6.5/10
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23 user 8 critic

Malta Story (1953)

In World War II, the island of Malta, strategically located and vital to supply lines in the Mediterranean Sea, is fiercely attacked by the Germans, but staunchly defended by the British.

Writers:

Thorold Dickinson (idea), Peter De Sarigny (idea) (as Peter de Sarigny) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Alec Guinness ... Flight Lt. Peter Ross
Jack Hawkins ... Air CO Frank
Anthony Steel ... Wing Cmdr Bartlett
Muriel Pavlow ... Maria Gonzar
Renée Asherson ... Joan Rivers (as Renee Asherson)
Hugh Burden ... Eden, Security
Nigel Stock ... Giuseppe Gonzar aka Ricardi
Reginald Tate Reginald Tate ... Vice Adm Payne
Ralph Truman Ralph Truman ... Vice Adm Willie Banks
Flora Robson ... Melita Gonzar, Maria's Mum
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Storyline

In 1942, Britain was clinging to the island of Malta since it was critical to keeping Allied supply lines open. The Axis also wanted it for their own supply lines. Plenty of realistic reenactments and archival combat footage as the British are beseiged and try to fight off the Luftwaffe. Against this background, a Royal Air Force reconnaissance photographer's romance with a local girl is endangered as he tries to plot enemy movements. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

NOW ! Another Great Performance in the ALEC GUINNESS Hall of Fame ! ...

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 August 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Ilha Heróica See more »

Filming Locations:

Malta See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Uncredited theatrical movie debut of Lee Patterson (Officer on Back of Truck). See more »

Goofs

The Spitfires that arrive on Malta in the early part of the film are low back models with teardrop canopies, which were not in wide spread service in 1942, when the film is set. See more »

Quotes

Maria Gonzar: Peter?
Flight Lt. Peter Ross: Yes?
Maria Gonzar: Do you think they will come?
Flight Lt. Peter Ross: Who? The Germans? I shouldn't think so.
Maria Gonzar: Why not. They have many more planes. There's not much to stop them.
Flight Lt. Peter Ross: I don't think things happen like that, do they?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: MALTA 1942 See more »

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User Reviews

Stirring from both land and air...
3 April 2003 | by gleywongSee all my reviews

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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