Freezing cold in Alexandria - firestorm over Africa

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German title Freezing cold in Alexandria - firestorm over Africa
Original title Ice-cold in Alex
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 1958
length 130 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director J. Lee Thompson
script Christopher Landon
production WA Whittaker
music Leighton Lucas
camera Gilbert Taylor
cut Richard Best

Ice Cold in Alexandria - Firestorm over Africa (original title: Ice-Cold in Alex ) is a British feature film from 1958. It is based on the novel Eiskalt in Alexandria by Christopher Landon , who also wrote the screenplay . Alternative titles are Ice Cold in Alexandria and Firestorm over Cyreneica .


The film is set in Tobruk , North Africa , in 1942. Captain Anson is a British officer whose job is to work with Tom Pugh to bring two English nurses to Alexandria . The sisters were separated from their unit after a German bombing raid on Tobruk and have to leave Tobruk as soon as possible, as the approaching German army seems to be taking Tobruk. The trip is a big problem right from the start, as Anson is a drinker. Tom and sister Diana try to keep him away from alcohol during the trip. A certain Captain van der Poel from South Africa is added to the tour group as a further passenger .

When the group comes to a minefield, there is the first argument between van der Poel and Anson, the commander, over the question of how best to get through the minefield. A little later they come across German tanks, which open fire on them. Sister Denise is fatally hit. Anson feels guilty about the death of the young nurse. He promises his fellow travelers an ice-cold beer in his local pub in Alexandria. When the group is captured by the Germans, they let them travel on, because Denise and Denise are seriously injured and need medical care. They don't realize that she is already dead. The next day she is buried by the group. The funeral is interrupted by the reappearance of German tanks. Again they are on the verge of capture, but Van der Poel can persuade the German soldiers to let them travel on. This makes him suspicious within the group. Van der Poel can communicate with the Germans without any problems; he has strange luggage; he doesn't know how to make tea the English way. Nevertheless, he is a courageous and energetic helper that the group cannot do without.

The path leads into the desert, which especially troubles Diana. Because of the German troop movements, you have to accept detours. One night Van der Poel disappears and Tom is looking for him. He points the truck headlights at him and realizes that Van der Poel has a radio in his luggage. So he's a spy after all. Nevertheless, the British and the German spy support each other on the further journey. When it already seems certain that they will reach Alexandria, Anson, Tom and Diana discuss that they do not want Van der Poel to be shot as a spy after helping them in this way. You finally reach Alexandria and drink the ice cold beer in Anson's local pub. Van der Poel reveals himself to them as Captain Otto Lutz and the others can tell him that they already knew this the whole time. Otto Lutz identified himself so that he would be treated as a normal prisoner of war and not be shot as a spy. Before he is arrested, however, Tom Pugh sees that he is still wearing a fake British dog tag. He tears it off and thus saves his life.


“Episode from the Africa campaign in Libya in 1942 . [...] War adventure with strong but superficial tension and excellent leading actors. "

"A war adventure with a sporty note, strong but superficial tension and excellent leading actors."

- 6000 films


The film ran in the competition at the Berlinale 1958 . J. Lee Thompson was awarded the FIPRESCI Award. In 1959 the film was nominated for the British Film Academy Award for best British film. Anthony Quayle received a nomination for best British actor.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ice cold in Alexandria - firestorm over Africa. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed February 11, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. 6000 films. Critical notes from the cinema years 1945 to 1958 . Handbook V of the Catholic film criticism, 3rd edition, Verlag Haus Altenberg, Düsseldorf 1963, p. 94