Captive Heart, The

1989. THE CAPTIVE HEART (1946-England). With Michael Redgrave, Mervyn Johns, BASIL Radford, Rachel Kempson. This powerful and deeply human drama is an absolutely superb piece of filmmaking. It is the story of several British soldiers who were among the many thousands taken prisoner by the Nazis during the summer of 1940, when England was fighting for its life against the German aggressor on battlefields from Calais to Dunkirk. These are the men who held on when the German armor marched past their lines. They are herded together and forced to hike over 200 miles through France, Belgium and Holland, to prison camps near the Rhine. If then is any one central character, it is a Czech-born concentration camp escapee named Karel Hasek. Hasek found himself sharing a foxhole with a just-killed British soldier named Geoffrey Mitchell Knowing that the Gestapo was hot on his trail, Hasek pilfered Mitchell’s papers and name tag and took on the dead man’s identity. In order to maintain the ruse, Hasek commences writing to Mitchell’s wife. The film becomes gut-wrenching as you get to see the real Mitchell’s mate. You know that her husband is dead. She doesn’t. Interestingly, Hasek and Mrs. Mitchell are played- flawlessly, by the wayÑby Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, who were married off screen and the parents of Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave. As the story unfolds, you really get to know and feel for Hasek and his comrades as they endure the hardship of captivity. There is stirring sequence after stirring sequence, from the men drowning out German propaganda blaring at them on loud speakers by singing “Roll Out the Barrel” in unison to the manner in which they respond to their letÂters from home. They struggle to overcome their fear of ending up as forgotten men, and to survive through days which are destined to blond into years. A footnote: this film was partially shot on location in the British Zone in Germany, and was in fact the first British motion picture made in Occupied Germany. 96 minutes. Drama