Thursday, April 16, 2009

Greatest War Movies, No 10

As a little distraction I have decided to preview my top ten favourite war movies on Gubu World. I love war movies. Not just for the action but for the emotion they can provoke. A war movie has done its job if you the leave the cinema feeling sick and disgusted. The story has to be gut wrenching. If after the movie you find yourself saying "I would have loved to have been around in them times" then it is most probably a bogie movie.

Ice Cold in Alex

This is a masterpiece. The great Johnny Mills (better known in Ireland as the village idiot in Ryans Daughter) portrays a desperate and eccentric British officer tasked with driving an ambulance across the North African desert from Torbruk to Alexandria during the British retreat following Rommel's offensive in 1942. In the ambulance with Mills is another British officer and two nurses one of whom is wounded. Along the way they pick up a shady South African officer who soon arouses suspicion. The crew of the ambulance

Throughout the movie there is a constant back round theme involving alcohol. Mills' character is a ferocious alcoholic but unfortunately for him he has no booze on this trip. All he can think about is this pub he knows in Alexandria that serve the best Lager he knows. He mentions on several occasions his intention to head straight to this pub for a beer if they ever reach Alexandria. Many things happen during this journey which make us doubt they will ever reach Alexandria. There are run ins with Germans, with locals and perhaps the greatest danger of all is the ambulance itself and whether it will make it thought the Sahara desert.

Best Scene
My favourite scene is one where the ambulance has broken down and they have to push it up a hill by winding the axle manually. The tension is unbearable and you feel their strain as it takes several winds to move the wheel forward just a few inches. When almost at the top the axle slips and the ambulance rolls back down a couple of hundred feet to the bottom of the hill. It is horrifying to watch and it actually makes you thirsty. Incidentally if you are watching this movie on DVD I suggest doing so with a few cans of booze to ease the pain. Ice Cold in Alex folks, my tenth favourite war movie, its a must.


Zaki said...

Where is your list of 10 best war movies? Is it coming? I am a art film buff too... everything not really war movies .. but I have seen and still remember some memorable war films.

For me the best one and a gem of cinematography due the use of archival material (which I discovered quite recently "2008" because of its reissue on DVD and digital transfer) is the 1975's Stuart Cooper's "Overlord".

It is a masterpiece, I could not beleive why this film was not well known.

Ted Leddy said...


I'm going to do a 10 to 1 countdown over the next two weeks or so. I will have to think long and hard about my choices.

I thought I knew them all but I have never seen "Overlord". I just looked it up and it is familiar but I have never seen it from beginning to end. I will definitely check it out soon. I just watched a clip on youtube. What brilliant use of real footage.

DT said...

"Worth waiting for". Isn't it from this movie that the Carlsberg ad was taken? Also his son, crispian MIlls, was in the briefly popular band Kula Shaker. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Ted Leddy said...

Ah Damo

Well spotted my friend. Carlsberg used that brilliant final scene from the 1958 movie to sell some quality lager in the 90s. It works for me. Watch the movie and all you'll want is a Carlsberg.

I believe Crispian Mills is a grandson, not son of Johnny Mills. Johnny mills died in 2005 aged 97. He was going for a long long time. He was one of the all time greats.

Handsome Mark said...

Acintya Bheda Bheda Tattva

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks handsome Mark

Don't know what you're on about but thanks.

DT said...

Govinda Jaya Jaya

Ted Leddy said...

Thanks Damo

Hope you won't be talking this jibberish in Bulgaria. Then again, we all probably will.