GB 1959 1hr 33mins Dir: Ralph Thomas Starring: Kenneth More and Taina Elg
A diplomat returns home to London, only to become inadvertently embroiled in the death of a British spy
This first remake closely resembles the Hitchcock original but again bears little resemblance to the 1915 novel. However, despite being generally regarded as the poorest of the three film versions in terms of handling and style, this colour film is the best in terms of accuracy and general excellence of the railway scenes. Two advantages that this film has over the original is that the journey north depicts real ECML expresses and the film makers clearly had full co-operation from BR Scottish Region to use the actual Forth Bridge. An A4 Class 4-6-2 on a rake of maroon-liveried BR Mk1’s was run a number of times over the bridge with a flat wagon attached to the rear that was used by the film crew to shoot the back-projection scenes where Kenneth More hangs onto the sides of the coach. Back projection also appears where More is clinging to the girders of the bridge. He eventually escapes through an inspection hatch in the four-foot and, scrambling over steelwork high above the Firth, makes his perilous way down to South Queensferry. In a link with the 1935 film, another boat is seen passing beneath on the waters of the Firth. In these dramatic scenes, More has close encounters with two ex-LNER A3 Class 4-6-2’s, Nos.60147 North Eastern and 60162 Saint Johnstoun. Earlier in the film there are some nice atmospheric shots taken at Edinburgh Waverley station as Kenneth More joins a northbound express hauled by an A4 Pacific. Featured A4’s are No.60012 Commonwealth of Australia, 60024 Kingfisher and 60027 Merlin, and there are some lovely shots of these streamlined beauties. The frontage to London King’s Cross is also seen in the film. With regards to the carriage scenes, those during the journey were a set with the traditional back projection, but there are plenty of good shots of maroon stock of various types at Edinburgh Waverley including Gresley vehicle SC 16277E. An amusing parody of the Forth Bridge scene appears in Carry on Regardless (qv) and stock footage of this movie appears in others as well, including Upstairs and Downstairs (qv).