The excellent combat footage of said bombers is fantastic, most of which I had never seen before.
More than just an Alan Ladd movie.
The Red Beret (AKA Paratrooper) is directed by Terence Young and stars Alan Ladd & Leo Genn. It is based on the book of the same name written by Hilary Saint George Saunders.
"This story tells of one small part of the war. The story of those men who joined the parachute regiment â Men from many different countries and creeds, who were to find themselves one day in a parachute training establishment. Only in the telling and in the spirit of these men themselves do history and fiction meet â even if we dare not show in this film what some of these men did in fact and in real life achieve. For nobody would ever believe it."
Somewhere in England. The year 1940 after Dunkirk.
A rather popular film at the Worldwide box office on release, this in spite of some British complaints about American actor Ladd playing the lead in a British war story, The Red Beret is serviceable as an action character piece. The story is in effect a play on real war hero John Frost, who is here played by Genn as Major Snow (Frost was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in A Bridge Too Far). With this in mind it's obvious that Ladd, who does OK in his role of the reluctant leader, is purely there for American audience enticement. However, the makers do a good enough job of not letting Ladd's part in the film be the sole point of reference and detract from the real heroes from which the core of the film is based. There's some poor technical aspects to put up with, such as major superimposed sequences that stick out like a sore thumb, but these are off set a touch by the well constructed battle scenes.
If in an undemanding war film mood this just about leaves a favourable impression. 6/10
Fitzcarraldo had his ship, Captain Anson had his ambulance first.
Ice-Cold in Alex is directed by J. Lee Thompson and is based on the novel of the same name written by Christopher Landon. The latter of which co-writes the screenplay with T.J. Morrison. It stars John Mills, Sylvia Syms, Anthony Quayle and Harry Andrews. Leighton Lucas provides the music and Gilbert Taylor photographs in black and white.
World War II and the British base at Tobruk, Libya, is attacked by the German Afrika Korps. During the evacuation 4 personnel are tasked with the mission to drive an ambulance across the desert back to British lines in Alexandria in Egypt. Captain Anson (Mills), MSM Tom Pugh (Andrews), Nurse Diana Murdoch (Syms) and Nurse Denise Norton (Diane Clare) are the four people in question, soon to be joined by a South African officer, Captain van der Poel (Quayle). Poel seems shifty, but his physicality and supply of Gin will no doubt be handy on this arduous trip. And arduous it will prove, as the elements, Germans and inner conflict will all test the group to the limit.
It falls under the war movie banner, but the truth is that Ice-Cold in Alex is a different sort of animal. The core of Landon's story is to observe how a different group of characters cope in the face of mental and physical hardships. The war and the desert landscapes form the backdrop, but this is in essence a character study where the characters are defined by their actions. Thankfully the group of actors on show are able to turn in great shows to not let the slow structure of the film be a hindrance. Mills and Quayle especially bring a dynamic to their characters, drawing the viewer into the desert with them in the process. A number of quality scenes stand out in the picture, be it involving quicksand or trying to get "Katy" the ambulance over a hill, the tension mounts and the film never wants for effective drama. While the finale crowns the picture in a wave of humanistic collectedness. 8/10