This film is part of Free

Telephone (Abstract)

Early avant-garde short from the GPO, encouraging use of the telephone in an emergency.

Advert 1934 2 mins Silent


This early short from the GPO Film Unit trumpets the power of the telephone in an emergency, situating this modern marvel in a historical tradition of warning devices alongside the tom-toms of primitive man and the bonfires of the Middle Ages. The GPO favoured experimental filmmakers and artists such as Len Lye, and while this film isn’t credited to a particular director, it references this avant-garde tradition in its modernist montage of stark typography, animation and oblique soundscape.

This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.