All the livelong day

Orson Welles once called a film studio “the best train set a boy ever had.” But his fellow filmmaker David Lean took a more literal approach to playing with trains. From the intimate drama of 1945’s Brief Encounter to the panoramic splendor of 1984’s A Passage to India, Lean indulged his fascination with trains throughout a storied film career. Unlike others who employed trains as dramatic settings and devices in their films (Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock come to mind), Lean seemed especially enamored of trains as visual subjects, capturing them in all their sound and fury, power and grandeur. David Kipen, director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts, presents his illustrated lecture “David Lean and the Romance of Steam Locomotion” at 2 p.m. today at the Kansas City Public Library’s Plaza Branch (4801 Main). The free lecture is presented in conjunction with the Art in the Age of Steam exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. To RSVP, call 816-701-3407 or see

Sun., Nov. 2, 2 p.m., 2008