Film info

Director: John Krish
Cast: Anthony Farrar-Hockley, Wilfrid Brambell, Ray Brooks, Alan Dobie
65 mins, 1959

A group of British soldiers are taken captive and transferred to a miserable Chinese-run prison camp. There they face a variety of assaults on their decency: torture, starvation, and endless haranguing ‘re-education’ sessions led by English-speaking Chinese officers. The psychological torments faced by the POWs eventually have them turning on one another.

Made as a curious kind of training film for selected military personnel, Captured is a far better work of cinema than the only British mainstream film about the war, A Hill in Korea (1956). The Americans would term the re-education sessions inflicted on captured men ‘brain-washing’. It became a key rhetorical weapon throughout the Cold War. Hollywood would turn out a number of POW films focused on brain-washing, from the Ronald Regan vehicle Prisoner of War (1954) to the great paranoid classic, The Manchurian Candidate (1962).