Dirs: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Starring: Eric Portman and Sheila Sim
An insane magistrate is unmasked by a land girl and a US soldier
This classic drama features a number of railway scenes in Kent including a distant shot of a Maunsell 2-6-0 and a rare shot of what is either a rebuilt Wainwright 4-4-0 or a similar Maunsell design passing Harbledown Junction signal box where the Elham Valley Line left the Canterbury West-Ashford line as it passed under the Faversham-Canterbury East line (on which the train is crossing). A distant train is also glimpsed passing through the countryside in the film’s opening sequence of montage shots. However, the main characters later take a train journey that sees them board a train at Selling (renamed Chillingbourne in the film) before arriving at Canterbury West behind ex-SECR H Class 0-4-4T No.1306, and this scene is packed with interest. When most rail journeys of the time were depicted using mock-ups and studio sets this particular journey appears to use real footage, albeit slightly out of sync. The footage onboard the train sees it pass through a short tunnel, and the view from the window includes St Dunstan’s level crossing at Canterbury West with its distinctive covered subway. The journey takes about five minutes, which is about right for the trip between Selling and Canterbury, the short tunnel (405 yards) would be the one at Selling, and as the arrival is into Canterbury West, the train would have taken the connecting chord between the two lines which was closed in 1953. The slightly out of sync footage is referenced by the fact that the H Class tank is seen arriving from Sturry, the next station beyond Canterbury West when heading towards Minster and Ramsgate. The scene of the passengers boarding at Selling also shows the loco at the front of the train and although the design is not clear it appears to be another H Class tank. All in all, this is a very interesting sequence of events.