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The residents of a small English village are about to lose their ancient railroad. They decide to rescue it by running it themselves, in competition with the local bus company. Written by
Blair Stannard <email@example.com>
Writer T.E.B. Clarke was a neighbor of Richard Beeching, then Director of ICI, at the time of filming. Beeching's 1963 report "The Re-shaping of British Railways" resulted in the wholesale closure of many branch lines like the one portrayed in the movie. See more »
When Dan Walker is handcuffed and on the platform looking at his house-coach he has no pipe. As soon as he enters his house-coach he has his pipe in his mouth. See more »
Do you know what time it is?
Yes, my love: summer double time.
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I'll tell you- when you finished seeing an Ealing comedy, you walked out of there with a little spring in your step. This one is a tale of the lovely English village of Titfield, and its close-knit residents who are suddenly faced with losing a piece of their history. The distant authorities have planned the imminent abandonment of their historic branch-line railway, which had been built by a forefather of the village rector. The community protests, but the die seems to have been cast, and the clash of wills intensifies. The "Thunderbolt" of the title is the railway's original locomotive, which is eventually pulled from its graceful museum retirement, fired up, and pressed back into service by the desperate villagers. Heady material, indeed. Now, this could have been a cardboard, slapstick farce.... but Ealing always did things right. We feel the residents' deep sense of impending community loss as they work together against time to stave off the forces of apathy and of mercenary gain aligned against them. That means, of course, we'll be sharing their final trump over all the bad guys and naysayers. (Come on, you knew they'd win.) Are there really places like Titfield out there? (Or Bedford Falls, or the other stick-together hometowns that Frank Capra would tell us of?) At least we can all become honorary citizens for an hour or two. And I've revisited Titfield many times. Highly recommended to all.
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