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Coughs and Sneezes (1945)


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 montage of irritating practical jokes: a man opens a door, toppling a pile of books on his head; a man carrying a bucket of water is tripped over; a man fishing by a river has his stool kicked away as he bends to sit; another man is kicked into the water.

Another man, in a crowded cinema, sneezes violently, without using a handkerchief. He does so again in a crowded lift, in a queue, and in an office. The narrator explains that while practical jokers can be a nuisance, they are nothing compared to a man such as this, who can be a public health risk.

The man is siezed by the collar to be taught a lesson. The narrator tells him he may have infected thousands of people already. An unseen second man takes the handkerchief from the man's top pocket, while the narrator asks him what he thinks it is for. The man mimes wiping his nose. The second man opens the handkerchief for him and holds it in front of the man's nose, telling him to sneeze. When the man is unable to, the second man sprinkles pepper in front of his nose. The man sneezes, violently and repeatedly, finally getting the point about using a handkerchief properly. He continues sneezing.