The Captive Heart (1946)

Approved   |    |  Drama, War


The Captive Heart (1946) Poster

In 1940, a concentration-camp escapee assumes the identity of a dead British officer, only to become a prisoner of war.


7/10
910

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3 March 2015 | jandesimpson
Ealing not only made good comedies
Having read a lukewarm review of "The Captive Heart" in Time Out (my cinema bible) and thinking, "They're bound to trash this one," I leaped to the IMDb reviews ready to play my "champion of the turkey" role. What a pleasurable surprise to find it not needed, that I am indeed at one with sympathetic users and critics alike in admiration for this rather special offering from the Ealing archive. Whereas the comedies from the West London studios are still admired with affection, their more serious fare tends to be overlooked. "The Captive Heart" is something of a forgotten treasure, a tribute in the wake of victory, to our gallant servicemen who spent much of the second world war as prisoners in German camps. It's another team piece in the mode of Carol Reed's better known "The Way Ahead" which takes a cross section of class types and closely observes their behaviour as they share an enforced coming together. It's all very stereotypical but if treated with sincerity, as in both films, a measure of character cliché can be forgiven. If the level of acting is fairly mediocre, particularly some of the women with those period prissy upper class accents, one part, that of Michael Redgrave as a Czech who has assumed the role of an English soldier killed in battle to escape being identified by the Germans, stands out for its quality. Where the film really scores is in its reminder of a time when people were really nice to one another particularly when brought together in adversity. Everyone mucks in to help, from comforting the young soldier when first confronted with the permanence of his lack of sight to the initially unsympathetic character who gives up his chance of repatriation to aid one who needs it more, welcome reminders of an age when it was generally normal rather than exceptional to emerge from the cinema feeling good.

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