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The Titfield Thunderbolt: 60th Anniversary Collector’s Edition [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: U
  • Run Time: 83 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: StudioCanal
  • Blu-ray Release Date: January 14, 2013
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

From the famous Ealing Studios, this quaint comedy classic, The Titfield Thunderbolt, the first comedy from the studio shot in color and one of the first comedies overall in Britain to be shot in color, is typically British in its humor and mannerisms. The story follows the foibles of a fictional rural village as they try to take over the running of their local branch line, which is scheduled to be closed by British Rail. The local vicar (George Relph), a railway enthusiast, is hurt the most, but the entire village will feel the pinch since they use it to commute to work and transport their goods. They come up with a scheme to take over the branch themselves, enlisting the local squire Gordon Chesterford (John Gregson), to help convince wealthy imbiber Walter Valentine (Stanley Holloway) to invest. Valentine’s an easy catch when he hears they can operate a bar on the train legally as long as it’s moving. But the townsfolk meet with opposition from bus operators Alec Pearce (Ewan Roberts) and Vernon Crump (Jack MacGowran), who do their best to thwart the efforts of the new line during its one-month grace period, from sabotaging a locomotive watering spot to blocking a crossing with a truck. These make for some of the film’s most humorous moments.

Directed by Charles Crichton (A Fish Called Wanda; The Lavender Hill Mob), the film is laid back, summery, and wholly British in its style and execution, but much like the very best of British comedy from Benny Hill to Monty Python and beyond, it is easily accessible to all those on the other side of the pond as well. The wonderfully rich Technicolor palette also adds a whole other dimension and vibrancy to the already colorful language and pitfalls of these townsfolk.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

StudioCanal brings The Titfield Thunderbolt to Blu-ray in a beautfully remastered, AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement that is is bright, clean, and vividly saturated with the Technicolor imagery. Although some grain reduction does appear to have been applied, it doesn’t seem too heavy-handed, and skin and clothing retain a sense of textural structure while no smearing of the grain structure is apparent.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The original monaural soundtrack is offered in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit). It’s a little boxy, but pops, clicks, and hiss are minor occurrences and the dialogue is rather clear.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

A rich offering of featurettes, galleries, and interviews is included along with the theatrical trailer and restoration comparison.

The supplements:

  • Making the Titfield Thunderbolt (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:09:12)
  • Douglas Slocombe Home Movie Footage (1.33:1; PAL;00:10:21) – Douglas Slocombe’s 16mm behind the scenes home camera footage shot on lactation around Bath and Bristol using a Bell & Howell camera.
  • The Lion Locomotive (1.33:1; PAL; 00:05:35)
  • Locations Featurette (1.78:1; PAL; 00:02:33)
  • Stills Gallery (PAL; 00:01:53)
  • Restoration Comparison (1.37:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:48)
  • Douglas Slocombe on Charles Crichton audio interview (00:04:22) – Interview by Matthew Sweet, recorded at Douglas’ home, on 15th October 2012.
  • Trailer (1.37:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

The Titfield Thunderbolt is classic Ealing Studios. It’s quaint, charming, and absurd in the best way possible. It magnifies the peculiarities of British life and turns them into hilarious situations. A must for fans of Brit comedies.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00AC7PJEI[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00AC7PJEI[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]


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