🎥 The Titfield Thunderbolt – 1953
The Story …
The residents of the village of Titfield are shocked to learn that their railway branch line to the town of Mallingford is to be closed.
Sam Weech, the local vicar and a railway enthusiast, and Gordon Chesterford, the village squire, decide to take over the line by setting up a company through a Light Railway Order.
On securing financial backing from Walter Valentine, a wealthy man with a fondness for daily drinking, the men learn that the Ministry of Transport will allow them a month’s trial period, after which they must pass an inspection to make the Order permanent …
Weech is helped by Chesterford and retired track layer Dan Taylor to run the train and volunteers from the village to operate the station.
Bus operators Alec Pearce and Vernon Crump, who bitterly oppose the idea and wish to set up a bus line between Titfield and Mallingford, attempt to sabotage the plans. Aided by Harry Hawkins, a steam roller operator who hates the railway, Crump and Pearce attempt to block the line on its first run and sabotage the line’s water tower but are thwarted by Weech and the line’s supportive passengers.
After Chesterford refuses to accept a merger offer from them, Crump and Pearce hire Hawkins to help them derail the steam locomotive and passenger coach lent to the villagers by British Railways, the night before the line’s inspection. Blakeworth, the town clerk of Mallingford, is mistakenly arrested despite trying to stop the attempt, and the villagers become disheartened that their line will now close without any rolling stock and working steam locomotive.
Valentine visits Taylor, who suggests that they borrow a locomotive from Mallingford’s rail yards. Despite being both drunk, they manage to acquire one but accidentally crash it after they’re spotted taking it. Both men are promptly arrested by the police as a result. Meanwhile, Weech is inspired by a picture of the line’s first locomotive, the Thunderbolt, which is now housed in the Mallingford Town Hall museum.
Upon securing Blakeworth’s release, he helps them to acquire the locomotive for the branch line. To complete their new train, the villagers use Taylor’s home, an old railway carriage body, hastily strapped to a flat wagon. In the morning, Pearce and Crump drive to the village to prepare to take passengers but are shocked to see the train waiting at the station.
Distracted from his driving, Pearce crashes the bus into the police van transporting Valentine and Taylor, and when Crump lets slip that they have been involved in sabotaging the line they are promptly arrested …
The story unfolds …
- Directed by : Charles Crichton
- Written by : T.E.B. Clarke
- Produced by : Michael Truman
- Cinematography : Douglas Slocombe
- Edited by : Seth Holt
- Music by : Georges Auric
- Colour Process : Technicolor
- Production Company : Ealing Studios
- Distributed by : General Film Distributors (UK)
- Release Dates : 5 March 1953
- Stanley Holloway as Walter Valentine
- George Relph as Vicar Sam Weech
- Naunton Wayne as George Blakeworth
- John Gregson as Squire Gordon Chesterford
- Godfrey Tearle as Ollie Matthews, the Bishop of Welchester
- Hugh Griffith as Dan Taylor
- Gabrielle Brune as Joan Hampton
- Sid James as Harry Hawkins
- Reginald Beckwith as Coggett
- Edie Martin as Emily
- Michael Trubshawe as Ruddock
- Jack MacGowran as Vernon Crump
- Ewan Roberts as Alec Pearce
- Herbert C. Walton as Seth
- John Rudling as Clegg
- Nancy O’Neil as Mrs Blakeworth
- Campbell Singer as Police Sergeant
- Frank Atkinson as Station Sergeant
- Wensley Pithey as Policeman
Film Information Source :
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