The Malta Story is a curiously uninvolved account of the strategic Malta base in World War II and the role it and its people played in defeating the Axis powers. The main culprit is the screenplay, which, while not exactly hackneyed, is also not exactly bursting with originality. Its bigger flaw, however, is that this potentially exciting and engrossing story comes across as rather bland. Brian Desmond Hurst's so-so direction is also partly to blame, although he (with the very able assistance of cinematographer Robert Krasker) does make many of the action sequences come alive. Krasker's work is excellent throughout, with sun-drenched outdoor shots and some stunning aerial work. The cast is certainly capable, although they seem to have been hemmed in somewhat by the limitations of the script and the unwillingness of the director to explore interesting approaches. Still, Alec Guinness can always be counted on to provide at least a few good moments, and he delivers here. Even better is Flora Robson, whose solid work is more difficult than it may seem. She helps to make up for Muriel Pavlow's flat and Jack Hawkins' stiff performances.
by Craig Butler review