This film is part of Free

The Volunteer

Entertaining and evocative Fleet Air Arm drama-doc propaganda piece, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Government sponsored film 1944 42 mins


Intelligent, well-made WWII propaganda. Clumsy Fred Davey isn’t much of a theatrical dresser, as his thespian boss, played by Ralph Richardson, discovers. But he finds his true vocation in the forces. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made this stirring mini-feature, which follows a young volunteer's progress from enlistment in the Navy's Fleet Air Arm to his subsequent decoration for valour.

This fascinating film also features behind-the-scenes footage shot at Denham Studios. Among the celebrities glimpsed are actress Anna Neagle – seen leaving the studio canteen - and the great Laurence Olivier - caught pulling funny faces through a window. Director Powell appears briefly too, playing a photographer. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.