The Captive Heart

The Captive Heart

Basil Dearden (1946)

PG Certificate


Our Score
British cinema produced many fine prisoner-of-war movies, but this, made within a year of the liberation of the camps, is one of the best. Both Graham Greene's novel The Tenth Man and Billy Wilder's film Stalag 17 owe debts to it. Perhaps the most notable thing about the production is the almost documentary-like re-creation of the boredom, frustration and claustrophobia of stalag life. Basil Dearden's meticulous direction keeps melodrama at bay, but the real power of the piece comes from the performance of Michael Redgrave, who is superb as the frightened Czech whose deceptions arouse the suspicions of friend and foe alike.


A concentration camp escapee assumes the identity of a dead British captain, only to be captured by German forces in the aftermath of Dunkirk. To help maintain the deception while being held as a prisoner of war, he begins a correspondence with the real officer's widow. Second World War drama, starring Michael Redgrave, Jack Warner and Rachel Kempson.

Cast & Crew

Capt Karel Hasek Michael Redgrave
Cpl Horsfall Jack Warner
Celia Mitchell Rachel Kempson
Pte Evans Mervyn Johns
Lt Lennox Gordon Jackson
Mr Mowbray Frederick Leister
Mrs Horsfall Gladys Henson
Mrs Lennox Elliot Mason
Director Basil Dearden
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Eagle Lion Distribution LtdAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray