1hr 32mins
Dir: Robert Hamer
Starring: Googie Withers and John McCallum

An escaped convict takes refuge in the home of a former lover

This famous Ealing drama set in post-war East End London has some good atmospheric scenes, with the railway dominating the background throughout the film. John McCallum crosses a four-track railway at the beginning of the film having escaped from the nick, but it is not known where this scene was filmed. Look carefully though, and as he turns and runs a distant steam train can be seen approaching. Railways form the backdrop to many street scenes and in one, an Oerlikon EMU can be seen passing over Hawley Road between Camden Road and Kentish Town West stations whilst in another shot at dusk, a steam-hauled freight can be seen passing over the nearby Hartland Road possibly hauled by an LMS Class 4F 0-6-0. The next road up is Clarence Way, and a number of freight trains are viewed passing over the road bridge at the end of the terraced houses where the family live. However, most have been edited in such a way that the locos hauling the trains are not visible, though there is one glimpse of an LNER Class J52 0-6-0ST and one of an unidentified loco just passing out of shot as another scene opens. Later, there is a good scene filmed at night at an unknown level crossing where LMS Stanier Class 5 2-6-0 No.2974 passes with a freight. The main scenes though are left to the end, where there is an excellent chase sequence at the film’s climax. This was shot in Temple Mills Marshalling Yard near Stratford and sees John McCallum pursued by police led by Jack Warner, which includes a superbly edited and choreographed cat-and-mouse sequence with both characters narrowly avoiding moving trains and shunted wagons. The best bit sees McCallum emerge from beneath a rake of wagons only to narrowly miss being run down by an LNER J39 Class 0-6-0. The worst bit, by today’s standards anyway, is some comically inept model work in the scene where McCallum and Warner find themselves in separate wagons of a train being pushed over the hump. As the wagons roll down the other side and split their separate ways there are a couple of stick figures standing in the wagons that supposedly represent the actors! There are, however, plenty of locos on view in this part of the film with the stars of the show being a pair of J67 Class 0-6-0T’s No’s 8591 and 8607 which are seen on shunting duties. The wagons themselves are a fascinating collection of period pieces. The entrance to ‘Whitechapel’ station at the very beginning and end is a set, as the station never had a brick entrance as shown.

The chalk board suggests that this is Whitechapel, though the station never had a brick entrance so this is likely to be a studio set complete with resident black cat!!
John McCallum on a railway at night
This shot looking east down Clarence Way, London NW1 appears many times in the film. Freight trains cross the bridge in a number of these shots though they are largely edited in such a way that the locomotives are not seen. However, we are treated to a glimpse of one in the form of this LNER J52 Class 0-6-0ST. The war-damaged spire of Holy Trinity church is rising up in the background.
This is Hawley Road, and an Oerlikon EMU is crossing the bridge on its way between Camden Road and Kentish Town West stations
Giving an idea as to the location, Hawley Road runs off to the right and passes under the railway on the bridge seen in the above shot with the EMU. The road running straight on here is Hartland Road with the tower of Holy Trinity church again forming the backdrop. The freight train crossing the bridge appears to be in the hands of an LMS Class 4F 0-6-0.
John McCallum approaches the level crossing by bike but gets held up by the closing gates
LMS Stanier Mogul No.2974 passes slowly across the road in this wonderful shot
The location of this level crossing is not known, but there may be enough in this shot to help with an identification. The footbridge is particularly distinctive.
Clarence Way again. Whilst most trains that cross are mere freight trains consisting of either box vans or open minerals this one is of more interest as it appears to feature a vintage LMS ventilated van as part of its consist.
This following sequence shows to excellent effect just how good the final scenes filmed at Temple Mills really are. A J67 Class 0-6-0T moves back past a signal box.
Before John McCallum arrives on the scene, running from the police, and fearing nothing
A split second later and we are joined by another J67 in the form of No.8607
John McCallum tries his best to look inconspicuous as No.8607 passes by
Jack Warner and the yard foreman look on as J67 Class 0-6-0T No.8591 carries out some shunting
John McCallum desperately tries to hide from view, and from the prying eyes of Jack Warner seen in the right hand background
Two steam locos are visible in this view of well stocked sidings at Temple Mills. The loco in the centre is one of the J67’s, but that on the right is an 0-6-0 tender loco of some sort.
The chase continues alongside rakes of wagons. Note the poor condition of the track bed, which is totally covered in muddy water, and the exhaust from a steam loco hard at work on the adjacent siding.
John McCallum trips into the path of an oncoming J67, but he gets up in time
Only to narrowly being run down a second time, on this occasion by an LNER J39 Class 0-6-0
The police give chase in the final exhilarating climax. Jack Warner decides that running along the wagons is a safer bet than his colleagues, who decide to leg it through the yard on foot!