The first Ealing Studios comedy shot in color, Titfield Thunderbolt
takes place in a tiny British village serviced by a branch railway line. When the government plans to close the line down, the locals are in a panic--except for a group intending to set up an expensive bus service. The local vicar (George Relph
) concocts a scheme with the town's wealthiest man (Stanley Holloway
) for the villagers to run the rail line themselves; in this way they hope to prove to the railway inspectors that their branch is still worth keeping. When the bus interests attempt to sabotage this undertaking, the villagers respond by stealing a stray locomotive--and when this proves cumbersome, they reactivate a 19th century train engine from the local museum. The Titfield Thunderbolt
is uniquely British in humor and approach, but not so "inside" as to alienate American filmgoers.