Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
I Stopped, I Looked and I Listened (1975)


Main image of I Stopped, I Looked and I Listened (1975)
16mm, colour, 18 mins
DirectorJohn Krish
Production CompanyMoving Picture Company
SponsorDepartment of the Environment

Members of the Lewisham Darby and Joan Club discussing road safety and comparing today's difficult traffic conditions with the more leisurely conditions they once knew.

Show full synopsis

I Stopped, I Looked and I Listened, like John Krish's previous film Drive Carefully, Darling (also 1975), was a road safety film for the Department of the Environment. But the two pieces could not otherwise have been more different. Completely avoiding any use of fictional narrative, Krish met the film's purpose of encouraging old people to safely cross the road by filming the members of a Darby and Joan Club talking about road safety, and other subjects.

This apparently artless approach turns out to be remarkably effective. It exemplifies Krish's approach to making 'message' films: to base the style and content of the film on the needs and likely responses of its target audience. In this case, the reasoning was that older people were more likely to listen to the thoughts of their peers freely shared in a relaxed setting with which they could identify, than to a more contrived, didactic message. Book-ending these thoughts are photographs and songs suggesting the faded eras to which several of the speakers refer (Krish echoes, here, the use of music hall songs to enliven his earlier classic The Elephant Will Never Forget, 1953)

The film's editing is particularly subtle: only several minutes into the film are road safety issues discussed, and by this time the viewer is already hooked. Even in a film made for so specific a purpose, Krish's essential humanism is very evident - and, decades later, all the more emotionally engaging. We witness his subjects sharing memories stretching as far back as the Boer War, memories which they are no longer with us to share directly. Recalled in so unpretentious a setting, for so straightforward a purpose, the effect is strangely, deeply moving.

Patrick Russell

*This film is included in the BFI DVD compilation 'The COI Collection Volume 4: Stop! Look! Listen!'.

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. The pelican crossing (1:12)
2. The dangers (1:18)
3. The old days (3:22)
Drive Carefully, Darling (1975)
Pedestrian Crossing (1948)
Worth the Risk? (1948)
Krish, John (1923- )