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Railway footage in feature films and television...


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After some mighty fine Sweeney action, I caught the final sequence of 1975's 'Brannigan,' featuring John Wayne, earlier.  This looked like it was filmed in the East End, what is now Docklands, with an elevated railway and one scene inside what appeared to be a gantry-mounted signalbox. 

 

Wikipedia says it was shot in West India Quay, and also featured (a young) Tony Robinson, although I confess I didn't recognise the latter any better than the neglected dockside!

Yes I just caught that as well. Brannigan has been a couple of times this Christmas but I've never bothered watching it as I'm not a fan of John Wayne. If it's on again I'll try to record it to DVD then I can get some screen shots....that signalbox has given me some building ideas

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No it's a completely different flim, essentally some excellent filming from the 1963 freeze of pw gangs, snowploughs and a variety of trains, from loose coupled steam hauled coal trains to the Blue Pullman, augmented by archive shots from earlier winters. It is cut entirely without dialogue to a dramatic music track produced by Johny Hawksworth and Daphne Oram (co-founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and a pioneer of electronic music)  .There is an entirely proper emphasis on trains succesfully running at speed past lines of stranded trucks and cars on  the roads. Sad to think that a couple of few years after BR staff were heroically keeping the whole network open as vital national arteries  the government decided to close half of its services down.

 

I've just watched it from youTube and did reconginse a few shots from the much earlier 1955 Snowdrift at Bleath Gill

 

Both films are excellent and, if you don't want to wait for this evening, the BFI has posted both of them on YouTube 

Snow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4pJwcE7JI

Snowdrift at Bleath Gill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ugIoMD495E

 

For those who remember their music of the period (I don't - too young) might recognise the music as being a tweaked version of Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat", originally from 1959, but re-released in 1964.  

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Apologies for the grainy screen grab - 'The Professionals' series 3 episode 'The Purging Of CI5' featured some scenes shot at Thorntonfields Carriage Sidings in East London on 13th August 1979, with Bodie and Doyle meeting up with an informant in a Mk1 coach...

 

post-7638-0-03246500-1546368297_thumb.jpg

 

(More useless trivia - the episode was first broadcast on Saturday 27th October 1979 and drew in 9.4 million viewers!).

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For those who remember their music of the period (I don't - too young) might recognise the music as being a tweaked version of Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat", originally from 1959, but re-released in 1964.  

That's fascinating. I am old enough to remember music from that period but don't remember ever hearing teen beat. I delved a bit and, according to the BFI http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1234415/index.html Geoffrey Jones who made "Snow" had wanted to use Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat" but couldn't afford the full rights  so got Johnny Hawksworth to record a cover version of it more tailored to the rhythms of the film and electronically augmented by Daphne Oram. Oram also worked on the sound track for Jones' 1967 film for BTF "Rail". 

I'd always thought that Kraftwerk pioneered electronic music but it seems that Daphne Oram (one of the two co-founders of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) and later Delia Derbyshire (who created the original Dr. Who theme) were way ahead of them though the BBC insisted that neither were composers which meant that they weren't properly credited until years later. 

There was a fascinating exhibition about Oram's work and her Oramic music synthesiser at the Science Museum a few years ago. The weird sounds that appeared in the first James Bond movie Dr, No were created by Oram but again uncredited. 

Edited by Pacific231G
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That's fascinating. I am old enough to remember musuic from that period but don't remember ever hearing teen beat. I delved a bit and, according to the BFI http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/1234415/index.html Geoffrey Jones who made "Snow" had wanted to use Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat" but couldn't afford the full rights  so got Johnny Hawksworth to record a cover version of it more tailored to the rhythms of the film and electronically augmented by Daphne Oram. Oram also worked on the sound track for Jones' 1967 film for BTF "Rail". 

I always thought that Kraftwerk invented electronic music but it seems that Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire (who created the original Dr. Who theme) were way ahead of them.

 

I've got this DVD:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/blu-rays-dvds/rhythm-film

 

The director Geoffrey Jones is interviewed on it, and the story behind Snow's music is explained.

 

(Most, if not all, of the films contained on the DVD can be found on Youtube.)

 

Another of Sandy Nelson's works is "Let there be Drums", a single which is very similar in style to "Teen Beat".  

Edited by Coppercap
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I've got this DVD:

http://www.bfi.org.uk/blu-rays-dvds/rhythm-film

 

The director Geoffrey Jones is interviewed on it, and the story behind Snow's music is explained.

 

(Most, if not all, of the films contained on the DVD can be found on Youtube.)

 

Another of Sandy Nelson's works is "Let there be Drums", a single which is very similar in style to "Teen Beat".  

Teen Beat by Sandy Nelson was developed from Slop Beat by the "Teen Beats" - same writer.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiGi_btvs3fAhUUShUIHQA2AnwQ3ywwAHoECAYQBA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DX3JiDoJTHJY&usg=AOvVaw0MhPfaRzoJIxxHiwd9W7t_

 

Keith

 

EDIT I'm old enough to remember them all (and now have them on CD)

Edited by melmerby
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After some mighty fine Sweeney action, I caught the final sequence of 1975's 'Brannigan,' featuring John Wayne, earlier.  This looked like it was filmed in the East End, what is now Docklands, with an elevated railway and one scene inside what appeared to be a gantry-mounted signalbox. 

 

Wikipedia says it was shot in West India Quay, and also featured (a young) Tony Robinson, although I confess I didn't recognise the latter any better than the neglected dockside!

 

Tony Robinson played the character who picks up the package posted at Piccadilly Circus and eventually gets chucked into the water at the dock by John Wayne.  Some of the car chase scenes were shot in Wandsworth in and around locations also used in a couple of Sweeney episodes.

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The BBC/Netflix new animated version of Watership Down, shown over the past weekend, included a passable representation of a BR blue class 50 (mowing down some rabbits) as well as a train of blue/grey carriages.  A class 50 might well have been appropriate to the Hampshire setting.

 

I thought the railway in Watershed Down was based on the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton line - closed and lifted long before the Class 50s came south. (CJL)

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Today I watched The Lady Vanishes made in 1938  a good film true to the book but it started with an excellent branch line terminus snowed  in with a rake of british goods vans parked in the sidings.The loco was German as was the stock shots of many continental trains thundering through sun lit scenery,   no snow,obviously summer.Close ups were from LNER stock films teak coaches A3,s but overall it did not matter as it kept to the book and had some good acting with stiff upper lip accents.

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I thought the railway in Watershed Down was based on the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton line - closed and lifted long before the Class 50s came south. (CJL)

 

Richard Adams based the entire novel on a real location, so it's the Basingstoke - Andover line, just west of Overton

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Another film off Talking Pics TV which has some railway scenes, What Every Woman Wants. With William Sylvester (of numerous other films including 2001: A space Odyessey. Joan Hickson, Brian Rix, Joan Syms and Prunella Scales. Not sure where abouts it's set but it looks like shipyards in the north east somewhere...perhaps someone can elaborate on that (I've included a couple of location shots as well)

 

One set of shots as a railway line running along the road and views of wagons being shunted

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The last three are in East London, looking at the style of the houses, and the Buckjumper in the background.

I couldn't find any location information but the film was made at Nettlefold Studios in Walton upon Thames. The long shots of industry may well have been second unit or stock but it would have made sense to flim cast exteriors in London. The distinctively raised parapet firewalls between Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses which are clear in the photos of the street scene are a feature I've always associated with the old London County Council's building regulations. I have seen them elsewhere but far less commonly whereas they were almost universal in the former County of London. More modern houses - including the typical 1930s-1950s suburban housing round here, which was Middlesex don't seem tio have them. 

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Another film off Talking Pics TV which has some railway scenes, What Every Woman Wants. With William Sylvester (of numerous other films including 2001: A space Odyessey. Joan Hickson, Brian Rix, Joan Syms and Prunella Scales. Not sure where abouts it's set but it looks like shipyards in the north east somewhere...perhaps someone can elaborate on that (I've included a couple of location shots as well)

 

One set of shots as a railway line running along the road and views of wagons being shunted

The first photo looks like an open hearth steelworks, and the fifth is a blast furnace plant. I cannot identify either works from those photos. I’ll try and catch the film to see if that helps with locations.

 

.

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It was released in 1954 so the shot with the pre nationalisation wagons with large letters is likely to be stock/library footage.

 

It wouldn't be impossible to see three such wagons plus private owners together in 1954 but very unlikely.

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Is that the Millenium flour mill in the background ??

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Mills

 

 It is. The last four phots are at the Junction of North Woolwich Road with Boxley Street and Bradfield Road. The area featured in major scenes regularly in films. Two films that spring immediately to mind are Michael Bentine's home (amongst others) being on Evelyn Road at the North end of Boxley road in "The Sandwich Man" and David Lodge was seen running around in his undercrackers outside the Gents lavs on Woolwich Road in Cockleshell Heroes. (With another Buckjumper in the background)

 

The Houses on Bradfield road still stand.

https://goo.gl/maps/xXWiM24EZMB2

 

If your registered on the Britain from Above Site there are loads of aerial phots of the area you can zoom in on.

 

https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EAW003034

 

P

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This distinctive hexagonal building (visible in the 3rd last frame)is still extant and visible from the A1028

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5021768,0.0274812,3a,75y,65.54h,73.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sgEsuniAqN6VcbkoymmEIUQ!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?hl=en

 

Grain Silo D of the Millenium Mill. Grade 2 listed & warrants a mention in Pevsner.

 

P

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