British Transport Films
Whilst nosing through yet another online list of train movies, I came across this short film from Great Britain. Snow (1963) documents British Railways’ struggle coping with the Big Freeze of 1963. Even though I don’t normally review foreign films, some themes are universal. Like dealing with copious amounts of the white stuff. As a bonus, steam engines were still plentiful on BR at the time, with most of the footage in color. Break out the shovels and wedge plows and let’s get to work.
The milk must go through! Looming through a steam cloud of its own making, Tank Engine 80072 saunters up to the platform to take on a load of moo juice. This 2-6-4 “Standard 4” tank engine (built at Brighton Works) was rescued from the scrap heap and beautifully restored to operation by a dedicated group of enthusiasts.
Directed and Edited by Geoffrey Jones, Snow has no narration or subtitles. The soundtrack consists of drums and bass guitar with occasional crashing cymbals to roughly emulate a steam engine speeding up and slowing down. There are many quick cuts back and forth between contrasting scenes (for example; quickly showing a business man comfortably having a cup of tea in the restaurant car, then a bloke outside shoveling snow off the line, and back again). Towards the end of the picture, the cuts are so frequent as to create an annoying “flashing effect” — no warnings about triggering epileptic seizures in 1963!
So without further ado, let’s enjoy this obscure train movie from the land of Tank Engine Thomas…
The movie opens with a montage of snow scenes. I just LOVE that cobalt blue pointing hand sign!
Snow piled deep in some cuts and in places the only way to clear the line was to shovel it out by hand. Bring in the wedge plow-equipped steam engine!
Fire and ice. Fireman shovels coal into the firebox; Widening the snowplows’ cut by hand; Throwing switches from the signal box with a roaring fire for comfort; Heaving snow aside during the last glimmer of daylight.
Workmen stand aside as the plow engine takes a whack at the snowdrift.
Spectacular arc of snow as the steam plow clears the line; Note the eyeball painted on one wing of the plow.
Clearing snow along the platform; “Deep and crisp and even”.
“I say. Look at that poor chap out there!”
POW! The plow engine disappears in a blizzard of snow, covering the shovel-toting blighters to the side…while Mr. Businessman enjoys a smoke and a pancake in the diner.
Working on the track; The diesel-powered blue train goes through.
Now batting for the Cubs….; Ahh! It’s coming right at us!!!; The guard waved his green flag and…..just like that, it’s all over.
Not a bad little train flick! The filmmaker did a remarkable job getting out there in the elements and showing just how much hard work it is keeping a railway going. Snow really shines with its scenes of steam engines with enormous plows blasting away at the drifts — alongside your average Joe armed only with his shovel.
If you’d like to view it yourself, Snow is available on YouTube:
Here’s what IMDb has to say (not much) about Snow:
Here’s a little bit more from Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_(1963_film)
If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at: