Dr. Mark Davidson (John Neville), government scientist, meets a mysterious woman and is married quickly. He knows little of her past. His government superiors want to know more about his ... See full summary »
This extended public information film (fifteen minutes) aims to encourage safer driving from male drivers in particular.It starts with an in-vision piece by Frank Bough, probably the best-known presenter of his day. Bough explains how we go about our lives but as soon as we get into our cars, "we are prepared to blow things sky-high".
The film then switches to an ingenious dramatised insight into the mind of an otherwise unseen male driver. It starts with his wife and son seeing him off to work with her telling him to, "Drive carefully darling". We then see our driver on his journey, observing his thought processes mapped-out in a futuristic computerised command centre in his head. This features the Brain (Colin Baker), Memory (Christopher Owen) and Ego (John Challis).
While Memory tries to inject a little caution into his driving, the reckless, impetuous Ego tends to take charge. We see this as the driver commits a number of potentially dangerous faults such as cutting the corner at junctions, driving too fast on country roads and motorways, driving too close to other vehicles and even racing other drivers. Driving is seen as an exercise in machismo as the male driver tries to show his skill and daring. At one point Memory stresses that as an experienced driver he should know better and Ego replies that, "Experience teaches you how to bend the rules and how to get out of trouble when you do". Memory points out how well he can drive with the family in the car but Ego and Brain are not swayed: alone in the car, driving simply becomes an adventure and trial of strength.
Given the nature of this kind of film the ending is certainly not a surprise but it remains supremely well done, splendidly inter-cut with images of his wife going about her shopping oblivious to her husband's progress. In one very telling sequence we see her bump trolleys with another shopper and the pair politely and cheerfully apologise to each other. The contrast with the aggressive behaviour of the male drivers, unwilling to offer each other any consideration at all, could not be more telling.
It is in no way surprising that such a gem should come from John Krish who was a master of this genre, especially on the subject of road safety. The messages on the screen are no less relevant almost forty years later to drivers of both sexes but it still tends to be males who drive in this manner. As the film suggests, the consequences of bad driving are visited not just on drivers but also on their families. Even leaving that aside it is a riveting piece of drama-documentary, thankfully now available on DVD.
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