Title ID 8402Collection ID1189
TitleHow to Stop a Motor Car
CollectionEarly Films
ThemeEarly film in the South East Transport
KeywordsAccidents Cars
RegionalGreater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionCecil Hepworth
DirectorPercy Stow
CastCecil Hepworth (driver)
FormatBlack & White Silent
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An inspector demonstrates the correct way to stop careless drivers after a policeman falls to pieces after a collision with a motorcar in this 1902 comedy from Cecil Hepworth.


A policeman lifts his arm to stop a passing motorcar. The couple fail to stop, colliding with the policeman. His newly fragmented body lies in the road and the car drives on. the pieces start to fly back together, dancing wildly as they regroup. He starts to crawl around in search of his hat. As he blows his whistle furiously, an inspector appears. The policeman begins to recount his experience. Both animatedly gesture towards one another. The inspector helps him to stand and then walk. Further along the road, the inspector spots the careless couple in their car. He pushes the policeman out of the way and turns his back towards the oncoming vehicle. Bending over, the car knocks against him and is repelled backwards into the hedge at the side of the road. The two men go over to the car.

Contextual information

Percy Stow was associated with Hepworth from 1901 to 1903, directing among others Alice and Wonderland (1903) before leaving to found Clarendon Film Company.

Related titles

Related resources


Hepworth, Cecil. Came the Dawn: Memories of a Film Pioneer n.p. London: Phoenix House

Date: 1951 Autobiography by Cecil Hepworth.

Barnes, John. The Beginnings of the Cinema in England 1894-1901. Five Volumes, n.p. University of Exeter Press

Date: 1996-1998 All five volumes of John Barnes’s archaeological study of early cinema charts its development between 1894 and 1901. Barnes founded the Barnes Museum of Cinematography with his brother William in the 1960s. The collection provided primary material for Barnes’s study of early cinema.

Low, Rachael. The History of the British Film 1906-1914. n.p. London: Allen and Unwin

Date: 1973 Volumes 1-4 contain material on Hepworth and his films.

Gifford, Denis. “Fitz: The Old Man of the Screen.” in Charles Barr (ed.) All Our Yesterdays

Date: 1986


BFI National Archive, British Film Institute, London

Holds copies of many Hepworth films.

Further Information on File at Screen Archive South East

BFI National Archive, copy kept on file SASE 950000.


BFI Screenonline: Cecil Hepworth

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Lewin Fitzhamon

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

BFI Screenonline: Percy Stow

BFI resource providing biographical overview and film synopses.

Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema: Cecil Hepworth

Provides biographical overview and further reading.

Hepworth Films

Website dedicated to the life and work of Cecil Hepworth, includes information on his ‘film stars’, such as Alma Taylor and Chrissie White.