Friday, June 25, 2010

Horton's Guide to Britain's Railways in Feature Films

This book, purchased on my recent visit to the Great Central Railway in Loughborough, has revolutionised my appreciation of films.

Take my last two discs from LoveFilm.

Thanks to Horton, I knew that Murder She Said - Margaret Rutherford's first outing as Miss Marple, which is treated as a social comedy as much as a murder mystery - would feature all sorts of footage of steam trains. Hardly surprising, as it is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington.

But most interesting of all:
NB D600-type "Warship" diesel No D603 passes on an express - medium shot. This is the best shot in the film and so far the only known appearance of one of these short-lived diesels in a feature film.
And I have also watched The Innocents, Jack Clayton's superlative adaptation of Henry James' ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Thanks to Christopher Freeling's commentary, I know that this film was influenced by Benjamin Britten's opera - John Piper did designs for both works.

But it is from Horton I learn that the film
Includes a nice shot of a train arriving at Horsted Keynes station on the Bluebell Railway with SR "birdcage" coaches but no loco (out of shot). This is believed to be the first occasion when a feature film was shot on the Bluebell, or indeed on any standard gauge preserved line.
Magnificent stuff. Now to watch Blow-Up and look for the "green SR two-car suburban EMU" that features near the beginning.


Wartime Housewife said...

When is Horsted Keynes NOT used for railway shots. Not complaining mind you.

Jonathan Calder said...

Horton records 35 films with scenes shot on the Bluebell, but The Innocents was the first.