The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

How to Use the Telephone
How to Use the Telephone

How to Use the Telephone 1948

Close

This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.

Close

How to Use the Telephone 1948

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Law

One moment please… Let me put you through to the Kafkaesque world of civil service telephony, an inescapable labyrinth created more by incompetence than malevolence. This clever training film invites the audience to identify good and bad practice themselves, rather than using a didactic voiceover to ram a message home - it even pauses halfway to allow for discussion.

Produced by Richard Massingham's aptly named Public Relationship Films, the film emphasizes the telephone as a public face - or voice - of the Civil Service. Its effectiveness, particularly in the first half, is thanks to good casting and the performance of the actors. A succession of great expressive faces, including Massingham's own, are skilfully framed to walk a line between the comedy and frustration of the situations.

Directed by

Michael Law

Featuring

Richard Massingham

Genres

Public Information Filler Government sponsored film

Tags

Civil servants Telephone operators Telephones

Collection

Public Information Films

Released

1948

Country

United Kingdom

Language

English

Read lessRead more

Explore further

View Women after the War
Women after the War
Watch for free 11 mins

Women after the War 1946

A provoking film on the place of women made by the inimitable Richard Massingham

11 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Massingham

View Playing with Fire
Playing with Fire
Watch for free 11 mins

Playing with Fire 1947

You're asking for trouble when you play with fire - and this public information film is the stuff of nightmares

11 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Law

Subscription

View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts


Never ask | Ask me later