Ice Cold in Alex (1958)
|Year Of Production||1958|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||J. Lee Thompson|
Ass British Pic Corp
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.66:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.66:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is the only title in the The British War Collection with which I was unfamiliar. As it turns out, this is because I had actually never seen this movie before. I admit I was rather intrigued by the title, Ice Cold In Alex and wondered exactly what World War II reference this was. As it turns out there is no connection between the war and the title; it turns out to be a reference made by John Mills' character to a bar in Alexandria where you could get an ice cold beer!
Thankfully the story is a little bit more involved than seeking out a cold drink. Captain Anson (John Mills) and MSM Tom Pugh (Harry Andrews) become separated from their ambulance convoy when they are ordered to evacuate their base. The retreating allied forces blow the bridge that forms part of the direct route they need to take, which results in them taking a 600 mile long journey via a more roundabout route. Sounds pretty simple you reckon? Well, it might have been except now they have to cross a mine field, cross a desert full of German Panzer troops, deal with quicksand, breakdowns, and a lack of water and rations, all in an ambulance that wants to overheat every couple of miles. As if this isn't enough to deal with they have to rescue a couple of nurses, including Sister Diana Murdoch (Sylvia Syms), who at least provides a love interest for Captain Anson, and pick up Captain van der Poel (Anthony Quayle) a South African officer who has become separated from his unit. Is van der Poel who he purports to be, or is his strange behaviour an indication that something more sinister is going on? Just to complicate things even further Captain Anson has rather an excessive fondness for alcoholic beverages much stronger than beer which results in additional difficulties.
This is an interesting character study of a group of disparate personalities thrown together in difficult circumstances. All the individuals have complex characters and it's interesting to watch them as they react to each other and to the various difficulties that their desert trek throws at them.
Definitely worth a view and especially recommended for all World War II buffs.
The transfer has been mastered in its correct aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness is variable and ranges from reasonably sharp to slightly soft. An annoying level of edge enhancement is present. Shadow detail is mostly quite good.
A satisfactory grey scale is exhibited by this transfer.
The source material used for this transfer is in reasonably good condition, so for film artefacts are mostly small and therefore not too intrusive. It should be noted though that there are larger marks such as that at 15:32 and that some scenes exhibit much more damage than average. Some archival footage that has been used, for example between 13:25 and 13:33, which is in particularly bad condition with very significant film artefacts present. Film grain is evident at all times. There are a couple of instances of minor aliasing.
No compression artefacts were noted. Minor film grain is visible.
No subtitles have been provided on this disc.
There is no layer change as this is a single layer DVD-5 disc.
A single Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English audio track has been provided on this disc and it has a dated quality. Minor hiss is present but is not intrusive at normal listening levels.
I noted no problems with the audio sync and the dialogue was clear and understandable throughout.
Leighton Lucas' musical score was both suitably dramatic, as well as more subdued, as dictated by the on screen action.
Both the surround channels and subwoofer were silent.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras consist of a single theatrical trailer.
The menu, displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without 16x9 enhancement, consists of a black and white image with colour text for the menu options. Neither animation or audio is provided.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It appears that Ice Cold In Alex has been released in region 2, as in region 4, as part of the 4 disc The British War Collection. The content and features of the R2 disc are identical to those of the R4. This title has not been released in region 1.
Ice Cold In Alex is a story of an epic journey across 600 miles of pitiless North African desert, by a band of people thrown together by circumstances, as they retreat from advancing German troops.
The video is in quite good condition for its age with minimal film artefacts present.
The audio quality exhibits a dated quality but is otherwise completely adequate.
The theatrical trailer is the only extra.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300|