Malta Story (1953) Poster

(1953)

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Stirring from both land and air...
gleywong3 April 2003
Having never had a chance to visit this island, nor been made aware of its importance to the allied forces during WW II, I appreciated the snatch of history of Malta and its inhabitants and of the incredibly impressive air shots of the RAF at work. Other commentators say much of this footage is archival; if so, then the editing is commendable, as is the transitional camera work, which is virtually seamless. In this day and age when so many battles and flight scenes are achieved by graphic simulation, I feel there is a sense of integrity in this film that cannot be easily duplicated today, regardless of all of the technology at our disposal. This is perhaps the quality of Ealing studios at work.

The black and white graininess of the film also gives it a documentary feel -- the strong light and shadow of the landscape shots of air, water and rocks that give us the vivid sense of place -- remind me also of Italian verismo cinema and reinforce that impression.

As for the acting, I did not feel it in the least "wooden." Actors who emote all over the place are not necessarily conveying true emotion: they are "acting." As with certain aspects of Italian cinema, more is conveyed in what is left out and held back than what is overtly revealed. I felt all of the performances, and especially Guinness's, and including his leading lady, were true to their character. The intelligence in his eyes and the slight, fleeting change of expression in his face, as he reacts, for example, to Hawkins' approval of his reconnaissance flights, is an example of the subtlety that would characterize all of Guinness's performances. Viewers who expect too much overt emotion are possibly allowing the actors on screen to experience it for them, rather than being drawn into the emotion and circumstance of the onscreen drama unfolding. Calling it a "stiff upper lip" may be one easy way to describe it, but one does have a sense in this film of people with some depth and substance, depicted with a visual honesty, who are caught in a life and death situation.

Of four stars, at least three *** without reservation.
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7/10
Very good...
MartinHafer26 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Considering that very little attention has been given to the Battle of Malta during WWII, this was a welcome film. How this small island was able to hold out against the combined forces of Italy and Germany is amazing and may be one of the important turning points in the war.

Now this isn't to say the film is perfect. It was obvious it had a somewhat limited budget and so a lot of archival footage was used. Much of it was included very well and rather seamlessly, though a few clips were grainy and sucked. Why they chose to include these clips, I have no idea. So if you are looking for tons of real planes and realistic air battles like the film THE BATTLE OF Britain, this isn't quite it. Plus I noticed that an amazing number of German JU-87 and 88s were used in the film, though other planes were curiously missing (such as HE-111s, DO-17s and other German bombers as well as fighters). But, considering that few of these existed any more, this can be understood. So can the use of some models of Spitfires that were later variants that came out AFTER the battle. Only a fat-headed purist like me would notice this stuff, however, and it's a bazillion times better than rotten archival footage-ridden films like MIDWAY (where practically everything was wrong--don't even get me started).

To give this film a human interest side, the producers created the character played by Alec Guinness. He is a reconnaissance pilot who is on the way to Egypt when he is stranded and then based on Malta. His humanity and plans for the future with the girl he grows to love is a backdrop that is used to highlight the sense of impending doom and sacrifice. While some may notice that his part didn't allow him to use his massive acting talents (many could have handled the role), he was pretty good in his rather limiting role.

Overall, a very tense and well-written film that is great for history teachers and airplane buffs. Others may or may not find the film as compelling, but I was struck by one reviewer who almost sounded like he thought the battle was a big waste of time and "tripe". A very odd perspective, indeed....and I'll say no more about that.
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7/10
A Mix of Cinematic Journalism and Romantic Love
barney_holmes5 February 2009
Having just read "Tobruk" by Chester Wilmot, a journalist who spent time in the Tobruk siege and reported diligently about it, this piece informed me of another similar siege that I was unaware of. The use of archive footage is fascinating, mixed in with a simple story of love that feels lighter and without the moralising heaviness and embarrassing "post modern" pretensions of many modern day films ... especially war films. Very much a product of it's time ... they really don't make them like this anymore. Some of it feels like a War time moral raising film. I even thought it was made in the war until I found out the 1953 date. But memories were still strong in those days of course, so there is a flavour of a story burning to be told to the world before times move on.
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7/10
Maltese, keep that stiff upper lip
bkoganbing13 November 2004
Someone else unfortunately used the title, location, location, location, in his film review. It's not only the plot of the movie, it's the history of Malta.

Malta located south of Sicily and right in the middle of that Mediterranean bottleneck between Sicily and Tunisia has had the misfortune by geography to be smack in the middle of supply and trade routes since ancient times. That made it desirable real estate. Malta's been occupied by every conqueror operating in that area, most recently the British during World War II.

And at that time that island with its air and naval base was doing a lot of damage to Erwin Rommel's supply route in North Africa. With unbelievable courage the British garrison held on for over two years and was never really out of harm's way until the Allies took Sicily.

Lots of black and white combat footage used and together with the performances of the male leads, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, and Anthony Steel the film has a nice documentary feel. Guinness who plays so many quirky type characters on the screen is for once a very straightforward lead as Peter Ross aerial reconnaissance photographer. He has a romance going with one of the locals and her mother is played by Flora Robson.

There is an interesting subplot there in which Flora Robson's son is taken prisoner as a spy for the Italians and sentenced to be executed as a spy. He tells his British captors that he is in fact a Maltese patriot and that they are the occupiers and it's their occupation that is bringing death and destruction to his people. Not that he wasn't right. The Maltese finally do have their independence now.

A film that is a great tribute to the heroism of the British forces on the island of Malta.
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7/10
A Threatened Little Island.
Robert J. Maxwell19 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Malta in 1942 was a thorn in the side of the Germans, particularly Rommel's Afrika Corps. The island is located just south of Sicily in the path of the convoys from Mediterranean ports that are supplying Rommel's army in northern Africa. A dangerous maximum effort from Malta is sinking the ships that are carrying supplies to Rommel. If the effort isn't continued it appears that Rommel will take Egypt and the Suez Canal, with calamitous results for the Allies. The Germans are bombing hell out of Malta and its supply ships in an attempt to starve the civilian population and the British military.

Alec Guiness is a Spitfire pilot accidentally stranded on Malta and drafted into carrying out perilous photo-reconnaissance missions over Italian ports. But fuel is in such short supply that he is thoroughly pranged by his CO, Jack Hawkins, for taking a 90-mile detour to photograph some trains and marshaling yards. Well, everything is in short supply. Civilians are eating scraps out of garbage cans.

The movie is short on dramatic displays too, which is fine with me. Nobody weeps. Guiness's fiancée, Muriel Pavlow, learns of his death in the line of duty and her face becomes stony. That's about it.

Guiness himself delivers an understated performance as the former archaeologist turned airman. No chance for bravura acting here. He moves through the story determined and optimistic, but thoughtful too. The Maltese people are culturally Italian and they should by rights be shouting, dashing around, and running off at the hands, but they're put into a British duck press here so that they too are reserved and uncomplaining.

Exteriors were filmed on Malta and in 1953, only eight years after the war, still showed the effects of the ceaseless bombardment by German aircraft. Yet it's a picturesque place. Anthony Burgess spent some years at work there, and it looks like a fine place to visit in summer, with enough sunshine to equal good old Hollywood -- and no smog or traffic jams.

There are some -- not many -- scenes of combat. They're a well-executed blend of newsreel footage and model work. Some of the shots suggest that the production was able to muster three or four Spitfires and have them zoom about the island and taxi through the dust. The Spitfires are of varying models. Some have their wing tips clipped off, a procedure designed to increase their roll rate, but depriving their wings of that exquisite elliptical shape.

There is nothing in the story about this but the British had cracked the code used in German messages regarding ships and sailing times, so they were able to conduct their interceptions of shipping with a minimum of milling around. (The handful of submarines did an equally effective job.) It was of course imperative that the decoding be kept secret. So important that as one attack was begun, the directors back on the island discovered that the ship was carrying Allied POWs, but had to be carried out nonetheless.

Nice job by all concerned without being in any way in the neighborhood of innovation or art. When Guiness is done with his last heroic mission his airplane is intercepted by Messerschmidts and he is shot down and killed. There is no blood, no expression of pain, no last few words gasped out about his fiancée back on Malta. We simply see his instrument panel explode in a hail of bullets, Guiness's eyes rolling upward, and then a cut to a long shot of a miniature model whining slowly down into the sea and leaving a trail of black smoke behind. It's pretty tasteful.
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5/10
Ultra significant war movie
hugh.blanchard11 March 2007
It is a gripping story that is told about the efforts made to make use of that stationary aircraft carrier in the middle of the Mediterranean. It is also poignant that Alec Guinness should play the part of a reconnaissance pilot because it is just this ruse that the British used to pretend that they hadn't broken the Italian and German ciphers thus enabling them to sink all the Gerry troop ships and always be just in time everywhere. A lame performance by the cast is diverted by the backdrop of a desperate situation on a tiny island that has been invaded by every great power since anyone can remember. If Ultra hadn't done it stuff these people would have been run over even though the Axis forces would have lost the war in the long run.
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7/10
Well worth a look.
ColonelFaulkner22 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Bought this one today as the price was right and I was pleasantly surprised.

As has been stated by many of the other reviews of this film, no great performances in this one. None of the cast stand out and the characters are not particularly memorable.

The real star of this movie is the story, one which certainly deserved to be told. I found it enthralling and certainly very tense in parts, a good Sunday matinée type film which is why I give it a 7/10.

The use of stock footage was fine given the age of the film and for me it didn't detract from the action. I did see the same plane perform the same turn a couple of times though.

Great to see George Cowley..oops I mean Gordon Jackson, so recognisable, in what must have been one of his earlier roles.

Not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think this would disappoint anyone who isn't expecting bullet time
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Interesting war footage, disappointing acting
Linda Lee5 May 2002
Very much a weekend afternoon film now, almost 50 years after it was made, this film gives an accurate portrayal of the wartime events which led to Malta's being awarded the George Cross. The footage of the air and sea battles is fascinating, but the acting is sadly wooden.

Jack Hawkins turns in his usual competent performance, but Alec Guiness is very bland. Flora Robson is an unlikely Maltese mother, symbolising the suffering of the island people. The other credited actresses, Muriel Pavlow and Renee Asherson, appear almost catatonic, and the two love affairs are utterly unconvincing.

A lot of the entertainment lies in spotting well-known faces in their younger days! No surprise to see Victor Maddern and Sam Kydd (whinging, but getting the job done!), Gordon Jackson (uncredited), a very young Rosalie Crutchley and an (almost) unrecognisable Nigel Stock!

Watch this to learn about Malta's wartime history, but choose another film if you want to see these famous names acting with some passion!
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4/10
Spoiler Alert: Alec Guiness Gets Lost!
grossjam-666-39406622 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I never thought I'd see Alec Guinness and cringe! His romantic scenes are unintentionally laugh out loud funny. With his spindly arms and legs sticking out of his tropical khakis, all he can talk to his gorgeous young beloved about is how she's to serve tea when he brings her off Malta to Cambridge after the war, how marvelous the ancient ruins are and how unimportant it would be if they all died. Alone in a dark romantic passage saying goodbye, possibly going off to his death: "Shan't be able to see you for awhile", "Take care, darling", "Bye, then", and he KISSES HER HAND before loping off! Catch me before I swoon! When it comes to the military scenes, the hotter it gets the more boring the Brits act, either ironic or depressed. Old war buddies saying goodbye to each other, possibly forever, act like they are catching a train for the weekend. My goodness, Reginald, what a bunch of lip upper stiffs! From Here To Eternity, this ain't. What a relief to have Jack Hawkins on hand. He's the only full blooded human in the thing. Even the great Flora Robson is hobbled by the stiffness of the style. It will make you appreciate what a genius David Lean was to take Hawkins and Guinness and use them in the cause of brilliant filmmaking.
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A commendable little film
Guy17 August 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Plot: The British and Maltese unite to fight off German aerial attacks on Malta during the Second World War

This is a nice little b&w Ealing Studios war effort, combining archive footage (effective in its simple documentary fashion) with a number of plot lines that move between the local Maltese, the British commanders, the ground forces, and the pilots. In many ways the film feels like a supplement to the George Cross won by Malta for her valour during the war, as every group gets their moment in the spotlight and a well- deserved pat on the back. The acting is nicely underplayed (especially an eccentric Alec Guinness), all the characters are decent and sensible people, and there is no shouting or screaming despite the stress and danger. The death of one of the main characters (I won't spoil it by saying who) is similarly effective in its quietness and swiftness, leading to a haunting (and wordless) final shot which says more about the damage caused by war than half a dozen gore-spattered modern spectacles. A wonderful Saturday afternoon film for fathers and sons.
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5/10
Malta home win on penalties
pacare27 July 2013
Well what can one say. A good effort in trying to show the heroism of the Island, of the heroic Maltese who endured so much, and of all the heroic allied servicemen within an extremely limited financial budget by the look of it. Guinness can't cut being a 'love lead' and was embarrassingly uncomfortable in the role, despite his undoubted great acting talents in other more suitable roles. Steel was a man of the time, but let's just say politely not of now. Jack Hawkins coasts through with his pained Cruel Sea look and carries the film. The aerial models win the wooden acting awards just from the actors, and I half expected to see Sooty and Sweep pulling the strings on the models just behind the scenes. The supposed German ability to have 6 ME109s on your tail wherever you are only just a few seconds after you transmit a radio message makes one's mind boggle and this farcical "Fact" is made the supposedly end focal point of the film; but leaving such laughable crapola fact of the highest order aside means that I shall say no more on the subject, and it still leaves a good film!

Having said all that well done to all for trying to portray this great story. I've been to Malta and give my thanks and admiration to a wonderful steadfast courageous people who helped save our butts.
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3/10
Not even Alec and Jack can bring it to life....
ianlouisiana17 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
In the opening scene of "Malta Story" Mr A.Guinness bore such a startling resemblance to Noel Coward that I fully expected his first words to be "Certain women need striking regularly - like gongs" or some such world - weary bon mot.Unfortunately his dialogue is hardly deathless prose and even the Master would have had trouble bringing it to life.Indeed Mr Guinness wanders through the picture as if looking for a focal point and failing to find one.And therein lies the fatal weakness of the whole movie.Mr J.Hawkins likewise gives up early on and ends up giving a "Jack Hawkins" performance without an ounce of individuality.It could have been spliced from any of a dozen British war movies.Many of the early fifties usual suspects turn up and do their schtick to very little purpose. The Luftwaffe failed to bomb Malta into submission in much the same way as it failed to bring London to its knees.The courage of the Maltese people in the face of incessant danger was recognised by the King and the island was awarded the George Cross.A worthy subject you might think for a movie,but "Malta Story" does not even qualify for the term "worthy" in its most patronising sense.It gives the appearance of being hastily cobbled together to meet a deadline,perhaps before the actors lost the will to live.
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5/10
Oddly routine
Leofwine_draca6 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
MALTA STORY is an oddly unengaging little war movie made by Britain and featuring an all-star cast. The setting is Malta, where the British are heroically fighting back against the superiority of the Luftwaffe and the Italian forces, despite being outgunned and surrounded. A little espionage features in the tale but mostly this is a typical gung-ho RAF-based slice of propaganda, lacking the interesting characters seen elsewhere in the genre, such as THE PURPLE PLAIN to give one example. Alec Guinness takes the lead role but seems oddly disinterested in the whole thing, but the sight of nearly a dozen British film regulars in cameo roles (I'm talking Victor Maddern, Sam Kydd, Gordon Jackson, Noel Willman, the list goes on) keeps you watching and the use of genuine wartime footage adds to the realism of the experience. But things get bogged down in old-fashioned romance and I never really cared as much as I should have about the cast.
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6/10
A more obscure and less distinguished War film.
alexanderdavies-9938227 March 2018
"The Malta Story" isn't a particularly memorable War film. It is rather routine and ordinary and Alec Guinness isn't exactly having to stretch his acting muscles that much. That isn't meant as a criticism necessarily. I'm guessing the actor felt that "The Malta Story" was a bit less demanding after reading his copy of the script. Therefore, his approach to the film was to make enough effort with his performance to be professional. If that were the case, his approach was the correct one. The story concerns the R.A.F being stationed in Malta (and filmed there) and Alec Guinness playing just one of many pilots who have been posted. The narrative doesn't seem to rise above the ordinary, just as with the dialogue. It is the kind of dialogue that has been repeated many a time in War films but with more imagination. Jack Hawkins does his usual as the posh, stiff upper lip character whilst cast as a commanding officer. He was never one of the most exciting actors in the world but is ok here. The two leading ladies have little to do or to offer. The romantic subplot is utterly pointless and adds nothing to this film. Anthony Steel - totally forgotten these days - is merely a "pretty boy" name with no acting ability whatever. He soon faded from public memory by the early 1960s and good riddance! The location photography may benefit "The Malta Story" from a technical standpoint but it can't disguise the boring script and pace. Luckily, such a distinguished actor like Alec Guinness will be long remembered for his defining films. There is no way that the above War film can be mentioned in the same breath as "Ice Cold in Alex," "Dunkirk" or "I Was Monty's Double."
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7/10
Excellent war film spoiled by silly love story and miscasting
malcolmgsw5 February 2018
I have not seen this film for many years and was interested to see it again on Talking Pictures last night.I was in Malta just over 2 months ago.I recognised so many features from this film.I visited the war tunnels and the ops room depicted in this film as well as the citadel.The film was a fairly faithful depiction of events.It is a pity they decided to include a silly love story.Alec Guineas is woefully miscast as an RAF pilot.
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1/10
Tally Ho Trash!
sogs3 January 2007
Another British cinema flag waver. Real garbage on offer here once again. I cannot understand (and I am British) why this over the top, patriotic nonsense was ever made. EIGHT years mark you, from when the second world war had actually ended! Other commenter's here have remarked on the editing and apparent seamless use of archive footage. This is extremely poorly observed. The archive footage is in abundance. Model aircraft swing from wires in the 'action scenes' like so many children's kites in the wind. The usual map room sequences tattoo the movie to make us supposedly drawn into the whole Malta event. Guinness must have his worst acting performance ever. The shocking back drop dog fight scenes are laughable. Hawkins bores us all to death in the map room area. Ealing made many great movies. This clearly is not one of them. They should have stayed away from such unconvincing rot!
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7/10
Above average war movie
info-59182 June 2017
The plight of Malta, just 58 miles from the Italians... with German air superiority and the Luftwaffe making 3000 attacks on the island... is shown well here in this 1953 movie. The filmmakers got access to real spitfires for the movie, and it was shot in Malta on location, 8 years after the war so there is still plenty of bombed out landscapes for some realistic visuals. While many movies use footage from the war, and splice it into the movie shot footage, it often doesn't match. Malta Story does a really good job of it matching. There are model shots of course, but they are pretty good for the time. And there are plenty of real shots of the spitfires, and plane wrecks. Overall, the gloom of a city under sieges, and the Brits realising they are in trouble, comes across quite well. On the down side, the sub plot of the maltese spy is a bit underexplored, and Sir Alec Guiness (who is a great actor) seems out of place and a bit distant. The rest of the cast, including Jack Hawkins, are great. Definitely worth a look for war film buffs.
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7/10
Superfluous sub-plot
SlaineII10 October 1999
Based on the events upto and around the awarding of the George >Cross to the population of Malta. This film follows the >standard, 'stiff upper lip', 'against all odds' British war film >indicative of the time. >It is not a fast moving action film by any means and at times >appears to have two plots running concurrently. The first, the >defence of the island, is average for this genre which is only >made notable by the excellent performances from Jack Hawkins and >Sir Alec Guinness. Jack Hawkins already showing the same >idiosyncrasies he did in the Bond Films but a young Alec >Guinness not quite reaching the hint of eccentricity he is so >famous for (in particular 'Bridge Over The River Kwai'). >The subplot, Peter Ross' romance with one of the Maltese women >almost seems as though it was placed in as an after thought >maybe to be historically accurate or as contrast to the death >and destruction implied by the rest of the film. In any case the >acting of Muriel Pavlow was frosty to say the least and could >have been cut out of the majority of the film without any >detraction from the plot! >It is a definite Sunday aftern
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7/10
The Stiff Upper Lip
James Hitchcock23 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Siege of Malta was one of the most heroic episodes of the Second World War. The fall of France and the entry of Italy into the war had turned much of the Mediterranean into an Axis lake, and yet the British forces and the Maltese people were able to defend this small island, less than sixty miles from the coast of Sicily, against repeated German and Italian air attacks. This successful defence, however, was mounted at a heavy cost in lives among the defending forces, among the civilian population and among the naval forces struggling to bring desperately needed supplies to the beleaguered island. The importance of Malta to the Allied war effort was that it could be used as a base from which the British could mount attacks on convoys bringing supplies to the Axis forces in North Africa.

This epic story, therefore, was a natural subject for one of those "how-we-won-the-war" films which were such a mainstay of the British cinema during the fifties, and this is the result. It does not deal with the whole of Malta's role in the war; there is, for example, no mention of the three famous Gloster Gladiator biplanes, "Faith, Hope and Charity" which defended the island in 1940. It deals with the climax of the siege in the summer and winter of 1942, the period of most intense aerial bombardment, and combines a semi-documentary approach with a fictional love story between an RAF pilot and a Maltese girl.

The Wikipedia entry for this film describes Alec Guinness as "cast against type". Now it is true that Guinness made surprisingly few war films for a British actor of his generation compared to contemporaries like John Mills or Kenneth More, but he was such a versatile actor that he didn't really have a "type"- in one film alone, "Kind Hearts and Coronets", he had played several different characters. An RAF pilot was just one more to add to his gallery of roles.

His character here, Flight Lieutenant Peter Ross, is an archaeologist in civilian life who has qualified as a pilot in order to photograph archaeological sites from the air. Because of this, he becomes an RAF photo reconnaissance pilot and is stranded in Malta en route to a posting in Egypt. The RAF in Malta are able to put his experience to good use and he plays a vital role in combating enemy attacks. He manages, however, to find enough spare time not only to explore the island's archaeological sites but also to romance a local girl, Maria.

A subplot deals with Maria's brother Giuseppe, who is arrested as an Italian spy. This subplot is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film, as it contains a relatively sympathetic portrayal of a Fascist sympathiser. Even though he knows that he faces execution as a traitor, Giuseppe does not attempt to deny that he is working for Italian intelligence or that he was attempting to obtain information which, had he succeeded, would have been of great assistance to the Axis forces. He is, however, depicted not as an evil character (as Axis sympathisers generally were in British movies) but as an honourable if misguided one. Giuseppe was partly based upon a real-life individual, Carmelo Borg Pisani, but there is a significant difference. Giuseppe is portrayed as being motivated by Maltese nationalism, whereas Pisani was not a nationalist but an advocate of the annexation of Malta by Fascist Italy.

The original script had a happy ending, with Peter surviving and marrying Maria. The producer J. Arthur Rank, however, was not satisfied and brought in Nigel Balchin to rewrite the script. In the film as actually made Peter dies heroically while on a mission to locate an Italian convoy taking vital supplies to Libya. Some have queried whether the style of acting exemplified here is in keeping with the overall tragic tone, but I have no problem with it. Since the sixties it has been fashionable to mock the so-called "stiff upper lip", but in wartime an attitude of "Keep Calm and Carry On" (to quote from that poster which has recently become such a cultural meme) was absolutely indispensable; without it British resolve would have crumbled. In war films like this one, therefore, the relatively restrained style of acting favoured by Guinness and his co-stars seems quite appropriate.

"Malta Story" is perhaps not the greatest of the many British war films from this period, and has certainly never achieved the popularity of something like "The Dambusters". It is, however, a well-made example of the genre with some well-realised (by the standards of the period) recreations of aerial combat, and helps to keep alive a story which, though proudly remembered in Malta itself, is often overlooked in Britain. 7/10
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7/10
Solid
Neil Welch24 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Aerial photographer Peter Ross, en route to Cairo, becomes stranded on Malta when his aircraft is destroyed in a bombing raid. He is recruited by the local RAF to photograph strategic locations of enemy forces in Sicily and the Mediterranean. He meets and falls in love with a Maltese girl and, through her, becomes aware of the privations suffered by the Maltese through constant air raids and attrition of the convoys bringing supplies to relieve the siege conditions.

My grandfather was on the Malta convoys, and I have holidayed on Malta, so this 1953 film starring Alec Guinness as Ross was of interest to me. The documentary nature of much of the film (there is much footage of actual air raids on Malta, for instance), is interwoven with the fictional romance and a lot of Maltese location footage, and the whole works quite well.

The acting is somewhat stiff and mannered, which is fairly typical of the period, with Jack Hawkins doing best. Flora Robson and the lovely Muriel Pavlow are required to do dodgy accents intended to be Maltese, and there are occasional highly unconvincing model shots.

On the whole, though, the film engages and gives a good idea of the major contribution Malta made to the Allied victory in the Mediterranean theatre, and the price the Maltese paid for it.
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9/10
A classic British war movie
stuartrobb29 June 2015
To some it may be a dull black and white old style war yarn, but we need to remember that people waited outside the local cinema to enjoy movies like this, and believe me they were entertained.

It's a well told story about a little clump of land in the middle of the sea and the people on it that probably prevented Rommels Panzer Army from running amok throughout North Africa.

So watch it in all it CGI(less), special effects(less) glory and enjoy it for what it is.

Hell, you might even want to watch some more (The desert rats, Ice cool in Alex, The desert fox, the Dunkirk story, god I could go on for ages).
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