Film ID: YFA 5723 Video of YFA_5723 What a Way to Go WHAT A WAY TO GO 1979 Visitor TabsDescription This is a comedy film made by Doug and Norah Brear, along with other members of Wakefield Cine Club. It shows a nightmare scenario whereby a man laid low with flu gets a pauper’s funeral and is nearly buried alive. The film begins with a man in bed with flu. His wife brings him several books to read: ‘Death on the Rocks’ (1978), by J R L Anderson; ‘The Touch of Death’ (1971), by John Creasley; ‘The Old Man Dies’ (1966), by Georges Simenon; and ‘A Hearse of May Day’ (1972), by Glady’s Mitchell. He then spots an ad in the local paper for Mappins Funeral Service, Wakefield. Title – What A Way To Go There is a sign for I. C. Emoff, “Specialist undertaker. The last thing in economy. Be sure of a good finish. Properly planned” (the writing only just fitting on the sign!). The undertaker puts up another sign on the window of his hut, ‘Join our Christmas club’. He answers the phone form the distraught wife of the ill man, who can be seen laid out on the bed. He waits while she measures him, and fills out a form: E. Koctis Kloggs, Flat 88, Paradise House, with zany measurements, declaring his condition as “dead”, and comments as “as cheap as possible”. He starts to construct a coffin using handles he takes off a door and other second-hand bits of wood. He is then seen pulling the coffin along on wheels along a road by a rope. He knocks at number 88 and is let in by the wife. As he nails the lid on the coffin, it slides off and goes all the way down several flights of stairs, along the way going through a “Picasso” painting being carried along by a young couple. It crosses a road, to the dismay of motorists, and into a wood where it lands in a pool of water. The undertaker finally retrieves it with a rope, as water pours out of the coffin. As he pulls it along the road motorists alert him that the body has fallen out. He continues to the cemetery where the vicar and a small group of people wait. But as he gets near the man wakes, gets out of the coffin and runs off, chased by the assembled mourners. He then wakes from his nightmare, legs still kicking, as his wife brings him a cup of tea. Title – Attwood, Brear, Carr, Micklethwaite, Walls. Context A nightmare scenario of a pauper’s funeral, as well as being buried alive, brought to life in this whimsical tale of a man laid low with flu. No, it’s not the film where Shirley MacLaine sends many a male heart racing, though it does share a deathly theme and also has a coffin falling down a flight of stairs. This is a rather more prosaic tale made in the 1970s by amateur filmmakers of what to expect at the end of days. Our hapless husband gets a basement bargain funeral that all goes wrong, reminiscent of a typical British slapstick comedy of the 1960s (or maybe, nearer the time, of Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em). This film was made by Doug and Norah Brear, along with several others, possibly also members of Wakefield Cine Club. The Brears made over 60 films between 1960 and 1985, many shown at film shows across Yorkshire by their friend and fellow filmmaker Roger Spence. It is unlikely that the film was inspired by Andre Breton, although apparently Breton coined the term “black humour”, wrote two pamphlets titled Un Cadavre (A Corpse), and dreams are central to his Surrealist Manifesto.