Taking Action

Amos Lassen

The inhabitants of Titfield attempt to prove that their single-track railway is the only form of transport for the village. The villains, Crump and Pearce are two unsavory characters who have introduced a smart brand new single-decker bus to Titfield. They own the bus company and are determined to stop the running of the Titfield train in any way that they can..

The feisty, lovable residents of a small English West Country village take direct action when their ancient local rail line faces heartless government closure to rescue it by running it themselves and in doing so they face competition with the bus company. Director Charles Crichton’s 1953 comedy gem depicts the  ancient, antique values of the old and the quaint. This is old-fashioned entertainment from a bygone era. Even if it is essentially conservative and reactionary, it’s very warm hearted and good spirited, as well as being a pro-people film, and this is what shines here. The conservative political message comes over loud and clear, but it’s subtly and appealingly stated.

The rural England of the film is one in which the old ‘natural order’ is restored, with leadership of the countryside back in the hands of the country squire and the vicar, to the satisfaction of all. The climax comes when the villagers are allowed to run the railway themselves – precisely because their antique steam engine is so slow that it doesn’t meet safety regulations.

The film stars Stanley Holloway, George Relph, Naunton Wayne and John Gregson who all excellent. They are supported by an outstanding cast including Godfrey Tearle, Hugh Griffith, Sidney James, Edie Martin, Gabrielle Brune, Jack MacGowran, Ewan Roberts, Reginald Beckwith, Michael Trubshawe and Wensley Pithey.

“The Ttfield Thunderbolt” celebrates the initiative and local cooperation that is able to overcome numerous challenges despite their various eccentricities.

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