Film: 785

Feature Comedy | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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French railway comedy 1950's

Gargousse is the local stationmaster, one of whose sidelines is local poacher. However, he is none too happy with the village mayor of Trepigny who has some ideas too revolutionary and modern for Gargousse's liking. The mayor wishes to replace the railway line with a bus service, resulting in Gargousse leading a campaign to evict the mayor, Following an indescribable chase between bus and train, Gargousse achieves the resignation of the mayor.
The film comedy was made in the summer of 1937 on the Chemins de fer de Provence (CP), a French metre gauge system, much of which has now closed. The action took place between Entrevaux and Puget Theniers, a section of the CP between Nice and Digne which ironically remains open as the main line in 1997 - 60 years later.
The steam locomotive featured is CP's No.11, a 2-4-0 built by SACM in 1898. Named "Fayence" after one of the villages westwards on the closed CP line between Grasse and Meyerargues, she was the survivor of a class numbering 8 locomotives, being retired in January 1943 and scrapped in January 1950. No.11 starred in numerous films including 'Erneste le Rebelle' and 'Les Pirates du Rail' by Christian-Jaque.
Gargousse was played by Bach, who also appeared alongside Fernandel in 'Le Train a 8hr47' in 1934. Again this was directed by Henry Wulschleger, being the second and best of three versions of the novel by Georges Courteline.

French version, using the identical story of rivalry between a bus company and a local railway under threat of closure, to the Tittfield Thunderbolt, made on a lovely French narrow gauge line and using an old French charabanc.
Only an odd reel seems to survive, featuring a chase between the bus and the train hauled by 'old No 11'.

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