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Before we visited Malta's World War II Shelters in Mellieha, I made my mum and little sister watch The Malta Story (1953). Mike and I first discovered this film through a WWII plane enthusiast friend, and it makes visits to Malta's War Museum and WWII Shelters so much more rich.
There is something magical about seeing Malta on film that is difficult to put into words. While we were planning our move to Malta back in 2009, we would sit in our funny little apartment in Halifax (you can see it in my very first blog post) and watch the two House Hunters International episodes we had on our PVR over and over and over (they were filmed in Malta a few years before ours). We would pause the show at every frame and point out all the places we recognized: the houses, shops, beaches. Since then we've watched other movies and shows filmed in Malta: The Count of Monte Cristo, Agora, Alexander, Gladiator, The Game of Thrones Season 1.
But I've only cried once, and it was during The Malta Story.
The film incorporates real wartime footage of air raids on Malta, and it is heartbreaking to see the destruction of Malta's architecture, cities, and lives on screen. As a result of the Seige of Malta (1940-1942) Malta was one of the most intensively bombed areas in all of Europe during WWII. The film also draws out the complexity of the Maltese situation during WWII: the starvation, the alliances, the treason and danger. It is easy to see how the Maltese sided with the British, but how many would have felt drawn to the Italians, if for no other reason than to put a stop to the destruction of their home.
If you are preparing for a move or visit to Malta, or if you enjoy the odd historical black and white film, see The Malta Story. (If for no other reason than to catch a glimpse of a much younger version of Obi Wan Kenobi!)
excerpts from the film
p.s. I'm also smitten with all the accents in the movie. Aren't they lovely?