Dir: Alfred Shaughnessy
Starring: Josephine Douglas and Pete Murray
A young singer on a train bound for London, finds herself in the company of more famous musicians and performers
This was the film version of the famous 1950s BBC television show 6-5 Special, and is basically a number of different pop acts travelling by train with only a loose story linking them together. Like the TV show, the posters for the ‘smash hit musical of the year’ display the title as 6.5 Special (taken from the time of its television slot of 6:05pm) and though this is an alternate title often used for this film, the movie was officially released as Six-Five Special. The film would have been very cheap to produce. The first 48 minutes used a train that never left the studio with stock-shots thrown in where appropriate, whilst the remainder was an episode of the 6.5 Special, which would have been aired anyway. It is a cornucopia of British jukebox talent of the 1950s in a cavalcade of hits, some dimly recalled, but most long forgotten. The players were: Jim Dale, Desmond Lane, The Ken-Tones, Diane Todd, Johnny Dankworth, Cleo Laine, Joan Regan, Don Lang, Victor Soverall, Jimmy Lloyd, Petula Clark, Russ Hamilton, The John Barry Seven, Jackie Dennis (‘The Kilted Choirboy’), The King Brothers, Dickie Valentine, and Lonnie Donegan, plus comic relief from Mike and Bernie Winters, and dancing by Leigh Madison and Paddy Stone. The title shots are similar to those of the TV show, with stock footage that includes an aerial shot from the 1930s of the LMS’ streamlined ‘Coronation Scot’ tilted train, two trains passing in the hands of LMS 4-6-0’s, a couple of LNER Pacifics, one of which is crossing the Forth Bridge, and footage taken out of the window of a train passing through Twyford station in Berkshire. In addition there is a shot of a train of vans crossing the Forth Bridge as viewed from atop the girders, several driver views of the road ahead, and footage from the cab roof of an express train that appears to be from the continent, possibly in France. The rest of the film is basically studio sets and models, with stock shots of trains thrown in where appropriate. The majority of these show various night shots of expresses (several of which appear to be from the previous years The Flying Scot), whilst several others are taken from Brief Encounter (both qv). There is one very dark shot of a GWR ‘King’ Class 4-6-0 arriving at London Paddington, but most of the other shots are indiscernible.