ITA 1966 2hrs 11mins Dir: Alberto Sordi Starring: Alberto Sordi and Amy Dalby
An Italian antique dealer from Perugia visits England and tries to fit in with the British aristocratic life he dreams of
The title of this Italian comedy translates as Smoke Over London, one of three alternative titles by which it was known – the others are Gray Flannels and Thank You Very Much. During the film, Alberto Sordi has been invited to stay at the Duchess of Bradford’s country residence of Belvoir (pronounced Bee-ver) Castle in Leicestershire. The lengthy journey he undertakes to get there is the genuine thing, which seems to evolve around a trip on the Nottingham-Grantham line but it is a complex scenario that is best broken down into its constituent parts: 1) Alberto Sordi is seen onboard a DMU with a rake of open mineral wagons passing by on a siding outside, whilst in another glimpse out of the window, a 350hp shunter (Class 08?) sits in a goods yard on the end of a short freight. 2) A brief glimpse of a Class 114 ‘Derby Heavyweight’ DMU arriving into a platform packed with school children. The DMU is displaying Grantham on its destination blind. 3) Various views filmed onboard show more school children join at a sizeable station, then a shot that appears to show Bingham station outside the window. 4) Alberto Sordi then alights at another station where the tender of a steam loco can be seen in an adjacent platform 5) Scenes of Alberto Sordi at Bottesford, the closest station to the Belvoir estate, which include a closeup shot of a WD ‘Austerity’ 2-8-0 passing slowly through with a loaded iron ore train. 6) Later scenes on a return journey that show Alberto Sordi onboard another DMU as it departs from a station, presumably Bottesford, and arrives into another, possibly Nottingham Victoria, though it appears that a different station also seems to have been blended in because a train of maroon-liveried Mk.1’s is present in the ‘pulling in’ scene, but then not present in any of the others once the train has come to a stand. 7) One final shot of Sordi onboard what appears to be a suburban EMU. These scenes really are of interest because as the film is in colour, it shows the original interior and seat moquette of the Class 114 DMU’s to excellent effect. So far, this is the only known appearence of these DMU’s in a feature film.