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The Captive Heart (1946)

Approved | | War , Drama | 29 April 1946 (UK)
In 1940, a concentration-camp escapee assumes the identity of a dead British officer, only to become a prisoner of war.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

Angus MacPhail (screenplay), Guy Morgan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Redgrave ... Capt. Karel Hasek
Rachel Kempson ... Celia Mitchell
Frederick Leister Frederick Leister ... Mr. Mowbray
Mervyn Johns ... Pte. Evans
Rachel Thomas Rachel Thomas ... Mrs. Evans
Jack Warner ... Cpl. Horsfall
Gladys Henson Gladys Henson ... Mrs. Horsfall
James Harcourt James Harcourt ... Doctor
Gordon Jackson ... Lieut. Lennox
Elliott Mason Elliott Mason ... Mrs. Lennox (as Elliot Mason)
Margot Fitzsimons Margot Fitzsimons ... Elspeth McDougall
David Keir David Keir ... Mr. McDougall
Derek Bond ... Lieut.Harley
Jane Barrett Jane Barrett ... Caroline Harley
Meriel Forbes Meriel Forbes ... Beryl Curtiss
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Storyline

After the evacuation at Dunkirk, June 1940, some thousands of British prisoners are sent to German P.O.W. camps. One such group includes "Capt. Geoffrey Mitchell," a concentration-camp escapee who assumed the identity of a dead British officer. To avoid exposure, "Mitchell" must correspond with the dead man's estranged wife Celia. But eventual exposure seems certain, and the men must find a way to get him out. If he reaches England, though, what will his reception be? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Would you forge love letters to save your life?

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

29 April 1946 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Corazón cautivo See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ealing Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 2016 digital restoration was funded by StudioCanal in collaboration with the British Film Institute's "Unlocking Film Heritage" digitalization program, which is part funded by the UK's National Lottery. See more »

Goofs

Capt. Hasek states that he escaped from Dachau. Nobody ever successfully escaped from this concentration camp, except Hans Beimer in 1933. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. Mathews: [discussing his escape plans with Horsfall and Evans] Why, all I have to do is stow away in one of those garbage bins or something. Why, it's as easy as kiss your...
[sees Mitchell approach]
Capt. Karel Hasek, alias Geoffrey Mitchell: If you're planning an escape, Mathews, may I give you a piece of advice? Individual escapes hardly ever succeed. These things have to be very carefully planned and co-ordinated by a whole group.
Pvt. Mathews: All the same, sir, I'm going to have a go at it. If you have no objections!
Capt. Karel Hasek, alias Geoffrey Mitchell: Well... Good luck to you.
[walks off]
Pvt. Mathews: ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: This film is based on fact but the characters are fictitious. Any similarity to any name or individual is coincidental. See more »


Soundtracks

Roll Out the Barrel
("The Beer Barrel Polka") (uncredited)
Music by Jaromir Vejvoda and Eduard Ingris, Czech lyrics by Vasek Zeman, English lyrics by Lew Brown and Wladimir A. Timm
Sung by the prisoners to drown out the camp speakers and by the repatriated troops as they arrive home
See more »

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User Reviews

Hearts and Minds
3 October 2016 | by sol-See all my reviews

Having assumed the identity of a deceased British soldier to avoid being sent to back to a concentration camp, a Czech civilian winds up at a prisoner-of-war camp where he must convince his suspicious inmates that he is not a German mole in this Ealing Studios drama. Often regarded as the first World War II P.O.W. movie, filmed in actual German locations, 'The Captive Heart' has a lot of interest to it. The screenplay is not without its flaws. The protagonist convinces the Brits of his true identity a little too quickly for credibility. There are also far too many subplots in the mix, with only Gordon Jackson as a blinded officer of any interest; the rest of the characters are bland and the episodic structure subtracts from the immediacy of the protagonist's ordeal. Michael Redgrave is superb in the lead role though with everything he has to endure, even allowing his hand to be smashed in a heart-wrenching scene in order to be able to explain the difference in his handwriting when writing letters to the wife of the soldier whose identity he took. In fact, this one of the major narrative strands of the movie with personal identity issues briefly arising as Redgrave finds that he has to fake correspondence "home" to avoid the Germans catching onto his real identity. Add in some luscious, mobile cinematography from Douglas Slocombe (note the gradual zooms-in as Jackson's bandages are removed and the exterior shots that track and pan over the soldiers at attention) and 'The Captive Heart' is a film with a lot to like about it, imperfect as it may be.


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