I don’t think I know many other actors who have been in as many war movies as British actor John Mills. Especially during the 50s and 60s he was in a large amount of British war movies. I was quite surprised when I realized how many I’ve seen.
Picture this: It is a hot summer day. 45°/113° in the shade. The sun is blaring. Water is scarce. You are more than just thirsty. You have to overcome a lot of obstacles to get out of the sweltering heat. But at the end of the day the coldest lager in the Middle East is waiting for you.
What are you going to say: “Worth waiting for”.
Now this is exactly what John Mills´ character Captain Anson says after they finally arrive at Alex. Ice Cold in Alex tells how they get there.
In 1942 a little group of people, two nurses, two British officers and a suspicious South African officer attempt to cross the desert from Tobruk to Alexandria, crossing minefields and enemy territory. They have to fight more than the heat, flat tires and German attacks. Captain Mills must try and come to terms with his alcohol problem. After his drinking leads to a disaster he swears he will not drink anymore until they are in Alex.
Ice Cold in Alex is a real classic. The black and white makes the actors look twice as expressive as they would have been anyway. It is an adventure story in front of a WWII background.
It is not your ordinary action-driven, combat-flick but a fine piece of British cinema. And the end-scene, when they finally make it to the bar and get their lager is memorable.
Apparently they had to shoot the scene so often that John Mills was really drunk at the end of it.
Another interesting observation: this is probably one of the earliest examples of product placement in a movie.