- 3 Oct 2016
Source: hidden Europe
The film may be watched on YouTube (33 minutes). A short (4 minutes) extract is also available.This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of a film which deserves to be better known. 1961 was of course the year of Westside Story, but there was another 1961 film which is pure gold when it comes to heritage cinema.
The film director John Schlesinger was largely unknown when in 1960 he was persuaded by Edgar Anstey to make a documentary for British Transport Films (BTF).
Schlesinger suggested “something on Sussex, Brighton perhaps.” Anstey countered with a proposal that a documentary on a large railway station might be good. Still clinging to the idea of Sussex, Schlesinger suggested the busy terminus at Brighton as a strong candidate. But in the end Anstey pressed the case for Waterloo station in London. I
With the BTF contract agreed in early summer 1960, Schlesinger spent many long days (and nights) roaming the concourse and platforms at Waterloo.
Sixty years ago, filming was not as lightweight and agile as it is today, and there were particular challenges in recording live sounds in busy settings such as at a London railway station. So some of the scenes were staged, although Schlesinger insisted that these recalled incidents he had seen during his August 1960 research at Waterloo. “It was scripted to a point,” recalled Schlesinger later in life.