Toccata for Toy Trains
Toccata for Toy Trains is also the title of the instrumental music composed for the film by Elmer Bernstein, a frequent collaborator on the Eames films.
The film features mostly antique toy trains moving within fanciful settings to a toccata. Other antique toys, such as dolls (representing passengers and townspeople), automobiles and horse-drawn carriages are featured.
Most of the toys come from a mix of museum and private collections, including that of the Museum of the City of New York, and apparently date from before the 1920s. The film is shot from a toy's-eye-view, as if the viewer is following the journey of trains from two cities, beginning with the busy activity of the departure train station and surrounding downtown neighborhood, traveling across the countryside, and ending with trains pulling into the arrival station.
A short opening narration by Charles Eames, set in a roundhouse, extols the design merits of toys, especially antique toys, with their "direct and unembarrassed manner", versus scale models. Eames says the modern era has lost the art of toymaking in the attempt to have "a perfect little copy of the real thing".
- "Toccata for Toy Trains" in The Films of Charles & Ray Eames (Volume 2). Image Entertainment, 2005. ASIN B0009S2K92
- Toccata for Toy Trains at the Internet Movie Database
- Toccata for Toy Trains program note from the 1957 San Francisco International Film Festival
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