This is a rather quaint and warm-hearted tale about a community who decide to privatise their local railway line to keep it open after the British Railway Service announce plans to close it. Instead of allowing to die out, a group of them band together to run it themselves; a plan which is greatly helped by a generous donation from a local millionaire.
The film is a jolly and mildly amusing affair, particularly when some pantomime rivalry reaches rather ridiculous levels due to a competing local bus company who plan to derail the railway project.
Though the film’s dated messages and clumsy satire may feel a little uneven with a new, youthful viewing audience, there is still much to enjoy. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, who went on to shoot the Indian Jones movies, offers beautiful vistas of the English countryside, and the colourful glow his photography lends the whole thing a light and enjoyable feel.
Though it isn’t Ealing Studios most successful attempt at gentle comedy , this new 60th Anniversary edition boasts what may well be the best restoration StudioCanal have offered the British public. Remastered at Pinewood Studios, then transferred onto blu-ray disc in 1080p from a 2K scan, this is the definitive edition and far surpasses any previous DVD versions. Gorgeous doesn’t even cover it.
The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), directed by Charles Crichton, is released on Blu-ray disc by StudioCanal, Certificate U.