Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Studio: British Film Institute
Region: Region 2
Released: 29 May 2006
Cat No: BFIVD720
Screen ratio 1:1.33
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British Transport Films (Vol 3): Running a Railway
Also available on DVD
Like the previous two releases in the British Transport Films series from the BFI, this third collection contains some real gems. There's I Am A Litter Basket (1959) in which the said object describes how he's left 'drooling at the mesh' and starving for want of the litter that gets thrown on the floor. The bins take matters into their own hands and head out to harass the public into using them. The Third Sam (1962) tells of a train driver newly introduced to electric trains and eventually using his nous to solve a problem. Recited by Stanley Holloway to piano accompaniment in a monologue akin to those of 'The Ramsbottoms', it's equally full of inspired rhyming. Then there's a beautiful print of John Schlesinger's Terminus, one of the most celebrated transport films, which is an impressionistic portrait of 24 hours in the life of Waterloo Station. It's a sprightly piece of work, beautifully edited together, and remains fresh after numerous viewings.
British Transport Films may have been conceived for staff training, or as PR films, but the sheer quality of their production means there are countless moments when the films transcend their status. In Farmer Moving South (1952), one of the farm lads on the snowy platform at night is photographed against the light, looking as if he is rimed with frost. Making Tracks (1956) started out as a training film on relaying track, but it's so beautifully framed and photographed, and put together with such joyful invention, with each operation fitted to a musical theme, that it, like many other films in the series, is also a beautiful film in its own right.