The Captive Heart


The Captive Heart was directed by Basil Dearden. The script was written by Angus Macphail and Guy Morgan from a story by Patrick Kirwan. The associate producer and art director was Michael Relph. It was photographed by Douglas Slocombe and Alan Rawsthorne composed the music. Editor Charles Hasse. The stars are Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, Basil Radford, Jack Warner, James Hanley, Gordon Jackson, Ralph Michael, Derek Bond, Guy Middleton, Karel Stepanek, Jack Lambert, Rachel Kempson, Gladys Henson, Rachel Thomas, Jane Barrett and Grace Arnold.


A series of stories about the lives and loves of nine men in a Prisoner of War Camp over five years. Location shooting in the British occupied part of Germany adds believability. The main story is of Hasek (Redgrave) a Czech soldier who needs to keep his identity a secret from the Nazis, to do this he poses as a dead English Officer and corresponds with the man's wife. Upon liberation they meet and decide to continue their lives together. The other inmates' stories are revealed episodically.


A moving and, at times, quite passionate tale. Hasek and Celia (Kempson) fall in love through their letters though she thinks she is writing to her husband with whom she had previously had a cool relationship. When they meet after the war she realises that she does love Hasek and they stay together. Stalwart British actors such as Radford, Warner and Jackson create a capsule Britain within their Prisoner of War Camp, the film deals lightly but tenderly with their plight and their families back home. Their characters border on the sterotype but the sincerity of the film translates 'stereotype' into 'everyman'.

Ealing Studios were keen to stress the authenticity of this film. "Basil Dearden, the director, Michael Relph, the associate producer, and Angus Macphail who is now working on the script, have met and questioned many repatriated war prisoners and are working in close touch with the Red Cross and St John organizations. It is believed that there is hardly a family in the country that will not have a special interest in the film." (The Cinema 1945, Jan 3rd)

In 1949 Maurice Speed author of Film Review asked Jack Warner what was his favourite role and why? Warner replied that it was Corporal Horsfall in The Captive Heart because "..I read it right through without a stop and I knew if the tests were all right this was 'me'. It turned out even better than I had hoped and I feel it is my favourite film not only because I had a part that was really successful, but because it was the film I had dreamed about. was a film that was really worth while making."

Pre release title Lovers' Meeting. Released April 22 1946

Michael Redgrave as Captain Hasek

Back to Ealing history

Back to Ealing filmography

Back to the Top Page