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Oscars stars Ralph Fiennes, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth bring Hollywood to Kent in The Railway Man and The Invisible Woman

05 January 2014
by Nicola Jordan

Oscar winners Firth and Kidman star in The Railway Man, which tells the true story of a tormented former soldier, haunted by his past as a prisoner during the Second World War.

Firth plays Eric Lomax, who wrote about his experiences, including working on the Thai-Burma railway, in his book The Railway Man.

Colin Firth stars in Railway Man

Colin Firth stars in Railway Man

The book featured Lomax’s fellow prisoner Fred Smith, whose home at the time was in Palmerston Road in Chatham.

The pair shared a cramped cell at the infamous Outram Road jail in Singapore where they were both subjected to appalling torture.

In his book, Mr Lomax described Mr Smith as: “A person who combined stoicism with good humour and immense physical toughness.”

The two men only met once after the war.

Mr Smith, who later moved to Walderslade, died in 1989 aged 77. Mr Lomax died in 2012 at the age of 93.

The film is due to come to our cinema screens next Friday, January 10.

Actor Ralph Fiennes

Actor Ralph Fiennes


Kidman plays Mr Lomax’s wife Patti while War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine stars as the young Eric.

The Constant Gardener star Fiennes is taking the role of Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, a film about the author’s secret mistress Nelly Ternan, who gave birth to his stillborn son.

The film shows Oscar nominee Fiennes as Dickens, snipping a lock of black hair from the dead infant’s head before signing the death certificate as Charles Tringham.

The story was initially passed down by two of Dickens’ children years after his death in 1870 at the age of 58.

Dickens expert Claire Tomalin, who published a biography of Ternan in 1990, believes the child was born in Paris.

She said: “Any written certificates about birth or death would most likely have been destroyed in the political chaos of the time.

The Invisible Woman is due for release on February 7.

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