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The Ghost Train. Stageplay and film question


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If you are a film buff and you know the answer to this for sure then don't reply to this thread with the answer as this is a bit of fun for everyone else.(Thanks)

 

The question is, where do you think the author of The Ghost Train got his location inspiration from? i.e Which true life station inspired him to write the stageplay/screenplay? No wikapedia or googling allowed.

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The question is, where do you think the author of The Ghost Train got his location inspiration from? i.e Which true life station inspired him to write the stageplay/screenplay?

Mangotsfield.

 

And no I didn't look it up.

 

Cheers

David

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'Ghost Train' version also filmed on Cam Valley line near Bath in the 1930s

I saw a revival of The Ghost Train at The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, in May 2002. The programme included a photograph of Camerton station on the Cam Valley line, renamed "Fal Vale" for the 1931 film. There was another connection with Dad's Army in the production we saw - the leading role of Teddie Deakin was played by Ian Lavender (Frank Pike in Dad's Army, if anyone needs reminding).

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The first version of the film, with Jack Hulbert and Cicely Courtnidge, is now considered a "missing, presumed lost" film, no copies are known now, only the final reel is stored at the BFI.

 

The re-make was a vehicle for Richard Murdock and Arthur Askey, played for more laughs. This is the version occasionally on television.

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I did the sets for an amateur production a couple of years back (and had a bit part as the detective at the end). The play comes with detailed instructions on how to do the train sound effects - garden rollers over wooden slats for example.

 

The whistle and/or chuffing noises involved somebody sitting (and it explicitly says sitting) on an oxygen cylinder and opening and closing the valve at the end.

 

All this required around a dozen people. We just used an MP3 recording of a train. So much easier!

 

The "Ghost train" in the play is supposedly the result of a late night train falling through an open swing bridge in the 1890s. I've always wondered how likely this would have been - I'd have thought that there would have been proper signalling by this stage.

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It's surprising the 35mm film has been found minus the sound track, they should have been projection copies and should have the track intact. Only dalies and initial editing prints have no sound at all. Sound tracks on their own often exist on blank film, used for editing and foley work.

 

 

Often early sound films from the States have the sound missing as they were in the main Bell Vitaphone sound discs films and these go missing or survive on their own. Only recently a large batch has been found, possibly helping in the restoration of the long lost Goldiggers of Broadway, the first Oscar winning musical in colour from 1929.

 

Of British interest is the recent discovery of Max Millers two "Educated Evans films", his comedy based on the Edgar Wallace stories, long thought lost, but now partly found in two archives. Not complete, they are still looking for the first reels of both.

 

Stephen.

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For a US film oldie have a look at Danger Lights, the clip includes a genuine loco " tug of war", actually they are pushing each other, done on greased rails in a Californian goods yard at night!! Astonishing bit of film, the stunt was quite common in those days at shows and open days.

 

 

for full clip and

for just the Tug of war'(and yes it was genuine, no tricks).

 

Stephen.

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I found my theatre programme for The Ghost Train. It was at the Vaudeville Theatre in January 1977 (so I'd have been 13). The cast included Wilfrid Bramble, Geoffrey Davies (quite a big name at the time, as a raffish doctor in the very successful sitcom Doctor in the House), Allan Cuthbertson (another familiar TV face at the time, often as army officers or as exasperated authority figures in comedies with Tommy Cooper, Harry Worth and Morecambe and Wise)and Patrick Newell ("Mother" in The Avengers). In those days I was quite the one for hanging around the stage door after the show and my programme is autographed by all those four and several others in the cast.

 

Man, that was a long time ago...

 

Jim

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  • 4 years later...

OK, I know this is an old thread, but I have some questions about the movie The Ghost Train. (The 1944 version.)  I 'discovered' this movie and fell in love with  it. In 2011, while visiting the UK for my good friends' Will and Kate's wedding, I visited the old Mangotsfield Station location because I knew of it's connection to The Ghost Train. I orginally thought  some filming was done there but have learned  that it was only the inspiration for it. Anyway, can anyone tell me what station was used in the 1944 film?

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The "Ghost train" in the play is supposedly the result of a late night train falling through an open swing bridge in the 1890s. I've always wondered how likely this would have been - I'd have thought that there would have been proper signalling by this stage.

 

Given the failure of proper signalling to prevent many major accidents in the last 120 odd years, I'd say that the proposition is not, in itself, too outlandish. Trains do crash; where authors of works of fiction tend to fall down is in the technical details of how. Can't offer an opinion on The Ghost Train specifically, though, because.....

 

I saw The Ghost Train at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton some time around 1978 or so. I now realise that, although I remember enjoying it, I can remember almost nothing about it. 

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As far as I know, it was a film set for the Arthur Askey version.

 

Don't forget that fail safe systems do work, but what you can't guard against is deliberate actions - so opening the bridge to drop the train could be done if you deliberately set out to do it!

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