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How to be Eccentric, The Essential Richard Massingham on DVD in August

16 July 2015

Richard Massingham’s face was instantly recognisable to cinema-goers in Britain during the 1940s. His performances as the well-meaning but bumbling everyman in a series of imaginative shorts, provided instructions to the public on everything from how to cross roads to the correct way to sneeze into a handkerchief and the need to bathe in just five inches of water during wartime rationing.

On 24 August 2015, the BFI brings these enjoyable films to DVD for the first time in How to be Eccentric, The Essential Richard Massingham at the RRP of £19.99.

Marked by a wonderfully inventive combination of comedy, instruction, surrealism and whimsy, these films not only starred Massingham, but were also often produced and directed by him. This essential collection, selected from films preserved in the BFI National Archive, celebrates this extraordinary figure and reveals him to be one of British cinema’s most fascinating and enduring eccentrics.

The films are accompanied by a 34-page illustrated booklet with essays, a biography of Richard Massingham and notes on each film.

The films are:

  • Tell Me If It Hurts (1934)
  • Coughs and Sneezes (1945)
  • Jet-propelled Germs (1948)
  • Handkerchief Drill (1949)
  • Another Case of Poisoning (1949)
  • The Cure (1950)
  • The Five Inch Bather (1942)
  • Post Early for Christmas (1943)
  • In Which We Live: Being the Life Story of a Suit Told by Itself (1943)
  • Elopement in France (1944)
  • Down at the Local (1945)
  • An Englishman’s Home……. (1946)
  • Moving House (1950)
  • What a Life (1948)
  • Watch Your Meters (1947)
  • Warning to Travellers (1949)
  • Help Yourself (1950)
  • Pool of Contentment (1946)
  • Pedal Cyclists (1947)
  • Pedestrian Crossing (1948)30 Miles an Hour (1949)
  • Introducing the New Worker (1951)

As a taster, here's one of Massingham’s best-known films, Coughs and Sneezes: