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What a Life! (1948)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

A man wakes up and dresses. He goes downstairs and switches off the radio when further economic cuts are announced. His wife tells him to enjoy his breakfast since it is his bacon ration for the week. His toast is burnt and she talks continually while he eats. He leaves for work.

Another man walks to the bus stop and joins the queue. Two other men complain about petrol rationing, which means they have to take the bus. The man is left at the stop because the bus is full. The first man listens to two women moaning on the train. The second man overhears two boys moaning. Throughout the day, both men are worn down hearing the complaints and dire predictions of others.

The two men sit next to each other in a pub. While the second man sighs and murmurs disconsolately, the other nods his agreement. They drink together. The second man shows the first a depressing headline. They have another drink. The second man asks how the trains run and the second names one. They take the train to the coast and row out a little, before putting millstones around their necks. They stand and lower the boat's Union Jack. Watching the portentous sky, they clasp hands and fall into the water. Coming to the surface, they realise they can stand and burst into laughter.

They return to the pub in time for last orders and see two men like their earlier selves, looking miserable at the bar. They begin laughing again.