This film is part of Free

The Road to Hell

Melodramatic amateur fiction film protesting against the government's hated Means Test.

Amateur film 1933 33 mins Silent


Wealthy amateur filmmaker Rudolph Messel and his friend Raymond Postgate were leading lights of the Socialist Film Council. They made this film in protest at the hardship caused by the Means Test which the poor had to pass in order to qualify for help. Raymond Postgate plays the father, Daisy Postgate is Fred’s girlfriend and the film also stars novelist Naomi Mitchison as the mother.

The much-resented Household Means Test was introduced in 1931. Under this, benefits were denied to the unemployed if anyone in the family was judged by an assessment panel to be able to support them or if they had any assets which could be sold. The Labour Party has historically opposed means testing, and one of the stars of this film, Daisy Postgate, was the daughter of George Lansbury, then Leader of the Labour Party. She married Raymond Postgate and their children included Oliver Postgate, who created The Clangers - see also Vote for Froglet!