St Monans’ railway role on track

Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman iin 'The Railway Man'
Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman iin 'The Railway Man'
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The East Neuk plays a supporting role in one of the biggest movie releases of the New Year.

In cinemas from Friday, The Railway Man, starring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, tells the story of Eric Lomax’s capture and torture by the Japanese during World War II and how he eventually found peace and reconciliation after years of post-war trauma.

St Monans provided the setting for some of the scenes when they were filmed in May 2012.

The arrival of the big-name stars in the village caused a real buzz of excitement for the filming, which centred around the Auld Kirk.

The film, which is showing at the New Picture House in St Andrews, is based on the autobiography of Lomax, who died last year.

A railway enthusiast from Edinburgh, he was captured in 1942 and subjected to horrific abuse.

Church session clerk Nora Gardner said: “It is exciting for everyone in St Monans that, after all the waiting, we can now see the film.

“The trailers showed a beautiful shot of our lovely church and that shot features too in the film. The film folk were working here for more that 12 hours on a beautiful summer day and there are scenes shot at the harbour, by the doorway into the church and in the graveyard, which are all familiar to locals and those who know our lovely village.

“And, of course, the buttonholes worn by the gentlemen at the wedding were all expertly made by a team of three locals when the official ones were left behind in Glasgow!”

Huge crowds gatheredthat day and it was the busiest that many residents had ever seen the village.

One even remarked it was bigger than when Johnny Cash played at the church back in 1981.

The Spar Shop also sprang to the rescue when the buttonholes needed for the wedding scene went missing with half an hour to spare.

Janet Williamson, from the shop, with Nora Gardener and the film’s props buyer made up 17 white carnations with ferns and tinfoil stem wraps to save the day.