Malta Story Reviews
The ever focused Alec Guinness brings gravity to the film after it's slow start.
In the meantime, the situation becomes desperate. Many civilians are buried daily under the rubble, and famine is threatening their survival, as relief convoys become easy prey to the numerous attacks by air. Peter proposes marriage to Maria although they realise that wartime is not favourable to love affairs, as her mother suggests. Nevertheless the young couple remain hopeful of the future. In the meantime, Maria?s brother is arrested while trying to infiltrate the island from Italy, obviously on a spying mission, for which he will be executed (which is based on the real story of Carmelo Borg Pisani). Maria?s mother lives a double drama.
The island relies on the last few ships of a convoy for supplies. The scene of the heroic tanker SS Ohio (real footage) arriving half sunk in Valletta harbour is the apex of glory for the defenders and the island of Malta collectively receives the George Cross from Britain's King George VI.
The RAF holds on, and is eventually able to take the offensive, targeting enemy shipping on its way to Rommel in Libya. Many air raids take place either to defend the island with Spitfires or a number of torpedo planes, like the Beauforts, which succeed in sinking Italian tankers. There comes the moment when the most important enemy convoy is on its way to Libya under cover of poor visibility. Peter's commanding officer (Jack Hawkins) needs desperately to locate this target and orders him to find it at any cost. Peter, flying in his Spitfire, finally finds it, but has to stay close to keep contact. He is attacked by six Messerschmitt Bf 109Fs. Peter stays calm, but cannot escape his fate; he is shot down and killed, while Maria in the operations room listens helplessly to his radio broadcasts.