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The Titfield Thunderbolt [DVD]

Stanley Holloway , George Relph , Charles Crichton    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
Price: £19.99
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Frequently Bought Together

The Titfield Thunderbolt [DVD] + Whisky Galore - Digitally Restored (80 Years of Ealing) [DVD] [1949] + The Best Of Ealing Box Set [DVD]
Price For All Three: £44.57

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Product details

  • Actors: Stanley Holloway, George Relph, John Gregson, Naunton Wayne, Godfrey Tearle
  • Directors: Charles Crichton
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Ealing studios
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Nov 2006
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I5XNIS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,501 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



This second collection of Ealing Comedy, while not quite as important a reissue as the first box, is nonetheless essential viewing for all aficionados of classic English film. In Passport to Pimlico a group of Londoners demonstrate, paradoxically, their Englishness by eccentrically choosing the Burgundian citizenship granted them by a rediscovered medieval charter. Similarly, in The Titfield Thunderbolt neighbours outraged by the closing of their local branch line steal an antique locomotive from the museum and run their own railway. A similar sense of taking charge of your own life fills Hue and Cry as a group of boys, infuriated that crooks have been using their favourite comic to send messages, summon scores of others by radio to help them track down and capture the gang.

There are shared themes here, a shared sense of the importance of eccentricity and imagination to a healthy society as well as excellent ensemble acting from casts that include Stanley Holloway, Margaret Rutherford and Sid James. The box is filled out with a television documentary about the history of Ealing Studios. It covers its early silent days, the golden age that produced the classic comedies and such important films as The Cruel Sea, its time as a BBC studio and its possible renaissance under new management.

On the DVD: Ealing Comedy presents the three films and the documentary in 1.33:1 (i.e., 4:3), and has excellent mono sound that does full justice to both dialogue and scores. The extra features include introductions to the four films in the first box set by such luminaries as Terry Gilliam and Martin Scorsese as well as DVD-ROM files of the original brochures for all seven films. --Roz Kaveney

Product Description

When British Railways announces the closure of the Titfield Mallingford branch line, a group of local village residents make a bid to run it themselves

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
It's almost impossible for me to write a review of substance for The Titfield Thunderbolt, such is the love and unadulterated joy I have had with it for nigh on 40 years now. It was one of those magical moments in childhood when me, an obvious train set owner, caught this colourful {it was Ealing Studios first colour film} picture and took it all in like it was magic in a box. Of course back then I had no idea about the thematics of the picture, I just loved the train and the quirky characters that were making me laugh. But know here in a more modern age the film holds up better than most of its Ealing contemporaries, those themes back in the day are a reality. Villages are desperately clinging onto their identities, money mad conglomerates think nothing of heritage and the voice of the common man. And worst of all, the community spirit, the "tho shall not pass us" mentality has gone and in its place is fear and sadness.

Aye, I wonder if T.E.B. Clarke had any idea when he sat down to write The Titfield Thunderbolt, that he was not just writing a quaint story about villagers rising up to save their own Branch Line Railway. But that it would also be a freeze frame of a golden age in Britain, a snap-shot of a transport industry that was still 10 years away from being torn apart. I love The Titfield Thunderbolt like a family member, I really do. I can watch it now and it takes me away from this big old world that has gotten itself in one big hurry and strife. I laugh, I even weep tears of joy and I even get angry at the villains in the piece. It's the power of cinema in its truest form when a little village, a small train and some plucky courage in the rolling countryside can instill such emotions in a human being. 10/10
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All Steamed Up. 25 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
'We were only out to provide entertainment that would fill cinemas on a rainy afternoon in post-war Britain'. That's how T.E.B. Clarke writer of "The Titfield Thunderbolt" dismisses any suggestion that the film is a classic.

The story concerns a British rural railway line, serving a small village called Titfield. British Railways want to close the line down, because it runs at a loss. However, the local vicar (Relph), town clerk (Wayne) and landowner (Gregson) want to save it. The baddies, Pearce and Crump (MacGowran and Roberts), own the local coach and bus company and are therefore delighted to hear that the railway is to close: They even buy a brand new bus on the strength of the news!

With help from local money-bags, Mr Valentine (Holloway), the supporters of the railway manage to BUY the branch line!

The remainder of the film depicts the battle (by fair means and foul - mainly the latter) between the two competing modes of transport. This culminates in a spectacular train crash sequence (perhaps the best model sequence in any UK fifties movie) and then the retrieval, from a museum, of an ancient locomotive called "The Titfield Thunderbolt"

The film's writer, T.E.B. Clarke, may dismiss any suggestion of it being a classic, yet that's how it seems to many people like myself who weren't even born when it was made. To get under the skin of this apparent contradiction we have to look at the factors that came together to make the film special - and the subsequent events that gave it a continuing life.

Like many classic films, Titfield was a fusion of skill, personalities and luck.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A polished relic of a glorious age! 5 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Vintage Ealing comedy for trainspotters everywhere. When British Rail decides to rationalise the Titfield-Mallingford line out of existence,Villagers band together to run their own train. Eccentric Stanley Holloway puts up the cash so he can drink all day in the buffet car,The Reverend George Relph drives with visiting Bishop Godfrey Tearle stoking. But can the Thunderbolt be saved from devious local bus company bosses?
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel good at it's best 6 Jan 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This was the first of the Ealing Studios films that I ever saw, and it is one of my most favourites. True, the plot isn't as strong as the wonderful Lady Killers or Lavender Hill Mob, but the nostalgic scenery and images of a since long gone era make it the perfect film to watch on a cold winter afternoon. If this doesn't warm your heart, nothing will!
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ealing Power of Steam Trains! 20 Sep 2007
By David Lusher TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is one of my personal favourites from Ealing. The local railway line is threatened with closure (and replacement by a bus service). The village community decides to run the railway themselves, which causes the competing bus owners to engage in some underhand initiatives. This is the Britain of a bygone age, with gentle humour, steam trains, wonderful sunny British countryside and all in glorious colour! The casting is inspired, with lots of nice cameos (one of the best being Stanley Holloway as a boozy philanthropist who is encouraged to invest in the locally-run railway using the argument that he can have a licensed buffet car all day!). Good performances also from Hugh Griffith, John Gregson and Sid James. The enthusiasm of the local vicar for anything to do with steam trains is just wonderful to behold. Highly recommended!
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