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For Those in Peril

For Those in Peril is a 1944 British war film produced by Ealing Studios. The film marked the directorial debut of Charles Crichton and its basic and relatively slight storyline was an end to produce a film with a documentary feel and an element of wartime propaganda. For Those in Peril was developed from a short story by Richard Hillary, an RAF pilot killed in action in January 1943.



Aspiring RAF pilot Rawlings (Ralph Michael) fails to make the grade in training, and begrudgingly accepts the alternative of joining the crew of an air-sea rescue craft skippered by Murray (David Farrar). Rawlings is initially resentful and bored by the apparent mundanity and lack of excitement of the life, until the vessel is called on to rescue the crew of an RAF bomber shot down in mid-Channel. Having accomplished the rescue, the boat runs into an enemy minefield during its return and is attacked by German air and sea forces. Murray is killed, and Rawlings must take charge and bring the vessel safely back to shore.


  • David Farrar as Murray
  • Ralph Michael as Rawlings
  • John Slater as Wilkie
  • Robert Wyndham as Leverett
  • Robert Griffith as Coxswain
  • John Batten as Wireless Officer
  • Tony Bazell as Overton
  • Peter Arne as Junior Officer
  • James Robertson Justice as Operations Room Officer (first screen appearance)


For Those in Peril was designed to publicise a then little-known sidearm of the British Royal Air Force, the Air Sea Rescue Unit which was set up in 1941 with the aim of saving those in distress at sea, particularly airmen who had been shot down or otherwise forced to ditch their craft in the water. In common with a number of other war-related films made by Ealing at this time the plotline was subservient to the propaganda message, so name actors were generally not used, and genuine sailors featured in the action scenes.

Location filming took place mainly in the area around the port of Newhaven in Sussex, with the English Channel sequences being shot off the Sussex coast. Crichton, on his first directorial assignment, later recalled: "(My) first picture...was a propaganda picture called For Those in Peril where we rushed around the Channel in high speed motorboats, boats which were used for picking up crashed airmen and so on. It's a horrifying thing to say, but it was very exciting."[1]


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