- Actors: Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne, John Gregson, Godfrey Tearle
- Directors: Charles Crichton
- Writers: T.E.B. Clarke
- Producers: Michael Balcon, Michael Truman
- Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Mono
- Language: English
- 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: Warner Bros.
- DVD Release Date: 21 Jun. 2004
- Run Time: 80 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0002HSDCI
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,706 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Titfield Thunderbolt [DVD] 
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Classic Ealing comedy about a group of villagers who, angered by British Rail's decision to close down their local branch line, make a bid to run the service themselves, making use of an antique locomotive liberated from a local museum.
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 alternate DVD edition.
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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
Extremely disappointed in the quality. Starts off poorly with shaky titles and things don't get better. Colour is lacklustre and definition poor. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Hardy
What a lovely film. A great feeling of innocence for a time long gone.Published 1 month ago by Paul
One of them good old films worth a place in anybody's collection , even more so if you are a steam train fan.Published 1 month ago by Rockon