Alec Guinness was generally in a great run of comedies for Ealing Studios when he made this venture into war torn drama with a love interest thrown in for good measure and although the film isn’t bad, his role doesn’t really offer that much in the way of dramatics. Our hero is a downed reconnaissance pilot on the island of Malta where he is then assigned to the military corp stationed there led by one of the great voices/actors of British cinema, Jack Hawkins. From there we get plenty of great aerial stock footage from WW2 mixed in with miniatures and Guinness in a cockpit flying his missions over enemy seas. Brian Desmond Hurst, the man who gave us the Alastair Sim Christmas Carol classic does a fine job here with some eyeopening on location filming as the ruins are still scattered about 8 years after the end of the war. Muriel Pavlow as local girl Maria seems authentic as Guinness’ love interest he meets while stationed on Malta. As for Mr. Hawkins it’s always a pleasure to see him give us that concerned look he had down to perfection.
Guinness and Hawkins made a total of 4 films together including The Prisoner and 2 stunning classics, Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Alec would of course move on to appear in many successful films and remain in demand into the 1980’s having his likeness sold world wide on action figures whereas Hawkins star began to fade in the sixties. He soldiered on despite developing cancer robbing him of his wonderful voice before passing away in 1973. Rounding out the cast are some familiar names including Flora Robson as Maria’s mother, Gordon Jackson, Geoffrey Keen and Anthony Steel. British cinema seemed to specialize in these WW2 saga’s for quite some time following the end of the second world war and although this may not be the best they had to offer us it’s diverting enough to keep us interested.