THE INNOCENTS

GB
1961
1hr 40mins
Dir: Jack Clayton
Starring: Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave

A governess at a lonely house suspects that her charges are possessed by the dead

This supernatural Gothic horror is based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. It includes a nice shot of a train arriving at Horsted Keynes station on the Bluebell Railway with Southern Railway ‘birdcage’ coaches visible but no locomotive. However, in the background of one shot we do see one of the line’s ex-SECR P Class 0-6-0Ts in the distance. This is believed to be the first occasion that the Bluebell Railway, or indeed any other preserved standard gauge line was used in a feature film. This was a full seven years before BR main line steam was abolished.

As Martin Stephens looks out of the window, the guard hangs onto his door as the train pulls into Sheffield Park station sometime in 1961. The station had been in the hands of the preservationists since closure in 1958 and had reopened as part of the privately-owned Bluebell Railway in August 1960. One of the line’s first locomotives in the form of a P Class tank loco is in the background.
Was this the first time that the preservation movement recreated the arrival of a train? By a cruel twist of irony it is spot on historically as the line had been operated by BR only three years earlier!!