Malta Story

Courtesy of the BFI

In the Summer of 2010 Allan Esler Smith in conjunction with the Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti  and its arts journal ‘Treasures of Malta’ published ‘Malta Story (released 1953) – The Director’s Cut’.  The Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti collects and disseminates information to assist with research into the culture and historic heritage of Malta.  The movie as an art form?  Hurst’s film Malta Story was the first movie to be featured in ‘Treasures of Malta’.

The article is available to download and read, please click here

Brian returned to Malta in 1952 after a 37 year break. His previous visit was as a private with the 6th (Service) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles whilst in transit to Gallipoli (see First World War Section). Brian initially declined the offer to make Malta Story but was persuaded to make the film by his mentor John Ford. Brian was told it was right up his street.   

Malta Story is a gripping account of an island under siege and helps to show the courage of the people of Malta, the RAF, The Navy and Merchant Navy in surviving one of the most bombed places in the Second World War.

In addition to footage shot on the Island and in studios the film includes footage of actual dogfights and bombing from the Second World War that is neatly cut into the film. The entrance of the "Ohio" into the Harbour and the images and dialogue is possibly one of the finest tributes to the Merchant Navy that you will ever see in a film. Surely this is one of the top ten moments in British Second World War cinema?

Enroute to Cairo, Flight Lt. Peter Ross stops in Malta, where his plane is destroyed in an air-raid. As a result, he finds himself attached to a photographic reconnaissance unit on the embattled island.

As you will see when you watch the film, it is a desperate situation and the Island of Malta is dangerously short of all supplies. If Malta falls, the island will become a stepping stone for the German war machine. Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Anthony Steel star in this action packed film that vividly recounts one of World War Two's most important campaigns- the Malta Story.