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Film / A Shocking Accident

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A Shocking Accident is a 1982 short film directed by James Scott.

It is based on a short story by Graham Greene. A nine-year-old boy named Jerome Weatherby, off at boarding school, is called into the headmaster's office, where he gets terrible news. His father, a travel writer, was killed in Naples. His father's death was a most unusual one: a pig fell on him. Apparently townsfolk in Naples are given to keep pigs on balconies, and when this particular pig got too fat, the balcony gave way, and the pig fell five stories onto Mr. Weatherby's head.

Poor Jerome is now an orphan with an embarrassing secret. His schoolmates mock him relentlessly and call him "Pig". Later, the adult Jerome (played by Rupert Everett in his film debut) has to deal with would-be girlfriends dissolving into laughter when he tells them how his father died. Jerome grows reluctant to tell anyone how his father died.



  • Age Cut: There's a cut from 12-year-old Jerome regarding the last post card his father sent, to Jerome as a young man played by Rupert Everett.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Jerome often looks at an old picture of his father, wearing a frown. At the end of the story when Jerome realizes that Sally really is the girl for him, the picture of his father smiles.
  • Boarding School: Where Jerome spends his school years. The other kids mock him ruthlessly over the bizarre way his father died.
  • Call-Back: When young Jerome is told that his father died when a pig fell on him, his immediate reaction is to ask "What happened to the pig?" Many years later when his girlfriend Sally is told the story, she asks the exact same question.
  • Identical Grandson: Mr. Weatherby and his son Jerome are both played by Rupert Everett.
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  • Imagine Spot: When Jerome is first told of his father's death in Naples, he imagines a Mafia-style hit in which his dad is shot in the streets. The true story is a lot more embarrassing.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The kids at boarding school are still making fun of Jerome and his late father three years after his father's death.
  • Spit Take: Amanda, a possible match for Jerome that his aunt has invited over, is sipping on tea when Aunt Joyce says her brother died from having a pig fall on him. Amanda snorts with laughter and spits out her tea.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: While previous possible girlfriends laughed when told the story of the pig falling on Mr. Weatherby, Sally asks "What happened to the pig?" This is the same question Jerome asked as a boy, and it convinces Jerome that Sally is the girl for him.
  • Title Drop: The headmaster describes the death of Jerome's father as "a shocking accident", and his Aunt Joyce, who takes custody of him, uses this same phrase twice.
  • Undignified Death: Getting squashed by a falling pig is an embarrassing way to go.