Review: ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’

Titfield is a small English village which gets worked up when the government decides to close the unprofitable branch railway line. The vicar and the squire are both railway enthusiasts and are heartbroken at the news. The only ones cheered by the decision are the partners of a transport company who can see big profits by organizing a bus service. The railway enthusiasts, however, persuade the village tippler to provide the cash by telling him he will be able to start drinking far earlier if they install a buffet car on the train.

Titfield is a small English village which gets worked up when the government decides to close the unprofitable branch railway line. The vicar and the squire are both railway enthusiasts and are heartbroken at the news. The only ones cheered by the decision are the partners of a transport company who can see big profits by organizing a bus service. The railway enthusiasts, however, persuade the village tippler to provide the cash by telling him he will be able to start drinking far earlier if they install a buffet car on the train.

The Thunderbolt is the railway engine involved in the story. Once the basic situation is accepted, the entire yarn concentrates on the feuding between the rival factions with the opposition stopping at nothing to block the train service.

Stanley Holloway gives a polished performance as the village soak. George Relph does a fine job as the vicar, Naunton Wayne’s contribution as the town clerk is in typical vein while John Gregson does nicely as the earnest squire. A gem from Godfrey Tearle as the bishop and a powerful performance by Hugh Griffith are among the strong characterizations.

The Titfield Thunderbolt

UK

Production

Ealing. Director Charles Crichton; Producer Michael Truman; Screenplay T.E.B. Clarke; Camera Douglas Slocombe; Editor Seth Holt; Music Georges Auric; Art Director C.P. Norman

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Stanley Holloway George Relph Naunton Wayne John Gregson Godfrey Tearle Hugh Griffith
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