This film is part of Free

What a Way to Go

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.

Amateur film 1979 5 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


No, 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.