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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.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


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


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


Would you forge love letters to save your life?


War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

29 April 1946 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Corazón cautivo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Producer Michael Balcon was interested in telling a story about the British prisoner of war experience as his wife, Aileen, was a Red Cross nurse who had dealt with repatriating POWs at the end of the war. See more »


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


Cpl. Ted Horsfall: [watches as Evans begins planting his vegetable garden in the spring of 1944] Trying leeks again this year?
Pvt. Don Evans: I was thinking of trying some asparagus.
Cpl. Ted Horsfall: Asparagus? That takes seven years, Don.
Pvt. Don Evans: [sadly] Aye.
Cpl. Ted Horsfall: [referring to the war] I don't give it more than another year, meself.
Pvt. Don Evans: Another year? Meredith will be four.
Cpl. Ted Horsfall: Flo's hair's gone all white, she says.
Pvt. Don Evans: Everything's changing. Do you think we'll be able to pick it up? The business, and everything?
Cpl. Ted Horsfall: Search me. We're not as young as we were.
Pvt. Don Evans: No. We're not as...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: France - June 1940 See more »


Featured in Arena: Cinema (1977) See more »


There'll Always Be An England
Written by Ross Parker and Hugh Charles
Whistled as the prisoners arrive at the camp
See more »

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User Reviews

Hearts and Minds
3 October 2016 | by 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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