Dir: Ben Hopkins
Starring: Noah Taylor and Rutger Hauer
An outcast accused of sorcery is instrumental in deciding the future of a village
This rich allegory is set in 19th century Silesia but has some dramatic scenes filmed on the Severn Valley Railway close to Country Park Halt. Ex-GWR 5700-series 0-6-0PT No.7714 was used as the train engine and it was hauling some very British rolling stock in the form of LNER teak coaches, a GWR ‘Siphon G’ ventilated van, and a Southern Railway ‘Queen Mary’ Bogie brake van! The locomotive was thinly disguised in an attempt to make it look Polish by putting masking tape over its smokebox and builder’s plate and a few Polish eagle stickers on the tank sides, yet little of this deception can be seen in the film. This eerie and mystical tale is a haunting spectacle that won many plaudits at the time of its release, and it was selected for showing at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival. It’s title often includes the additional tagline: Simon Magus A Tale from a Vanished World.