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The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

A lot of the documents have been sent to me or have come from other web sites. The name of the web site is given where known. If I have unintentionally included an image or document that is copyrighted or that I shouldn't have done then please email me and I'll remove it.

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A Page for Trainspotters

There aren't many trains or stations in P&P films but here is a list of the ones we know about

Emil and the Detectives (1931)
(Co-scripted by Emeric)
None of us have seen the 1931 German version but people have read the book and seen the English versions of the film
As in the original Emil and the Detectives, there is the long sequence where he is met and drugged by The Man In The Bowler Hat on the train - in the British version, from Kent to London Bridge (though he should have met Grandma and Polly at Charing Cross) on the old Southern Railway, starting on the Sevenoaks line near Pluckley....too much detail???
* Thanks Mark

The Phantom Light (1935)
(Powell quota quicky)
The lighthouse keeper, Gordon Harker, arrives at a Welsh railway station to tend the local light. The opening scenes (about eight minutes in length) show chief lighthouse keeper Sam Higgins (Gordon Harker) arriving by train at Tan y Bwlch Station, where he meets Alice Bright (Binnie Hale). This was filmed in Autumn 1934, featuring a train hauled by Taliesin II, driven by Tom Davies. It is reported (FRM 116, Spring 1987, p.6) that he recalled a second train being used to film the Fairlie from the front, perhaps Welsh Pony and two bogie wagons, but there is no such footage in the finished film; however the opening, at Garnedd Tunnel, could well have been shot this way. Filming featured various locations above and below Tan y Bwlch, and there is no attempt at continuity in terms of an Up or Down journey. See Festiniog Railway Heritage Group for pics of the train.

Her Last Affaire (1936)
There is a lengthy shot of the entrance to Waterloo Station onto York Road (the main one with the war memorial that now goes down into the complicated network of South Bank tunnels but that once was the main Waterloo exit)
* Thanks Nicky

Contraband (1940)
Capt Andersen & Mrs Sorensen (and Mr Pidgeon) arrive at a London terminus by train in the blackout
* Thanks Nick

49th Parallel (1941)
The Nazis take a train as part of their trip across Canada
Lt Hirth makes his final bid for freedom on a goods train crossing into America by the Niagara Falls. But then he meets Andy Brock

A Canterbury Tale (1944)
In the introduction we see the train ("the road of steel") running along the valley
The pilgrims arrive at Chillingbourne station in the dark
At the end of the weekend they leave Chillingbourne and arrive in Canterbury (at Canterbury West station)

Hylton Holt identifies the loco arriving at Canterbury West where you see the locoman walking along the footplate as a South East and Chatham Class H 0-4-4 Tank - you can see the number so I can confirm this.

"The road of steel", and the later signalbox scene, both look like Southern Railway Class L1 4-4-0s.

The night time scene at "Chillingbourne" is a very badly mocked up studio job - railway engines just don't look like that, neither do they spout out sparks from their chimneys! A gricer speaks!

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1945)
When Theo is being sent home after his spell in the POW camp he calls Clive from a railway station (Victoria?) and then, after the dinner, he talks to the other Germans on the train on the way home
* Thanks Nicky
However, these are probably all really done in the studio

I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)
Joan says goodbye to her father and travels by train from Manchester to Glasgow where she changes and gets another train to the north of Glasgow (all station scenes done in the studio)

The train rushing towards the tartan hills is a model but Hylton Holt has identified the real train that we see shortly afterwards as being pulled by Perth's then new LMS "Black Five" 4-6-0 No. 5497. It's on the line from Glasgow to Oban and is approaching Taynuilt with Ben Cruachan in the background.

The Red Shoes (1948)
There is a train leving from a London station for the Ballet Lermontov's european tour and the farewell at Gare de Lyon, Paris when Irina (Ludmilla Tchérina) leaves the company. There is also quite a lot that happens at Monte Carlo station.
There's also a train involved in the dramatic ending.

The Small Back Room (1949)
Sammy arrives at Abbotsbury Station (now defunct) to sort out the booby trapped device at Chesil beach

The Boy Who Turned Yellow (1972)
The boy turns yellow on a London underground train Everything in an area of London is turned yellow - including the tube train, the passengers & staff

Can anyone think of any other trains or stations in the films?
If you can help me identify any of the trains, locos or stations that'd be a help as well. Please email me.

Other transports of delight

Other P&P reviews