birkenhead; Spencer's, London Road L3) is to find at least one good 'bit' in a film that makes the spectator's miserable, joyless, drug-blighted life 'one better'.' Ice Cold in Alex' doesn't have good bits in 'spades' (more later), but is worth watching for:
1. Sylvia Sims: may be a nonogenarian bloater now, but astoundingly pretty in this film
Sylvia Syms in a completely different film.
2. Harry Andrews; a man born to be a sergeant major or a 'tough but likeable' British bobby ("Bobby!! Me hurrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!)
3. A good performance from Millsy
4. Perhaps the first mention in a an English language film of somebody going for a shit ("You should never ask a man what he's doing when he takes a shovel into the desert.") Alright, not really a reason for watching a film, but moderately interesting, don't you think? Oh, fuck off, then.
5. Some good set pieces: reversing the ambulance to the top of a giant sand dune; Quayle drowning in quick sand; Sylvia Syms strips down to the tiniest underwear ever seen on film* etc
6. I know it's been said before but the best bit (of course) is the 'ice cold' lager at the end. The sense of anticipation, the film of condensation on the glass and the actual quaffing are all just....great. A film that makes you want to go on a lager frenzy more than any other.
Not a film to watch if you're an alcoholic, but a film worth watching if you've been binge drinking like a bastard and you've woken up promising yourself "never again".
The Harry Andrews gang practised their massed "Who are you fuckin' lookin' at?" stare every day in Cooper's, Liverpool City Centre..