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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Ice Cold In Alex (1958)

In 1942 Libya, as the Germans invade Tobruk, two soldiers (John Mills, Harry Andrews) and two nurses (Sylvia Syms, Diane Clare) evacuate from the besieged city and begin an arduous and dangerous trek through mine filled and German occupied territory to the safety of Alexandria in Egypt. Along the way they pick up a South African soldier (Anthony Quayle) but it isn't long before they suspect he may be a German spy. Based on the novel by Christopher Landon and directed by J. Lee Thompson (GUNS OF NAVARONE). Going past the two hours mark, the film remains a tight and tension filled action movie with very little fat. The characters are all well drawn and the journey and its outcome are unpredictable. The bracing B&W cinematography of Gilbert Taylor (STAR WARS) reminds one how detailed and handsome B&W movies can look. The film handles the ambiguity of Quayle's soldier quite well and it's refreshing to see the strength in the character of Syms' nurse, she's more than just the "girl" here. Not released in the U.S. until 1961 and with more than 30 minutes cut. With Richard Leech, Walter Gotell and Allan Cuthbertson.

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