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Titfield Thunderbolt - 60th Anniversary Collector's Edition  [Blu-ray]
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A comical and delightful tale of community spirit, written by celebrated Ealing regular and Academy Award Winner T.E.B. Clarke (The Lavender Hill Mob, Barnacle Bill), directed by Charles Crichton (A Fish Called Wanda, The Lavender Hill Mob) and celebrating its 60th Anniversary, The Titfield Thunderbolt has been expertly digitally restored* from the much loved Golden Age of the Ealing Comedies.
When British Railways announce the closure of the Titfield to Mallingford branch line, a group of local village residents make a bid to run it themselves, backed by a monied member of the community who is attracted by the complete lack of licensing hours on trains. Unfortunately this puts them into direct competition with the local bus company.
- Making the Titfield Thunderbolt
- Douglas Slocombe Home Movie Footage
- The Lion Locomotive Featurette
- Locations Featurette
- Stills Gallery
- Restoration comparison
- Douglas Slocombe on Charles Crichton audio interview
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
The Titfield Thunderbolt however continues to be one of my all time favourite British productions. It is an incredibly well rounded movie, reflecting just about everything that made post-war Britain such an exciting time in a new decade of economy and industry. Recorded are the portraits of unspoilt country landscapes, beaming in vibrant greens and pastel blue skies, with landmarks that many viewers have made efforts to compare to today. The movie also celebrates our bond with steam locomotives and the majesty of seeing them chuff down quiet rails - something that as a child, I was absorbed in.
Of course, the story itself does not disappoint. We witness a community of people that want nothing more than to save their local railway, and in typical circumstances, their efforts become almost outlandish. It is silly, but never over-the-top.
Studio Canal sourced dupe-negatives for this Blu-ray release, though the quality is that good that I can't imagine the actual camera negatives fairing much better in 1080p. It is a lovely video restoration that demonstrates a significant from past DVD's, particularly in the colour grading. It looks filmic now.
In short, Thunderbolt looks fantastic on Blu-ray, though I do wish the extra features were more extensive.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A window into our past before Dr Beeching wielded his axe & left us in the state we are in now. Typically british & all the better for it, the perfect sunday afternoon film for all... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Gillette 1970
When this film starts, you're like, "What? What on Earth is this weird thing that I've made the mistake of watching?" But PLEASE do bear with it, because it picks up! Read morePublished 6 days ago by Arron Munro
Ealing Comedies never go out of date. It depends on ones sense of humour of course, but Titfield Thunderbolt and comedies like it are classic. Long may they be available!Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
A right little smasher of a film,camera work fantastic for its time,arrived well packed and well before time,to be recomended as well as the sender ,thanks,MikePublished 29 days ago by mike privett
Classic Ealing Comedy style - funny, charming, evocative, perfectly cast.Published 1 month ago by MR C HARDING