A film fest dedicated to all things Underground kicks off this weekend in London. Hosted by the London Transport Museum, the festival, called Underground: 70 Years on Film, starts Sunday night with a "subterranean tale of love, jealousy and murder," otherwise known as Anthony Asquith's Underground (1928). The recently restored film also features a brand new score by Neil Brand, recorded in 2012.
The films continue every Sunday evening thereafter until December 1. November 17 is an evening of vintage London Transport newsreels, instructional short films from the 1940s that depict the "experimental buses and trains, new canteens and radio systems" that were coming into widespread use at the time.
In fact, this last example pretty much indicates the tone of the festival in general: more anthropological than action-packed, more subterranean trainspotting than summer blockbuster, but something of a gold mine for anyone interested in seeing how the Tube became such a central functioning part of the British metropolis. Short documentaries on "early tunnelling work" and the installation of "new signalling and control system[s]" round out the fest, creating a kind of narrative non-fiction glimpse of the city's buried nervous system, where trains splice and meander around in the foundations of the city, and tunnels lined with flood proof wires and circuits have kept it all weaving together for the past 150 years. [London Transport Museum]
Opening image — the construction of the Piccadilly Line, 1930 — via Fox Photos/Getty Images.