This film is part of Free

Inter-city Magic

Not-so-special special effects add the magic touch to this kitsch British Rail commercial.

Documentary 1977 1 mins Silent


In the year of Star Wars, rather more homely SFX are the magic ingredient of this good-humoured British Rail ad. The travelling matte photography may seem laughable compared to today's green screen effects, but the creative concept neatly encapsulates the message: InterCity equals comfort, speed and value. Plus, seen through the post-privatisation rear-view mirror, British Ral's much-maligned catering looks unbelievably luxurious.

The ad was produced by British Transport Films, BR's experienced in-house film unit. Famed for longer documentaries, in the 1970s BTF also competed with external producers for BR's advertising contracts. The director of this particular commercial was freelancer Paul Dickson – a veteran filmmaker best known for his fine documentaries David (1950) and The Undefeated (1951). Dickson subsequently freelanced across practically every sector of British film and TV - commercials included.