1hr 43mins
Dir: Ken Russell
Starring: Roger Daltrey and Sara Kestelman

A fantasia based on the life of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt

This film is developed in part from a biography of Franz Liszt, and in part from an actual ‘kiss-and-tell’ book, Nélida, by Marie d’Agoult, about the couple’s affair. In true Ken Russell fashion, it is a surreal and oddly flamboyant movie that rather than following a straightforward narrative, presents Liszt’s life through a series of episodes. It is rather sexy at times, and comically absurd at others, but largely it is difficult to understand. There is also a bizarre scene early on in which a train smashes through a grand piano that has been left on a railway line!? This was filmed on Freshfield Bank on the Bluebell Railway and the locomotive that demolished the dummy balsa wood piano was ex-LBSCR Class A1X ‘Terrier’ 0-6-0T No.72 Fenchurch.

A diminutive ‘Terrier Tank’ steams towards the camera on what is clearly a blustery day
A grand piano is placed on the track. You have to watch the film to have any hope of understanding what is going on in this scene.
The ‘Terrier Tank’, which is No.72 Fenchurch, bears down on the piano
This is the moment of impact as Fenchurch strikes the piano. The balsa wood construction really was primed with explosives, and it really did blow up in front of Fenchurch, which thankfully came through unscathed!