The Iron Maiden
|The Iron Maiden|
|Directed by||Gerald Thomas|
|Produced by||Peter Rogers
|Written by||Leslie Bricusse
Alan Hale Jr.
|Music by||Eric Rogers|
|Edited by||Archie Ludski|
|Distributed by||Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd.|
7 June 1963 (Germany)
31 December 1964 (US)
The Iron Maiden (released in the US as Swinging Maiden) is a 1962 British comedy film. The film was directed by Gerald Thomas, and stars Michael Craig, Anne Helm, Jeff Donnell, and Alan Hale, Jr. It was widely perceived as an attempt to repeat the success of the film Genevieve, with traction engines in place of vintage cars.
The film follows Jack Hopkins (played by Michael Craig), an aircraft designer with a passion for traction engines. His boss (played by Cecil Parker) is eager to sell a new supersonic jet plane that Jack has designed to American millionaire Paul Fisher (Alan Hale, Jr.). The first encounter between Fisher and Jack goes badly, and tensions only heighten after Fisher's daughter Kathy (Anne Helm) damages Jack's prize traction engine "The Iron Maiden", rendering it impossible to drive solo. Jack is desperate to enter the annual Woburn Abbey steam rally with the machine, but his fireman is injured and unable to participate. When all seems lost the millionaire himself is won over by Jack's plight and joins him in driving the engine; the two soon become firm friends.
After an eventful journey Fisher and Jack reach Woburn Abbey and enter the rally, only for Fisher to injure his back at the last minute. When all seems lost his daughter, the sceptical Kathy, appears and joins Jack in the engine. The two pilot the Iron Maiden from last place to first, winning the rally; at the finish line Jack and Kathy embrace and kiss, while the Iron Maiden boils over and explodes. The engine is memorialised though when Jack's new jet is named after it.
A Handley Page Victor subsonic bomber features prominently in the film as the prototype of Jack Hopkins's supersonic jetliner. A number of sequences show the plane in close-up, taxiing, taking off, climbing, flying past and landing with parachute deployed. These scenes were filmed at Radlett Aerodrome.
- Michael Craig as Jack Hopkins
- Anne Helm as Kathy Fisher
- Jeff Donnell as Miriam Fisher
- Alan Hale Jr. as Paul Fisher
- Noel Purcell as Admiral Sir Digby Trevelyan
- Cecil Parker as Sir Giles Thompson
- Roland Culver as Lord Upshott
- Joan Sims as Nellie Trotter
- John Standing as Humphrey Gore-Brown
- Brian Oulton as Vicar
- Sam Kydd as Fred Trotter
- Judith Furse as Mrs. Webb
- Richard Thorp as Harry Markham
- Jim Dale as Bill
- George Woodbridge as Sid Ludge
- Ian Wilson as Sidney Webb
- Brian Rawlinson as Albert, Village Constable
"The Iron Maiden" in real life
The traction engine that featured as The Iron Maiden was a John Fowler & Co. 7nhp showman's road locomotive (works no. 15657, reg no. FX 6661). She was built in September 1920 as a class R3 road locomotive for heavy haulage work and saw many years' service on the Isle of Portland, hauling blocks of stone from the quarries to the harbour.
She returned to Fowler's works for conversion into a showman's engine, which entailed the addition of a dynamo bracket in front of the chimney, and a full-length canopy, among other things. Once converted she was based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, and undertook fairground work, until bought for preservation in 1952. From new she was named Kitchener – until the film was made, whereupon she was renamed The Iron Maiden.
The engine was first owned during restoration by John Crawley, the man behind its use in the filming of 'The Iron Maiden'. It was then sold to George Hawkins, before passing into the Dr Tony Marchington collection in Derbyshire, following its sale at the 1993 Great Dorset Steam Fair and became part of the same collection as Flying Scotsman, Nigel Gresley's world famous LNER rail locomotive. The Iron Maiden is today owned by Graeme Atkinson, who displays the engine alongside a collection of other engines and fair organs as part of the Scarborough Fair Collection, at his holiday park in Lebberston, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The engine was featured on the cover of the Official Programme for the 38th Great Dorset Steam Fair, in 2006, and continues to make regular appearances at that event.
- 37th Great Dorset Steam Fair, 2005 – Official Programme. Ian Allan. August 2005. p. 12.
- 38th Great Dorset Steam Fair, 2006 – Official Programme. Ian Allan. August 2006. p. 12.