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The Railway Children (1970) [VHS]
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This adaptation of E. Nesbit's children's classic follows the fortunes of a group of Edwardian children whose father is wrongly jailed for treason. Exiled with their mother to a life of genteel poverty on the Yorkshire Moors, they are soon drawn to the railway at the bottom of the garden, and all kinds of adventures.
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Top Customer Reviews
The children's acting is extraordinarily good. Jenny Agutter shines in her first major film role and Sally Thomsett is the most natural child actor I've seen to date. The adults do a good job too with Bernard Cribbins at his best as the railway guy whose pride gets the better of him.
The DVD is fine but not great; there are no extras at all and the picture is a bit smudgy in the night-time scenes. It is however quite clear in the bright daytime scenes with no noticable grain.
The film is presented in 1.66:1 format (15:9) which is not wide enough for a 16:9 screen and leaves dark bands at the left and right. However, according to the Internet Movie Database this is exactly the format the film was made in so this is more a note than a complaint.
Notwithstanding the lack of extras on the DVD, the film is so good that I'd still advise you to buy it. If I had a time machine, I'd forget the future and I'd go back there, to a time when children waved at trains and got excited by a paper-chase.
The acting and the direction are first class, and the film is shot through with both extreme humour and beautifully moving moments. How hard-hearted would you need to be to fail to be moved by Roberta's birthday party, and not stifle a tear or a sob during the almost unbearable 'stop-motion' daughter and father reunion scene?
Whether "The Railway Children" can have an impact on children who have been raised on films such as "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life" is open to debate. But to deny them the opportunity of seeing such a genuinely enchanting piece of film-making is little short of a crime.
So often, we hear the phrase, "this is one to treasure"; in this case, it truly is. Buy it... NOW!
For me, picture quality is the most important aspect of a DVD or Blu-ray issue, and this Optimum Blu-ray is of high quality, and certainly an improvement on the DVD. The main benefit is sharpness; there really is an almost 3D quality (no, not the 3D with specs stuff which is currently the latest fad) in places. A great deal of the film was shot on location and some of the scenery shots draw you into them. Grass and leaves of trees can be difficult to reproduce, but here they are crystal clear. Details are generally clearer than the DVD and railway fans may well find this an essential purchase for this reason (I did). There is a little grain but not much. Colour in the outside, location, shots seems natural, although I did wonder about the colour balance of some of the studio shots. Nothing serious though. The sound is allegedly basic stereo, although listening via my TV I couldn't notice much in the way of stereo, just good clean mono. Overall, an excellent transfer.
Much of the film was shot on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire, and one of the Blu-ray extras, 'Now and Then- A Retrospective documentary on The Ralway Children', has some of the railway workers who appeared in the film giving their memories of the filming. The other extra, a series of interviews with some of the stars of the film, is pleasant enough, but you won't learn a great deal.
If you are interested in the making of the film, I strongly recommend the short booklet 'The Making of The Railway Children', ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have had this DVD since it first came out. and I also got the book when I was 9 in 1970! Having seen the screen version many times over the years, this DVD delivers on quality,... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Greg Chapman
Quite simply the greatest and most heart warming British children's film ever made. Enchanting performances from Jenny Agutter, Dinah Sheridan and Bernard Cribbins, and a deeply... Read morePublished 1 month ago by MR PETER J CULLEN