The Titfield Thunderbolt Review

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Faced with the loss of their beloved railway, a local village rally together to help it compete against the rival bus company. With a motley crew now running the train, each with their own ideas, can they keep train company alive?


Though in pleasant colours and quite neatly presented by T.E.B Clarke on the railroad-vs.-stagecoach Western theme, this is one of the feebler and more obviously reactionary Ealings.

When a beloved branch line is threatened with closure, the squirearchy of a West Country village take over the railway and run it in competition with the fiendish bus company. With dotty person Relph fulfilling his engine driver fantasies, landowner Gregson as guard and rich old soak Holloway financing the enterprise because he can run an open-all-hours pub on the train, the consortium (aided by token low-class poacher-driver Hugh Griffith) see off the terrible threats to the British Way Of Life posed by nationalisation, rural bus services and licensing laws. Sid James drives a steam engine and Jack MacGowran whinges for the baddies.

One of the less popular Ealing Comedies at the time, it is now regarded as more of a classic, although the story has not aged as well as some of the Ealing films. The cast still do a good job, with Jack MacGowran putting in a good turn as the villain of the piece.