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Black Five: The Last Days of Steam DVD

Paul Barnes, 1968


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1 Review // 3 Lists

Film Details

Directed by Paul Barnes

Produced in 1968

Main Language - English

Countries & Regions - British Film

MovieMail's Review

A set of three films marking the 40th anniversary of the last steam journey on Britain’s mainline railways. Black Five is a nostalgic tribute to the engine of the same name, with railwaymen’s reminiscenses accompanying evocative scenes of its craftsmanship and engineering in action. The Painter and the Engines is even more atmospheric, as painter David Shepherd, known for his scenes of African wildlife, goes down to the Nine Elms locomotive sheds to capture the last days of steam on the southern railways. The soot and grime of the sheds makes it into his paintings, and as Shepherd races to record what he can on canvas of the “simmering, sooted giants”, the editing gets sharper and the film greedily fills its last frames with as many steam trains as it can. The final film, King George V, tells the history of that celebrated locomotive, from clips of it at 1927 Fair of the Iron Horse in America to its 1970 home on Bulmers’ sidings in Hereford, “waiting for the day that BR’s policy may change, to permit steam to return to the tracks.”

Anonymous on 7th February 2008
Author of 299 reviews

Film Description

Three films about the final days of steam on British Railways.

Black Five (Paul Barnes, 1968): Made during the last months of steam on British Railways, this film captures the reactions of the men who worked the Black Five, the most common engines in the North West of England. Also featured is Carnforth where 'Brief Encounter' had been filmed more than twenty years earlier.

The Painter and the Engines (Paul Barnes, 1967): The painter David Shepherd’s race against time to record on canvas the magic and romance of steam during the locomotives’ last weeks in South London’s Nine Elms sheds.

King George V (Paul Barnes, 1970): The history of the celebrated locomotive, the King George V, which was taken out of service in 1965, but offered a length of siding at Bulmers of Hereford to continue running, on steam.

DVD Details

Certificate: E

Publisher: BFI

Length: 53 mins

Aspect ratio: 4:3

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 28th July 2008

Cat No: BFIVD778

Subtitles: English

DVD Extras

  • Illustrated booklet

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