Ice Cold in Alex (1958) Movie Script

'The Mediterranean.
'The shores of North Africa.
'Peaceful now.
'16 years ago,
the battlefield of giants.
'The Eighth Army.
'Rommel's Afrika Korps.
'Along its barren coast,
the little towns...
'Mersa Matruh,
'Sidi Barrani...
'paid for their brief fame
'in piles of rubble
'and smoking ruins...
' the grim struggle surged
to and fro
'through them
'and the desert around them.
'Two million men.
'Two million stories.
'This is one.
'It happens to be true.'
(Distant rumble of explosions)
- (Bomb whistles)
- Look out!
- Hello, Paul.
- Everything OK?
Only just. It's bloody down there.
They were dropping heavy stuff
the whole time.
We got all the wounded off. Drink?
- For heaven's sake, lay off that stuff!
- Why?
- What the hell was that?
- Ammo dump.
Must be touching off our own stuff.
It'll be "NAAFI and Paymasters first"
any minute now.
What's the news? The men
keep on asking damn fool questions.
What can I tell them?
Nobody seems to know
what's happening.
Tell them everything will be all right.
If there's another siege,
it'll only be all right
for the lucky ones sent out
on the safe road to Egypt.
If there's a siege, you'll be one of them.
You'll be out on the town with Ariadne
while I'm sitting here on my arse
being bombed to hell.
I doubt it. Experience in the army
is always the deciding factor.
I went all through the last one. I'm the
ideal bloke to go through the next one.
Well, I'll damn well see you don't!
I wonder what Ariadne's doing tonight?
Tucked up warm and snug in bed
in Alexandria, I suppose.
Message from Corps HQ, sir.
Thank you, Corporal.
- Good evening, sir.
- Good evening, Anson.
I suppose those women got off all right?
I never wanted nurses here.
Army insisted.
Said it needed a woman's touch
to make the poor devils feel
they were on the first stage
of the road home.
Sit down, Anson.
I'll put you in the picture.
The Gazala Line's breached,
but they're pinned
on the wrong side of the minefield.
Our armour's taken a bashing,
so they're pulling out to the east
to reform, come back
and give 'em another crack.
In the interval, there's a chance,
just a chance,
their armour may get through
to the perimeter here.
Another siege, sir?
We won't argue the niceties
of military terms.
The point is, we're not leaving
any unnecessary stuff inside.
Your unit, less 25 ambulances,
will be ready to move east at 0100 hours
tomorrow back to Salum.
The 25 ambulances with adequate
personnel commanded by a subaltern
will stay under orders of the Colonel
at the hospital.
Well, there's a thing.
Never a moment's peace.
Never a moment's peace.
Take a man going to the latrine -
perfectly natural thing to do.
Then this happens.
No wonder they get constipated!
I feel like a drink. How about you?
Thank you, sir.
These men staying behind -
how are you going to detail them?
The unmarried men, sir.
Put all their names in a hat
and pull out as many as I need.
Of course, I'll stay myself.
Nonsense. Your job's with the bulk of
the unit, not leading little detachments.
How about that big chap?
What's his name? Crosbie, isn't it?
I'd rather leave one of the subalterns,
sir. Crosbie went through the last siege.
All the better.
He'll know what it's all about.
He doesn't look
as if he has a nerve in his body.
- I know that, sir, but I do feel...
- That's settled then.
Yes, sir. Then I'll leave with the bulk
of the unit at 0100 hours.
No, I want you to pick me up at first
light and drop me off at Corps HQ.
My car was blown up this morning
outside my own blasted front door.
Look, sir, I wonder...
Would you mind
telling Crosbie yourself?
All right.
Thank you, sir.
Captain Anson's just come back, sir.
- Close that ruddy black-out!
- Sorry, sir.
If you'd done that inspection properly,
it wouldn't be necessary for a warrant
officer to have to get under here
and show you how to do your job.
You finish off now.
Fresh oil in the sump.
If you ever fail to report a falling oil
pressure again, you'll be for it, my lad.
Switch out the light.
Look, I... I tried to fix it.
But the Brig just wouldn't wear it.
You fixed it all right!
Hello, Sergeant Major.
Sit down.
- Have a drink.
- Thank you, sir.
These 25 ambulances
that we're leaving behind,
you're making sure they're the best?
Yes, sir. There was a call
for an ambulance to go to the docks,
so I sent one that was being left behind.
I'm, er... I'm sorry.
I'm... I'm pretty well pooped out.
You've had just about enough, sir.
Of that?
Of everything, sir.
Look, sir. Everyone knows
exactly what they've got to do.
Why don't you get some sleep, sir?
- Crosbie.
- I'll talk to Captain Crosbie, sir.
Whatever you do,
don't forget to put that in the Humber.
It can go with your precious set of tools
in the back.
- Sir?
- Yes, you're coming out, too.
I'd rather stay behind, sir.
You are coming... out.
You lie down, sir.
Just for an hour.
I'll call you when the main column's ready
to move off.
Come on, sir. Come on.
Mr Pugh, you forgot that box of mine.
Fetch it.
Right, sir.
I've come to say goodbye. I see you've
got everything laid on for this party.
- We'll be seeing you again soon, sir.
- I doubt it.
Well, so long, Paul.
Remember me to Ariadne
when you get to Alex.
Let's go, Sergeant Major.
(Starts engine)
You ripe bastard!
- What are you doing here, Corporal?
- Guarding the ladies, sir.
Two got left behind last night
when the nurses was evacuated.
- Good morning.
- Good morning. We're a bit of a problem.
- Why?
- I've never been in real bombing before.
I lost my nerve and ran away.
The boat sailed without us.
- All our kit's on board.
- That's the least of our worries.
Come on, Ponsonby!
That stuff should be loaded by now.
- Good morning, Mr Pugh.
- Good morning, sir.
Captain Anson, Sister Murdoch,
Sister Norton.
Captain Anson'll take you into Egypt,
then arrange transport to Alex.
Your trouble!
We'll try not to be more trouble
than necessary.
Right. Sergeant Major, drive the
ambulance and follow us to Corps HQ.
Right, sir.
(Distant explosion)
Get over, man. Get over!
Keep to the side!
Get over! Into the side!
We're at Corps HQ. At least we would be
if it hadn't gone! Won't be a moment.
Now Corps has gone, I'm in a hurry.
I can't trundle along with you.
- Yes, but...
- Ponsonby can drive me. You can drive?
- Yes, sir.
- Come on, get in, man.
I don't like to be too far
behind the Corps Commander.
What about our kit, sir?
Shall we offload it?
I'm only borrowing the car.
You'll get it back tonight.
Don't just sit there, Ponsonby. Get going!
Come on, man, get going!
(Shell explodes)
Old Dangletoes is standing up,
waving his ruddy cap at 'em!
I'll bet he's giving them hell
in that foul German of his.
- My tool kit.
- My whisky.
(Shell whistles overhead)
- It's all right.
- It's starting again. I can't stand it!
Lie down
and pack the blankets round you!
All right!
Let's go, Tom.
Turn back, old boy.
I'm blowing that bridge.
There are two nursing sisters in there.
I've got to get 'em back to the Delta.
I don't care if you've got
the Archangel Gabriel inside. Get back!
- Get going, Tom.
- I shouldn't if I were you.
Sergeant Major,
you've got 15 seconds, so let's go.
Back off sideways!
The blast on the windscreen!
Lie down on your faces!
There's going to be a big bang!
Take it easy.
You'd better get weaving.
You've had it. Good luck.
- OK, Tom, I'll drive.
- Right, sir.
That was the bridge over the tank trap
being blown up.
What do we do now?
There are only two things we can do.
Take you back to the hospital. It's
only fair to warn you there'll be a siege.
Or have a crack at crossing the minefield.
We'd better take you back to the hospital.
- What will you do then?
- Have a bash at the minefield.
Let me out! I must get out!
Let me out!
We'll come with you.
Dames and mines - lovely party!
(She sobs uncontrollably)
- See if she needs any help.
- Right, sir.
(She screams hysterically)
Let me out! Let me out!
No! Let me out!
Let me out!
Let me out!
(She sobs)
I'm sorry.
I've got some brandy in my bag.
- Want some?
- After you, miss.
(She coughs)
- What about Captain Anson?
- No, miss.
Why not?
Well, it would be better if you don't.
You see...
I've been up and down the desert with him
five times in all.
He's never spared himself or us.
There are plenty of men alive
in hospitals today
who owe their lives to the way
he's driven our outfit.
Then some weeks ago, he was captured.
He escaped all right.
But he had a hell of a time getting back.
Two nights walking, lying up in the day.
No water.
He should have had a break.
He's just about driven himself
to a standstill.
And now he's trying to lace himself up
with drink?
- That's about it.
- Maybe he just likes the taste.
Don't worry. I won't give him any.
I won't even let him know I've got it.
Petrol point!
- How are things in the back?
- Sister Murdoch gave her an injection.
- She's out cold now, sir.
- Right. We'll need about eight cans.
- Let's start getting 'em, shall we?
- Right, sir.
Hey, Captain!
Can you tell me where I can grab a lift
to get the hell out of here?
- Where do you want to go to?
- The Delta. Back to my own unit.
I've only been lent to Second Div Signals.
I can't do them any good now.
I'm telling you, I don't intend to get put
in the bag here when the balloon goes up!
You can't get out by the road. They've
blown the bridge over the tank trap.
Well, where are you going?
I'll have a bash
at crossing the minefield.
I'd like to come with you, man.
Sorry, no. It can't be done.
I've got a couple of nurses in the back.
Got to get 'em to Alex.
Besides, you'd be extra weight.
A lot of extra weight.
And we're short on rations and water.
I can pay my way.
I've got a thousand cigarettes
and three bottles of gin.
Export or NAAFI?
Oh, only the best, man.
From South Africa.
Well, er...
I dare say we could do
with another hand to push.
- OK, I'll take you. My name's Anson.
- Van der Poel.
Can I see your identity card?
Er... My Sergeant Major, Mr Pugh.
Captain van der "Pole".
- Van der POEL.
- Good morning, sir.
The Captain's coming with us to push.
Yes, sir. Another four jerry cans
and that'll be the lot, sir.
- Start loading as soon as you're ready.
- Right, sir.
- It's getting hot, isn't it?
- Yes. Like a drink?
Why not?
Got a couple of mugs in the cab.
What's happening?
There's a South African officer coming
with us. He's feeding the Captain on gin.
What's this, a party?
No, just one for the road.
I thought the first part of the road
was through a minefield.
Is that the usual kind of training?
You know, the lady's right.
Let's get cracking, shall we?
Would you mind getting inside?
(Distant explosion)
(Van der Poel)
What's the matter with her?
She got into a panic.
We had to give her some dope.
- That's the lot, sir.
- Right.
Here you are, man. Catch!
(He laughs)
And again.
And again.
And again!
And... hup!
And... hup!
And... hup!
(Van der Poel laughs loudly)
Hey, man!
(Carries on laughing)
What's our chance
of getting through the minefield?
Even money.
I used to know the track two years ago.
They may have re-mined it.
- Well, once we get through...
- If we get through.
All right, if we get through,
what happens if we run into
any Germans?
There must be gaps in the perimeter.
I just hope we strike one.
If we don't, we may have to talk
our way out. You speak German?
I do. I worked with them
in South-West Africa. And the girls?
I've no idea. Let's get through
the ruddy minefield first!
There can't be much danger
if we stick to the tracks.
The tracks are pretty faint. I'd better
walk the whole way like that in sections.
You follow with the ambulance,
Sergeant Major.
But keep ten yards behind
and watch the turns.
- Right, sir.
- But it'll take hours, man.
Right, it'll take hours.
If I take the other track,
it'll halve the time, won't it?
Yes, but I can't ask you to do that.
You're heavier than I am for one thing.
Listen, a Springbok can go
where any bloody Englishman can!
Watch for any places where the ground's
fallen in or tyre marks are interrupted.
If you see anything you're not sure of,
give me a shout.
If you do feel something, just stay put.
These mines are live.
- Sure, Captain.
- You take that side.
(Ambulance engine starts)
We're going in now.
(Flies buzzing)
(Van der Poel laughs)
Come on, man.
We want to get through before dark.
We want to get THROUGH,
don't we?
We're still in the minefield.
You get back, miss.
I can't see anything
through those small windows.
You can't unless something happens.
Well, which is it?
This way, of course.
The track goes straight on.
I don't agree.
I think that's the real one over there.
Well, I'm going to try this way.
You stay where you are.
I don't give a damn if you blow yourself
up. I'm trying my way first!
There's something under my foot.
(Whispers) Don't move.
Lift your foot up gently.
Sorry, no beans in it.
You have a funny sense of humour,
That should take him down a peg.
Serve him right, too.
Are all South Africans like that?
He's Afrikaans, Dutch.
Haven't met many myself.
Captain Anson was with them for a time.
He says they were a decent enough lot.
We're nearly through.
You'd better get back.
Heading this way.
Don't worry. We're not the target.
They're after the minefield.
Man, I don't believe
there's a ruddy mine for miles.
Don't you?
I think I owe you a drink.
Tom, don't stand there
with your tongue hanging out.
They've blasted a way through
for their armour.
Let's get cracking.
- Sir, you'll break the springs!
- Shut up!
If you don't stop, they'll open fire.
(He starts firing)
- Stop!
- Get off!
Stop, stop! She's been hit!
- Stop, you fool, stop!
- Get out of it!
What the hell are you doing?
Better hide our guns. They're funny
about armed troops on ambulances.
Now let me handle this.
Neither of you speak a word.
Except to me.
(Speaks German)
I'm sorry, Tom.
I made a bog of it.
Pop inside and see what's happened.
Give me that bottle of gin.
If we're going inside, I'll drink the lot
before they get over here. Give it to me!
How is she?
She'll be dead within an hour.
Are you sure?
Isn't there anything we can do?
There's nothing anyone can do. I know.
Who kicked me?
What's going on outside?
They've got us in the bag. Captain
van der Poel's talking to them now.
What will they do? Send us back?
They won't do that.
Not now we know they're here.
There's just a chance, though,
they may let us go on,
rather than take us in with escorts
and all that.
If you're so sure she's...
It might be better not to tell Jerry.
They're more likely to let us go on
with someone wounded than...
Tom, they're coming back.
(Speaks German)
He wants to search the ambulance.
The Captain says he bitterly regrets
this accident.
If we'd stopped as we ought to have done,
he'd never have opened fire.
- (Speaks German)
- He wants to know how she is.
Abdominal wound. Not serious.
But we ought to get her to hospital.
(Explains in German)
(Speaks German)
He's going to search.
(They continue in German)
(Mouths words)
What is it?
(Struggles to speak)
I have to get some more dressings.
Will you stay with her?
Is there anything I should do?
No, just be near.
Captain, will you ask if they have
any spare large wound dressings?
I've used all of ours.
- Cigarette?
- Thanks.
(Lighter clicks)
How is she?
She'll be all right.
No... No...
Here you are. They're sorry
they can't spare any more.
Man, I think we've pulled it off.
She was talking quite a bit at first.
She tried to get up and said something.
She's dead, Tom.
- (Speaks German)
- She's sleeping.
The Captain says he ought
to put us all in the bag,
but as the nurse is wounded,
he's going to let us go through.
(Speaking German)
I'm afraid the girl's gone.
If he knows that,
he'll tell them and that'll be our lot.
Why have they got Captain Anson?
To make sure we follow them
till they get us clear of their troops.
Then they'll give us the Captain back
and turn us loose.
- Cigarette?
- No, thanks.
- Tom?
- Yes, please. Light me one, will you?
Thank you.
- Captain, can I ask you something?
- Hmm?
It's about Captain Anson.
He's had rather a bad time recently,
been drinking heavily.
He's probably screaming for one
right now.
But we rely on him for navigation.
Please don't give him any.
- What do I do if he asks for it?
- He won't!
Just help him. Keep it out of sight.
If I want one, I'll just go off by myself.
(Speaking German)
He wants to know how she is.
- She's still asleep.
- (Van der Poel explains in German)
(Speaks German)
- (Speaks German)
- What did he say?
Good luck.
- Are you sure it's all right?
- Yes.
If I know anything about Driver Grimes,
he'll have enough tea tucked away
to start a caf.
Half full.
Can I do anything, man?
Thank you, sir. Would you get the fire
going and I'll open the rations?
That's for the water, sir.
Here you are, sir.
- The spade for the sand.
- Sand?
Sorry, sir. I thought all South African
troops brewed up the same as we do.
Don't worry, sir. I'll do it.
Would you get the water and petrol?
Time to wake the Captain.
Well, take it. It's hot.
(Wind whistling)
Captain Anson...
Captain Anson!
What's happened?
Why have we stopped?
Nothing's happened.
We've done the 21 miles.
There's an awful wind started,
blowing the sand all over the place.
Yeah, it usually does
when you start to brew up.
We didn't want to tell you
till you'd had some rest.
I can't write this one off.
You couldn't help it.
I'm a drunk. You know that, don't you?
You were trying to get us away.
Don't make excuses. I don't want them.
I'll tell you this.
The next drink I have
is going to be a lager.
Ice cold.
There's a little bar in Alex...
with a marble-topped counter
and high stools.
They serve the best beer
in all the Middle East.
When we get through with this lot,
I'll buy you one.
I'll buy you all one.
Come and have some food.
It'll be dark pretty soon, Tom.
I think we'd better get on with it.
Build a cairn up there as a marker.
We'll bury her in the morning.
I'll get van der Poel to lay on the grub.
Right, sir.
If it's not too much trouble, can you get
your can off there and start to brew up?
(Hums a tune)
- Hello.
- Hello. How's it going?
Oh, man, you wait!
I tell you, I'm a good cook.
- We'll let you know later.
- (Van der Poel laughs)
Did I, er... Did I tell you I was attached
to your division for a bit?
Were you? When?
Let's see.
Oh, round about last September.
I wasn't with them then.
I only came up six months ago.
Well, I expect some of the blokes
on Supplies are still the same
and, of course, old Dan Pinnear.
Jan Pienaar?
Yeah, he's quite a character.
You understood him? He's so Afrikaans,
he can hardly speak a word of English.
Oh, we managed.
Then there was the...
that Colonel in Supplies.
Colonel, um...
No, surely he was with Ordnance.
It was Colonel Maggs with Supplies.
Yes, of course. That's right.
Yes, Maggs. Hmm...
Hmm, smells good!
It's thanks to Mr Grimes, the biggest
scrounging so-and-so in the whole unit!
He got everything but the kitchen stove
stowed away -
spuds, onions, steak and kidney pud,
the lot. All gone in with the bully.
Man, that was good!
Now, we'll have to have a watch.
Let's see, um...
- There are three of us.
- Four.
All right.
Well, you two can take the first shift
till 12.30,
then you and I will take over
till first light.
That'll give us four hours each.
We should be up about six and hit
the old track near Piccadilly by sundown.
Well, then it's just a cakewalk
to Sidi Barrani.
Wouldn't it be as well to wait
till daybreak to see who's in Sidi?
Do you mean Jerry?
Hell, man, Barrani's halfway to Alex!
Well... it's your party.
Where is he going?
Hey, you tell her, Tom.
In the desert, you never ask anyone
where they're going with a spade.
That's common to both sides.
What's he taking
that ruddy great pack for?
There's something phoney about him, sir.
You weren't there
when we brewed up at midday.
I asked him to make a fire.
He hadn't a clue.
He's probably always had somebody
to do it for him.
But he must have seen it done.
We'd better get some rest.
Douse the fire.
- Good night, Tom.
- Good night.
Don't think me stupid, but...
I can't bear to see her covered up
on a night like this.
I didn't know her very well really.
She was rather a silly little thing.
Awful flirt.
Not even a very good nurse.
But I feel worse about this
than anything that's happened.
YOU feel bad about it?
How the hell do you think I feel?
It's done, man. No use accusing yourself.
Play around with war
and these things happen.
What do you keep in that pack?
Gin. Want some?
(Sings to himself)
Time to wake up, Tom.
Captain van der "Pole"!
Van der Poel!
(He yawns)
(Water dripping)
What is it?
The blasted pump! I thought it was
leaking, so I put the tin underneath.
It's half full already. The washer is
crumbling. We haven't got a replacement.
If I tighten it up,
it might break up altogether.
- What happens then?
- No washer, no pump, no engine.
I hit rock. I think we'll have
to start all over again somewhere else.
- Solid rock, sir?
- No, no, it's a layer. Pretty thick one.
Here, give me that thing!
I'll carry on now. The rest will be easy.
You, er... You haven't got an indelible
pencil or anything like that, have you?
I've got a pen, sir.
What about my lipstick?
It's meant to be waterproof.
That'll do fine.
The Lord is my Shepherd.
I shall not want.
He maketh me lie down
in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
though I walk through the shadow
of the valley of death...
I shall...
I will fear no evil.
Thou preparest a table for me
in the presence of my enemies.
(Vehicle approaching)
(Speaks German)
(Continues in German)
He wants only one of us.
(German officer) Schnell!
Schnell! Schnell!
(Continues in German)
We won't get away with it this time.
(Officer continues in German)
(Orders in German)
- (Speaks German)
- We have to give up our guns.
I told you. They're funny
about armed troops on ambulances.
(Speaks German)
I've got some bad news.
Tobruk's fallen.
- I don't believe it.
- He doesn't believe us.
It's up to him whether we go in the bag
or not. He can't call his HQ.
They've got wireless silence imposed.
(Speaks German)
(Continues in German)
He says we can go. But the Afrika Korps
don't bring women into battle
and we shouldn't either.
He says we must go much further south.
Their armour is through to Maddalena.
- They'll reach Mersa Matruh in two days.
- I don't believe a ruddy word of it!
He says we must start straight away.
All right. Let's get going.
What the hell are we waiting for?
(Engine starts)
(Wind howls)
Well, you got us out of another jam.
Man, I don't know how I did it.
He was a bastard.
But with Tobruk gone,
they've got more to do.
I don't believe Tobruk's gone.
It seemed you were telling him
what to do.
Only way to handle these bloody Nazis!
Kick 'em in the guts first
before they have a chance to kick you!
Tom, just in case that young Jerry
was right, we ought to cut further east,
by-pass Matruh for the Garawla track.
That'll take three days, sir.
What about the pump?
- What's the water situation?
- About 14 gallons.
- The pump'll use 9 or 10 of that.
- Doesn't leave much for us.
What about Bir Bayly, sir?
That's only 15 miles south.
We should find enough water there.
I hadn't thought of that.
Let's have a look at the map.
There she is. Bir Bayly.
We've dug it out before.
We can do it again.
- How far down's the water?
- 5, 10, maybe 15 feet.
We'll have to dig to find out.
Tom, better go down in one corner,
see if it gets damp.
Here. Take a mouthful.
Just rinse it round and spit it out.
Don't swallow. It'll make you thirstier.
Scarcely damp and as salty as hell.
We ought to talk this thing over.
Now look...
We can go on digging this out.
Heaven knows how long it'll take.
We may not find water in the end
and we're using up what we have got.
Now we've got three alternatives.
Look, we're here.
Now, first of all, we can cut
straight up to Mersa Matruh.
But if our Jerry chum's right,
all the Germans will be there first.
Now, second, we can take the longer
but safer camel route
round here on the top of the Depression.
And then cut up the Garawla track.
But that's all of 270 miles,
best of three days.
And we may be damned short of water.
What's the third alternative?
Well, the third alternative is to...
come straight down to the Qara oasis.
There's a dump there. The long-range
desert group use it. I know about it.
We could fill up with water and petrol and
then cut straight through the Depression.
The Depression, sir?
It's not an improper suggestion!
We've done it before.
I know, sir, but that was training
with aircraft to look after us.
But alone and in this crate?
We'd never make it.
- Remember that Jeep went down like...
- Of course I remember!
- What is the Depression?
- A salt marsh below sea level.
It's about 200 miles long, like an oven
and Katy would boil all the way.
It's liquid underneath with a dried crust
on top. Like a mouldy rice pudding.
There is a track, of sorts,
but as Tom says,
if you do go through, well...
you've pretty well bought it.
And Katy weighs two tons, remember.
So, what?
Well, there are the alternatives.
- What's it to be?
- I'm all for the Garawla track, sir.
- I'll keep that pump going somehow.
- I agree with him.
The Depression isn't even an alternative.
OK. The Garawla track it is.
Ran out of water, I suppose.
(Loud crack)
Stop, sir! A spring's gone!
Pull up, man!
Make them absolutely firm, sir.
They'll take the whole weight
when I pull the jack out.
Why all this messing about with piles of
stones? Can't we hold it on the jack?
No, sir. We should have two jacks.
We've only got one,
so we'll have to do this way
to ease the new spring into position.
All right, stand clear, sir.
I'm going to let her down.
Look out! She's going!
Hold her just for a moment!
Just hold her for one second, sir.
Go on, hold her, sir.
Hold her, sir.
Hold her!
(Chassis creaks)
That's the most wonderful
bloody effort you'll ever see.
Yes. He must have taken
all of a ton on his back.
- Get me the water bottle.
- Right.
You know, if he hadn't held her up,
she'd have smashed her back axle.
Then we'd have just kept on walking
till our water ran out.
- We'll have to get him into the shade.
- I'll get a stretcher.
No... don't need a stretcher.
Give me a pull up. I'll be all right.
Now take it easy.
Look out - aircraft!
It's all right! It's one of ours!
"Jerry's advanced armour
beyond Sidi Barrani.
"Our troops falling back towards Alamein.
"Do not, repeat not,
attempt coast west of Darba."
Darba?! I can't believe it.
That's only about 100 miles from Alex.
That means Jerry's way ahead of us
So what do we do?
Unless you want to spend the rest of the
war in a prison camp, what I suggested.
South to the Qara oasis
and through the Depression. Objections?
Good. Carried unanimously.
Tomorrow or the day after
when we're bogged down to the axles,
the water's gone and we're alone
in 1,000 square miles of mud,
you can all spit in my eye.
All right, Tom, let's get going, shall we?
We don't want to be here all day.
Would you like to go in the back?
No, thanks. I-I feel better now.
I'd like a drink, though.
- A real drink.
- I'll get it.
No, I'll do it.
Thanks very much. Like some?
Bang on time.
Very regular habits.
This afternoon, when I got
van der Poel's pack, it was heavy.
Too heavy for a few bottles of gin.
When I tried to open it for him,
he wouldn't let me.
Now listen. Both of you
have complained about van der Poel.
All right. Here's the chance
to get it all off your chests.
- Well, Tom?
- I think he's phoney, sir.
He hasn't a clue how to make the fire
yet all South African troops brew up
the same as we do. And why...
...why go to the latrine
at exactly the same time?
Perhaps he's been well brought up.
- Diana?
- I agree with Tom.
I never liked the man,
but it's more than that.
There is something phoney.
Where are you going?
Just for a walk, sir.
I think I saw something. Light was bad,
but it looked like a transmitter mast.
- Are you sure of that?
- No, I'm not sure, but...
He certainly didn't use the spade.
Maybe he changed his mind.
OK, supposing you two are right and
he is a spy, what do you suggest we do?
Knock him over the head and leave him?
No, but we should stop him sending
information back to the Germans.
- What information has he got?
- Then why risk using it?
To keep in touch with his HQ.
He may need to get through to them.
But that's assuming he is a spy
and has a transmitter.
Just remember, he's saved us once
and we may need him again.
Let's leave it like that for the moment.
- Could do with a shave. Couldn't you?
- Yes, sir.
We'll push on a bit before it gets dark.
You take a turn in the back.
(Anson) 'We'll find out at Qara.
Meanwhile, forget it.
'OK, Tom, I'll see about the tin.'
We're stopping here for the night.
Will there be British troops at Qara?
We'll get there tomorrow afternoon.
We're just as likely to find Jerry there.
Yeah. At the rate they're going,
anything could happen.
There you are. The Qara oasis.
Now we can get that water and petrol,
Doesn't seem to be anybody about, sir.
I'll scout around a bit, Tom.
- You watch the ambulance.
- Right, sir.
(Orders in Arabic)
Khamsa. Khamsa moya.
(Barks order)
English. OK. English.
(Speaks Arabic)
Er... we come from... Tobruk.
Go, er, go Alexandria.
We want... water. Petrol.
(More orders)
Hell, listen. We want water. Petrol.
See? We've got money.
- How much money you want?
- (Yells)
- This clot doesn't understand English.
- Sorry, old boy.
This clot had difficulty with your Arabic.
- Good God! Who are you?
- Just stooging around. Papers, please.
- You belong to the garrison?
- No, they pulled out.
The Germans are coming in strength.
I'm just here to sugar the petrol dump.
Let us have some before you do it!
How do you think you'll get away?
The Germans will be here in three hours.
- Across the Depression.
- In a heavy crate like yours?
I suppose it is your only chance.
- Do you want a lift?
- I've got a previous engagement.
Better see about that petrol. Pity
it's so late. You won't get far tonight
and I shouldn't try driving on it
in the dark.
Here we are, ladies and gents,
on the old camel road,
which all the ruddy fools since
Alexander the Great have taken to Alex.
You'll have to stop, sir!
Look, she's boiling!
(Diana) Look! Quick!
Give me a hand, sir.
Go on! Give him some more.
What the hell - he's a brave man.
Not again, man! This is the sixth time.
It's not the radiator. The light's going.
Surely you can do
another couple of miles?
Sorry. I won't risk it. Not in the dark.
- Sorry I folded up on you.
- There you are, sir.
- Do you feel better now?
- Apart from a splitting headache
and a mouth like the bottom
of a parrot cage, I'm fine, thanks.
I wish we'd get on a bit further.
It's the lowest part of the whole issue.
- It looks pretty firm to me.
- Well, it isn't!
We're sitting on top of a ruddy jelly.
We'll be lucky if she doesn't bog down.
I've put her on the sand mats, sir.
Now listen. Nobody's to move
a foot off the track. Understand?
- Douse the fire, Tom.
- What are you going to do?
If he is a spy, he's got something
to signal about - our chaps at the oasis.
So we're going to try to catch our
South African friend with his pants down.
He can't be far along the track.
We'll take the hoods off the lamps.
You get in the cab, Tom.
When I give the signal, switch on.
Over to the left, Tom!
Turn out the lights!
Switch on.
Now he's on the right!
Go back, Tom!
Hard down right!
Now hard over left!
Now forward.
Hard down right!
Now hard over left!
Stop! Hard down right!
Now forward.
I'm trapped!
Tom, quick! He's in trouble!
Get the sand mats.
The other mat, quick!
Get the tow rope.
(Van der Poel gasps)
Give me something else!
A shirt, anything.
Hold on, hold on.
Throw it to me, man!
Throw it to me! Hurry...
- I'm being sucked under!
- Grab hold, grab hold!
- Pull!
- Hang on, man!
Get the ambulance!
I can't... I can't...
For God's sake, get...!
- Get in!
- But I... But I can't...
It's all set. When I give you the signal,
just let the clutch out gently.
Don't let me drown!
You go round the other side.
That's enough!
Get water! Gin!
There's some in his other pack.
Give him a drink.
He's unconscious, but he'll be all right.
You saw what was in his pack?
He IS a Nazi.
Diana, get in the ambulance.
We'll bring him round. You can clean him
up. Use petrol. We can't spare water.
- How is he?
- Very exhausted. I gave him a sedative.
Tom, this can't
have done the track any good.
Better get out of here
as quick as we can.
We shall soon have to have another halt,
sir, or she'll be boiling again.
(Anson) 'Tom, can't we get on?
She must be cool by now.'
We'll have to leave her a bit longer, sir.
I want to say something about last night.
I want to apologise.
I should have done like you told me,
stuck to the track.
Ah, skip it.
Afraid you lost your shirt, though.
And your pack.
- Why did you do it?
- Do what?
Turn on the headlamps.
We heard a noise.
Thought you might have gone in.
We weren't far wrong, were we?
No, you weren't.
Anyway, you'll dine out on the story
for weeks. Eh, Tom?
He certainly will, sir.
I'll go and top her up now, sir.
Huh. How much further
till we get out of this?
I reckon another 80 miles.
- Tonight?
- No. Through the worst bits, though.
Let's get started, shall we?
What are you going to do about him?
Nothing yet.
He thinks he's safe with us.
We'll let him go on thinking that.
For the moment.
Man, this heat!
It doesn't seem to bother old Tom much,
does it?
this time tomorrow...
...our little party will have broken up.
(Hums softly)
What's the first thing you'll do
when you get to Alex?
I've told you. That beer.
It's so ruddy cold, there's a sort of dew
on the outside of the glass.
And then?
Then I'll pull the chain six times
just to hear the sound of running water.
Is someone waiting for you?
Well, it's...
- It's all rather complicated.
- Tell me.
Paul Crosbie.
A character in my unit.
We took our leaves together.
And in Alex last time
we... got rather caught up with somebody.
What's her name?
And you're both in love with her?
That seemed to be the idea.
Where is he now?
In the bag, I'm afraid.
One of us had to stay behind in Tobruk.
I had no choice.
He thought I was ratting on him.
Now you think you might have
an unfair advantage?
What do you think?
I think you don't understand women.
I don't.
She'll know what she wants.
If it's Paul, nothing you do
will make the slightest difference.
And if it's you,
I think you should know by now.
Like a judge's summing up.
Sound, logical,
cold as hell.
Probably right.
- Do you always know what you want?
- Always.
We'll be on top in a few minutes.
The track up is just over there.
- What's the matter?
- It's this slope.
The wind has blown deep sand drifts
over it. We'll have trouble getting her up.
We'll be stuck like ants in a jam pot.
- Isn't there any other way?
- I'm afraid not.
Let's try and belt her up. You drive, Tom.
Wait for my signal. Come on, you two.
She should be going pretty well by here.
We can give a shove if needed.
Man, she hasn't a chance,
not on this sand. She'll bog down.
She won't if we do what I say.
Tom! Come on!
There, what did I tell you?
Like a ruddy dose of salts!
(Engine strains)
Hold her!
What did you expect, man,
on this slope?! It's madness!
We'll never get her up!
We'll have to take her up on the mats!
You two, start digging.
- You've got the spade!
- We've only got one. Use your hands.
You know what's going to happen?
We'll stick halfway and then
we won't get her either up or down!
Get out! Out of it!
Don't just stand there like a Hyde Park
floozy! Get to the back and push!
And you stop grinning about your love life
and come and help!
Get cracking, Tom! Come on!
Come on!
Shove, damn you! Shove!
Don't lean against the bloody thing!
Never mind your ruddy make-up!
Get up! Push!
- It's no good, sir.
- What do you mean "no good"?
You're a bloody fine one to talk,
riding all the way!
You told me to drive, sir.
The engine, it's boiling over.
It's heating
and a seized engine won't get us to Alex!
So you all want to walk, do you?
All right.
There's the compass! Take all the food
and water and go 30 degrees for two days
and I hope it keeps fine for you!
Who the hell are you talking to?!
I've taken enough from you.
- You haven't taken half you're going to!
- Hold it!
Take it easy, gentlemen!
I'm going to get Katy to Alex.
Do you understand? I'm going to.
It's a personal thing.
Let him alone.
Now there is a way we might get her up.
Wind her up on the starting handle with
the plugs out, in reverse, lowest gear.
It's a long shot, but it could work.
In reverse? That means you've got to
turn her round. She'll fall over.
Not if we all use our weight.
I'll show you.
Down on the left!
Keep going! Now hard on the left!
Bring her down on the left there!
She'll go this time! Round!
That's it! Away you go!
Hard round, off you go.
Go on, round you go! Full lock!
Full lock, man! Give her full lock!
I've no idea what they're doing.
They tried to explain to me,
but I'm hopeless at that sort of thing.
If you take the plugs out,
there's no resistance.
Put her in a low gear, wind the starting
handle and the wheels turn slowly.
Because the movement's so gradual,
the sand isn't disturbed.
That's the theory.
Come and help.
All right.
I'll come and watch a miracle.
Now let's see.
- Brake off.
- OK.
- Any movement?
- No, nothing at all.
It's working.
Tom! It's working!
It's working!
Right! 500 turns each
until we get to the top.
All right, here we go.
Only about another 30 feet, sir.
Hold her there. I'll get my shirt.
Come on! We're there!
- She's away!
- Stop it!
Stop it!
Oh, dear God...
My fault. I should have
had somebody on the brake.
That's your job on the next trip.
Well, let's take a little exercise,
shall we?
Come on now. It's quite simple.
Whenever we say "brake",
pull on the brake as hard as you can
and it'll hold her.
All right?
All right.
Brake off.
We're there. We made it.
See that clear bit?
That's the reflection of the sea.
All right, van der Poel.
Your honour. Bring her up the last lap.
And get cracking. That bar opens at six.
My old man said follow the van
And don't dilly-dally on the way
Off went the van
with my 'ome packed in it
I walked behind with my old cock linnet
I dillied and dallied,
dallied and dillied
Lost the way
and don't know where to roam
Cos you can't trust the specials
like the old-time coppers
When you can't find your way home!
(Van der Poel sings)
(Hums to himself)
Do you want to see him
stuck up against a wall and shot?
No, I don't.
Well, he is a spy.
- Is your officer here, Sergeant?
- Yes, sir. In the tent.
- Identity card, Diana. Pay book, Tom.
- Right, sir.
Right. Nip in the back
and keep him company, will you?
Tom? Shouldn't we put the tin
under the radiator?
That tin? Not ever again!
You don't know how I feel about that tin.
- Captain Johnson, Sister Murdoch.
- A pretty good show, Sister.
- I expect you'd like a wash.
- We've got to push on.
- A drink?
- We've got a date for that.
- I hope the shirt fits your chum.
- Thanks. I'll see you get it back.
A present from the Military Police
to Captain van der Poel.
Better take the pips off
before you give it to him.
- I suppose you know what you're doing.
- This time, yes.
What about us?
Well, we'll both go back to our units,
like I told you.
I'd like to be coming with you.
Too much of a handful.
You'll be coming back to Alex?
Wouldn't work out.
I'd like to think it could, but... wouldn't.
Only make you unhappy.
I've started already.
You said you don't understand women.
You certainly don't understand me.
If you did, you'd realise
I don't give up so easily.
Better take the, er, shirt
in to the Captain.
- What's that?
- The other spring's gone.
- Shall I pull up, sir?
- She's done 600 miles. Only four to go.
Bash on!
You good old cow.
Set 'em up, Joe.
- Set what up?
- Four ice-cold lagers.
Captain Anson! Where have you been?
Doing some motoring.
Come on, Joe. Let's have that beer.
Yes, sir! Right away, sir.
You kept your promise.
Let's hope
the beer's all I said it was, eh?
Worth waiting for.
Come on, drink up. You deserved it.
- Four more, Joe!
- Here's to you, man.
Good luck!
Sit down. Over here. Tom, quick.
Come on, sit down. Sit down!
Come on, man, drink up.
You're one behind.
- Cigarette?
- Captain Anson?
- You're early.
- That may be.
But it is strictly forbidden
to fraternise with the enemy.
Fresh off the boat.
Thinks all that ironmongery's the answer.
You obey orders, Lieutenant. Wait outside
until the time I fixed with your CO.
I phoned for them at the checkpoint.
We've only got a few minutes.
Now what's your real name?
Look, I told Security you're a German
officer. You got lost outside Tobruk.
We picked you up
and you gave us your parole,
but the whole thing breaks down
if we don't know your real name.
Don't try and bluff it out, man.
We knew when you got us through
your own people.
Once was a miracle, twice just wasn't on.
And that ruddy great pack of yours.
We knew it was a transmitter.
Now come on. What's your real name?
Good God, man.
Can't you see it's your last chance?
Why do you think I got rid of everything
that identified you as a South African?
You know the alternative?
Do you want to be stuck
up against a wall and shot?
Otto Lutz.
Hauptmann, engineer.
21st Panzer Group.
Here's to you, Otto.
We all know we damn well
wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for you.
It's 6:30, Captain Anson.
OK. But won't you fraternise with us
and have one for the road?
No, thank you.
You release me from my parole,
Herr Kapitn?
Now look, I told your CO that Hauptmann
Lutz behaved in an exemplary manner.
So there's no need for a ball and chain.
First, will you shake hands with me,
Gndiges Frulein.
You, em...
You haven't finished your beer.
It has been...
quite an experience.
All against the desert,
the greater enemy.
I've learnt a lot about the English.
So different from all I'd been taught.
Auf Wiedersehen.