The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #405
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The Captive Heart (1946)

A British POW war drama about a Czechoslovak Army officer in captivity

TK Tim Kirsten Updated
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The Captive Heart (1946)

This 1946 British feature film from Ealing Studios, directed by Basil Dearden and starring Michael Redgrave and Derek Bond (himself a former POW), was filmed on location at a former German prison camp for naval officers (Marlag at Westertimke) from a script cowritten by Guy Morgan, also a former prisoner.

The Captive Heart is the most true-to-life of the British POW movies dealing with World War II. The central plot, involving the love letters between a Czech refugee and the wife of the dead British army officer he is impersonating, is fictional, and POW life in general is at times somewhat romanticized. However, many of the background events covered in the film, including the endless march into captivity, the lean times before the arrival of food parcels from the International Committee of the Red Cross, enemy propaganda efforts, the shackling incident, and other reprisals, are all based on actual events.

Hundreds of soldiers of the famous Scottish infantry regiments, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Black Watch, served as extras, adding extra veracity to the look of the film. The stresses of captivity are highlighted more than escape attempts, and unlike most POW films, The Captive Heart features Other Ranks (in the form of orderlies) prominently.

  • Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia (1939-1945)
  • Germany Nazi (1933-1945)
  • United Kingdom
Directed by:
  • Frederick Leister
  • Gladys Henson
  • Jack Warner
  • James Harcourt
  • Mervyn Johns
  • Michael Redgrave
  • Rachel Kempson
  • Rachel Thomas
  • English
WWII (1939-1945)
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