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  1. #1
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    The Railway Children was a wonderful experience -- as Fell predicted. Thank you Fell, and all. And our thanks, most recently, to Ruth (Jazzy Lady) for adding two more old British films to our list.

    For us, The Railway Children was an enchanting look at idealized family and community life during the Edwardian era, within the context of the harsh realities of the day -- all wrapped up in a mystery. One would think that it would too much of a contradiction to try combine these elements, but it all worked. My wife Irma, an elementary school librarian, tells me that the story is based on a well-known set of childrens' books by Edith Nesbit. That explains why goodness wins out. It's heartening to to become engaged in such an uplifting story now and then. It helps one deal with the harsh realities of today.

    An important note I must add is that we inadventently ordered the "wrong" version. What came to us from the public library was the Masterpiece Theatre version from the year 2000, not the 1970 film. Interestingly, we learned from Russel Baker's introduction. that the actress who played the mother in the 2000 version played the oldest daughter in the 1970 version (Jenny Agutter?). We are ordering the 1970 version for the sake of comparison. Why not double our pleasure?

    We loved the characterizations offered in the Masterpiece Theatre production. It was an interesting bonus to see Richard Attenborough move from the movie director's chair to the front of the camera as the Railroad Director.

    Was it a bad mistake to see the 2000 version first? Is the 1970 version much better or significantly different?

    As always, in appreciation -- Tom

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK Freddy's Avatar
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    Hello Tom,



    I don't think you've lost anything by seeing the lastest version first. They are both fine productions and are very similar. Interestingly Jenny Agutter's appearance was her third in the Railway Children. Two years before the 1970 film she played the eldest daughter in the television series (one of three tv versions)



    Freddy

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: Europe
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    Originally posted by Etruscello@Sep 4 2005, 02:04 PM

    The Railway Children was a wonderful experience -- as Fell predicted. Thank you Fell, and all. And our thanks, most recently, to Ruth (Jazzy Lady) for adding two more old British films to our list.

    For us, The Railway Children was an enchanting look at idealized family and community life during the Edwardian era, within the context of the harsh realities of the day -- all wrapped up in a mystery. One would think that it would too much of a contradiction to try combine these elements, but it all worked. My wife Irma, an elementary school librarian, tells me that the story is based on a well-known set of childrens' books by Edith Nesbit. That explains why goodness wins out. It's heartening to to become engaged in such an uplifting story now and then. It helps one deal with the harsh realities of today.

    An important note I must add is that we inadventently ordered the "wrong" version. What came to us from the public library was the Masterpiece Theatre version from the year 2000, not the 1970 film. Interestingly, we learned from Russel Baker's introduction. that the actress who played the mother in the 2000 version played the oldest daughter in the 1970 version (Jenny Agutter?). We are ordering the 1970 version for the sake of comparison. Why not double our pleasure?

    We loved the characterizations offered in the Masterpiece Theatre production. It was an interesting bonus to see Richard Attenborough move from the movie director's chair to the front of the camera as the Railroad Director.

    Was it a bad mistake to see the 2000 version first? Is the 1970 version much better or significantly different?

    As always, in appreciation -- Tom


    In my opinion the 1970 version is far superior - if you thought the 2000 version was wonderful, you're in for an even bigger treat. The 1970 version was the only real "children's film" that made it in the Bfi list of 100 greatest British films - and rightly so!



    Enjoy it.



    FELL

  4. #4
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    Wouldn't be Christmas without the finest family film ever to come out of the British Isles, would it?



    FELL

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: England
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    Wouldn't be Christmas without the finest family film ever to come out of the British Isles, would it?



    FELL
    But do you want the family to see you crying at the end of the film? :crybabay

  6. #6
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    Yep, watched it again today....and yes, I cried again when she said:



    "Daddy, oh my Daddy!"



    Is it possible to watch that scene and keep a stiff upper lip??

  7. #7
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    Choosing one's favourite film is, for me at least, an impossible task. I can name my Top Ten, probably Top Twenty, without any great difficulty but Number One? That is a different matter!



    All I can tell you about it is that it is a film that is as English as one would ever find, was released in the early 70s and starred the lady with the face of an angel and the voice like dripping honey. Two films fall into that category - The Snow Goose and The Railway Children. The Snow Goose was only ever shown once in this country, before being criminally locked away, and secured an instant place in the hearts of all who were privileged enough to see it and I have written of that elsewhere.



    The Railway Children was Lionel Jeffries' directorial debut and nothing less than a masterpiece from first to last. He uses a number of theatrical devices that add to the overall charm, notably in the opening and closing sequences, and the theartricla connection is continued with the family's visit to the theatre that first Christmas. The casting is superb - Bernard Cribbens is excellent as Perks - but the film is stolen by Jenny Agutter as Bobbie. Jenny had played Bobbie two years previously in the BBC adaptation and was not keen on reprising the role, having just finished Walkabout but, fortunately for us, she was charmed by Lionel Jeffries. There is an excellent article by Dr Susan Smith of the University of Sunderland outlining the overwhelming importance of Jenny's voice in the success of the film that I would commend all to read: "Vocal Sincerity, Liminality and Bonding in The Railway Children (Jeffries, 1970)" Literature Film Quarterly, 2007 by Dr Susan Smith



    There can hardly be a soul in this country who has not seen this film and is not familiar with the story of the three children whose family life is turned upside down and they are forced to move to the country, beside a railway line. It is now the film without which Christmas would not be complete. I do not want to disclose too much of the story because there will be those, especially on the other side of the pond who are, tragically, unaware of this marvellous film - quite simply the finest family film this country will ever produce.



    Of course, it is highly sentimental and looks back to a bygone age, one that probably never existed - but really should have! All I would say is if you get the chance - shut the door, curl up on the sofa and wallow in a film that, in Peter's words, is "Simply Perfect, more perfect than anyone could dream of".



    And if there is anyone who can claim to watch that scene*, you all know which one I mean, and not find tears in their eyes and a lump in their throat, then all I can say is I am truly sorry for them that they have no heart.



    Have a Very Merry Christmas and to anyone who sees it for the first time - congratulations on finding a masterpiece.



    * And, yes, it is the most emotionally charged line I've ever heard.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    Does the TV version with Jenny still exist?



    Bats.

  9. #9
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    Does the TV version with Jenny still exist?

    Bats.
    Yes - most definitely. I know of at least two other people who have full copies of it

    Although, again criminally, it was withdrawn from sale in May 2006 and is now very expensive on Amazon.

    I decided I was posting this thread today of all days because The Railway Children (1970) is, for me, the quintessential Christmas film.





    Just had a peep on Amazon - the cheap (new) copy is �75, the other (used very good) is �335!

  10. #10
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    I recently spent a very happy day on and around the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, using an excellent printed guide to visit loads of the locations used in this wonderful film. One of my life's ambitions is to meet the wondrous Miss Agutter. As countless others have said, I cannot keep a dry eye when that line is spoken!

  11. #11
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    This is the film where the famous "thing" slithers over the wall. near the end of the film. After the father returns home. I thought it was an urban myth till i got a good copy on my hard drive and played it in slo-mo at that exact bit. Dunno what on earth is was, very strange!.

  12. #12
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    This is the film where the famous "thing" slithers over the wall. near the end of the film. After the father returns home. I thought it was an urban myth till i got a good copy on my hard drive and played it in slo-mo at that exact bit. Dunno what on earth is was, very strange!.
    Eh? What's that all about then? Anyone got a screen grab of that bit?



    rgds

    Rob

  13. #13
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    Eh? What's that all about then? Anyone got a screen grab of that bit?

    rgds

    Rob
    I'm afraid a screen grab would not show much. You need to see the clip of a few seconds. All you see is a strange long dark, almost liquid "thing" slither over the top of the field wall.

  14. #14
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    I'm afraid a screen grab would not show much. You need to see the clip of a few seconds. All you see is a strange long dark, almost liquid "thing" slither over the top of the field wall.
    Actually, it's a branch falling off a tree but it looks most odd. I'll try to get a before and after screengrab later but I'm busy transferring a film at the moment.

  15. #15
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    A falling branch was the most mooted cause. But when i looked at it close up on my hard drive it looks nothing like a branch. It seems to slither over the wall.



    As for The snow goose. Why was this locked away and never released again ?

  16. #16
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    A falling branch was the most mooted cause. But when i looked at it close up on my hard drive it looks nothing like a branch. It seems to slither over the wall.


    It it definitely the top of a tree as can be seen from these two shots - look at the top of the sapling behind the wall with the two fir trees in the background. It falls in a most strange way, almost as if it has been dropped like a parachute and it is its shadow that one can see appear to slither over the wall.











    There is supposed to be a white van visible in the background of the scene when the old gentleman calls on them at Three Chimneys but I haven't spotted that.




    As for The snow goose. Why was this locked away and never released again ?
    Answered in The Snow Goose thread.

  17. #17
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    Perhaps I'm missing a subtlety of the various versions, but the 1970 Lionel Jeffries film (Jenny Agutter as Bobbie, Dinah Sheridan and Ian Cuthbertson as her mother and father) is available on a 2006 Studio Canal DVD. My wife picked a copy up in HMV a month or so back. (Just in time, too - our off-air VHS copy was starting to show signs of its age.)



    E.g. HMV.com: DVD: Railway Children (2006)



    The "slithering thing" is in the final DVD scene at 102mins 41sec by my player, and can clearly be seen to indeed be a falling branch or sappling.

  18. #18
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    Perhaps I'm missing a subtlety of the various versions, but the 1970 Lionel Jeffries film (Jenny Agutter as Bobbie, Dinah Sheridan and Ian Cuthbertson as her mother and father) is available on a 2006 Studio Canal DVD. My wife picked a copy up in HMV a month or so back. (Just in time, too - our off-air VHS copy was starting to show signs of its age.)



    E.g. HMV.com: DVD: Railway Children (2006)



    The "slithering thing" is in the final DVD scene at 102mins 41sec by my player, and can clearly be seen to indeed be a falling branch or sappling.
    Well, I'm glad someone finally agreed with me!



    Watched it yet again this afternoon and, once more, the tears were welling in my eyes as that scene approached.



    Apart from anything else, it stands up so well technically against today's offerings - despite the lack of sex, swearing, cgi and violence.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    What always cracks me up about the Railway Children is that Perks thinks that nothing short of a tree on the line could make the train a whole eight minutes late. Couldn't it have just been held up for the Old Gentleman Titfield Thunderbolt-style?

  20. #20
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    What always cracks me up about the Railway Children is that Perks thinks that nothing short of a tree on the line could make the train a whole eight minutes late. Couldn't it have just been held up for the Old Gentleman Titfield Thunderbolt-style?


    Only an Act of God [or, more appropriately a Goddess] would stop a train on that line!

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