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First films shot in Malta set to be screened

The Malta Film Commission has acquired screening rights for the earliest four films  shot in Malta.

The agreement was reached with the British Film Institute.

The first feature film to be partially shot in Malta was Sons of the Sea in 1925. The presence of the Admiralty in Malta was the main factor which led to the shooting in Malta of this and three other films in the inter-war period.

The four films are:

Sons of the Sea (1925) - Silent

Sons of the Sea is the fictional story of two young men, who enrol in the Navy. Only four out of the original six reels survive today. The last two reels were completely shot on land and sea in the Għajn Tuffieħa and Ġnejna area. Malta, in this segment, is used to stand in for an unnamed island in the Eastern Mediterranean. Il-Qarraba is clearly visible a number of times and most of the action in the climatic ending takes place in the area known as il-Minżel tal-Majjiesa.

The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands (1927) - Silent

The Battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands was part of a series of World War One reconstructions made by Walter Summers for British Instructional Films. Whilst these were not direct government propaganda they were certainly patriotic and this film in particular was made with the full co-operation of the British Admiralty. Having cost £18,000 to make, it went on to gross £70,000 in the United Kingdom alone. Filmed in the sea surrounding Malta on a number of ships stationed here, it resulted in the film company further discovering the unique film locations offered by Malta at the time leading to the next film having most exterior scenes shot here.

The Marquis of Bolibar (1928) - Silent

Set in Spain in 1812 during Napoleon's Peninsular Campaign, the story follows the Marquis of Bolibar who after being driven from his home by the French invaders, conspires with the Spanish rebels to re-enter his town. Claimed to have used 1000 Maltese extras, Bolibar's exterior shots made excellent use of both Mdina and Ħaż-Żebbuġ to re-create the Spanish town. Bolibar is set to fascinate Maltese audiences once again with nostalgic views of 1920s Malta as well as a very intriguing story directed by Walter Summers and starring the 1920s and 1930s icon Elissa Landi.

Tell England (1931)

Directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Fay Compton, Tony Bruce and Carl Harbord, Tell England is based on the homonymous novel by Ernest Raymond which featured two young men joining the army, and taking part in the fighting at Gallipoli. The director's father Herbert Asquith was Prime Minister at the time of the Gallipoli Landings, a fact which drew much press attention to the film. Filming in Malta took place at Għajn Tuffieħa, Mġiebaħ and Marsaxlokk where the tragic scenes of the landings at Gallipoli where filmed.

The Malta Film Commission said that in the coming weeks it will be organising special free screenings for each film. Interested individuals who wish to be kept up-to-date with the details of each screening should contact the Malta Film Commission on [email protected]

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