The Call for Arms

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A Call for Arms
Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst
Written by Rodney Ackland
Terence Young
Starring Jean Gillie
Rene Ray
Distributed by Ministry of Information
Release date
  • 1940 (1940)
Running time
7 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

A Call for Arms is a 1940 British propaganda short film, directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Jean Gillie and Rene Ray. The film was commissioned by the Ministry of Information and was aimed at women, urging them to sign up for war work and can be watched here


Chorus girls Irene and Joan are discussing the war in their dressing room. Joan flicks through a copy of Picture Post with "Your Country Needs You" on the cover, and says she doesn't think she'd be cut out for war work and doesn't like being made to feel guilty about not volunteering. Irene says she has been thinking about it. As they leave by the stage door, a woman faints on the pavement in front of them. A newspaper seller says that the woman has just finished a 12-hour shift in a munitions factory and is exhausted, and that such long hours are necessary because of the shortage of workers.

Irene is spurred to offer to work in munitions and is seen on her first shift being shown the ropes. When she gets home to the flat she shares with Joan, she immediately falls asleep. On her next shift she learns that a co-worker has just been given the news that her son is missing in action. As she comes off her shift, she finds Joan in the changing room, having just volunteered herself. An urgent message comes through that extra bullets are required. Rather than going home to sleep, Irene turns round and goes back to work with Joan.



Theirs is the Glory. Arnhem, Hurst and Conflict on Film takes film director Brian Desmond Hurst's Battle of Arnhem epic as its centerpiece and chronicles Hurst's ten films on conflict including A Fall For Arms. Released in hardback on 15 September 2016 with almost 400 pages and over 350 images "this book also shows why Hurst was an enigma, but a master of the genre, and at his very best when focusing on the vast canvas of film" (from dust jacket). ISBN 978-1-911096-63-4. Publisher Helion and Company and co-authored by David Truesdale and Allan Esler Smith.

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