Dir: Walter Robert Booth
Starring: Actors unknown
The devil blights a family’s day trip
This early, special effects silent short, was designed solely to thrill audiences with the Devil taking charge of a train and driving it under the sea before spinning it around in the sky! Most of this makes use of a Bassett-Lowke O-gauge model and painted-on effects. Look closely at the scene where the train travels along the sea-bed and you can see the cameraman reflected in the glass of the fish tank! The film is made in the style of Georges Méliès’ fantastical journeys such as Voyage a Travers l’Impossible (France, 1904) using optical tricks and a combination of painted backdrops and models with a live cast but there are some real railway scenes. As can be expected for these early silent movies they give a wonderful insight into the pre-grouping era with some very rare shots indeed. This film is no exception and there is a shot taken outside what is reputed to be Muswell Hill station on the GNR. There is then a shot of an LNWR 4-4-0 arriving at Llandudno Junction station and a very, very, rare shot of an LNWR 3-cylinder Compound 2-2-2-2 on an express, probably also in the vicinity of Llandudno. There is then one final shot of an LSWR 4-4-0 on an express taken from another train travelling in the opposite direction. These fantastical trick movies were quite in vogue at the time, as movie companies began to explore different production techniques. The film is awfully cheap by today’s standards but at the time, Victorian audiences would have found it both highly amusing and utterly magical. All the railway footage appears on Video 125’s Trains from the Arc’ DVD.