In celebration of the tube’s 150th anniversary comes this painstakingly restored print of a classic British silent movie, which unfolds in and around the London Underground of 1928. Eyes meet across a Northern Line carriage and soon Bert (Cyril McLaglen) is pursuing the alluring Nell (Elissa Landi), though she’s already involved with dashing ticket inspector Bill (Brian Aherne). Tensions between the two men soon escalate into violent confrontation, which threatens the safety of the network when the action switches to Bert’s workplace – the LU’s Lots Road Power Station.
Extensive filming in and around Waterloo tube station provides cherished vintage period detail of uplighters on the escalators, smoking on the trains and pre-Harry Beck route maps. But the film’s much more than a mere time capsule. True, the plot is somewhat coincidence-prone but it’s delivered with muscular performances and an array of thrillingly mobile camerawork from the oft-undervalued Asquith – its sweep from lyricism to high tension is matched by Neil Brand’s cracking new orchestral score. An utterly splendid achievement all round.