Hubal (1973)




Director:     Bohdan Poreba. 

Cast:     Ryszard Filipski (Maj. Henryk 'Hubal' Dobrzanski), Malgorzata Potocka (Marianna 'Tereska' Cel), Tadeusz Janczar (Capt. Maciej 'Kotwicz' Kalenkiewicz), Emil Karewicz (Capt. Stanislaw Soltykiewicz), Andrzej Kozak (Post Office Worker Maruszewski), Zygmunt Malanowicz (Priest Ludwik Mucha), Stanislaw Niwinski (Plat. Jzef Alicki), Jzef Nowak (Col. Leopold 'Miller' Okulicki), Tadeusz Schmidt (Bania), Kazimierz Wichniarz (Priest Ptaszynski), Jerzy Aleksander Braszka (Cpl. Franciszek 'Lis' Glowacz), Henryk Gizycki (Lt. Modest 'Klin' Iljin), Boleslaw Idziak (Lt. Feliks 'Korab' Karpinski), Jerzy Korsztyn (Ens. Zygmunt 'Bem' Morawski), Eugeniusz Kujawski (Lt. 'Samson' Maslowski).

a Polish leader and his band of soldiers continue to fight the Germans during the occupation of Poland


Spoiler Warning:   below is a summary of the entire movie. 

Statement of Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, March 31, 1939.  "In case of any military actions, which could endanger the independence of Poland, the British Government will feel obliged to immediately support the Polish Government."

August 25, 1939.  A pact of mutual support was signed between the Polish Republic and the United Kingdom. 

September 1, 1939.  The Germans attack Poland. 

The Colonel asks about Moczulski.  There is no news.  A cavalry man reports:  All are wiped out!  The Colonel declares the regiment disbanded.  Major Hubal, however, says:  "I'm taking command."  The Germans fire at them. 

A Polish woman runs out of her house to see the Polish soldier arriving on horseback.  Hubal asks her?  "Why is it so quiet around here."   Warsaw has fallen.  Major Hubal has an eight year old daughter and asks the woman if she would see that a letter he has written to her  is sent to Cracow.  Yes. 

A nearby village receives the Polish soldiers.  The soldiers are informed that the whole German regiment, perhaps 1,000 men, passed by Skarzysko.  Hubal learns that theirs is the only unit fighting in the whole of Poland.  The men use pseudonyms to protect their families.  Villagers come to Major Hubal for justice.  They tell him there is a fellow going around killing people.  A case of armed robbery brings the death penalty.  Hubal has to kick a disobedient and argumentative captain out of his unit.

A young woman named Mariana Cel wants to join the army.   Hubal tells her that they started with 76 men but are now down to only a few.  But Mariana will not be discouraged.  So they accept her.  They give her the code name Tereska.  Hubal reads a German notice saying that Hubal has been captured. 

Two volunteers arrive and are accepted.  One of the missions to be accomplished is to organize people in the Radoszyce region.  The new recruits, including Tereska, take the oath.  The Germans now call Hubal "The Mad Major".  Polish news is broadcast from Paris. 

The Germans are heading their way.  They fire on the Germans.  The Germans catch Tereska,  but she plays as if she is retarded and is ignored.  By bike Tereska reaches her comrades.  The troops have been scattered. 

At Christmas the Polish soldiers go to mass.  At first, Hubal is upset at this, but later he decides that the presence of the troops is helpful in uplifting the citizens' spirits. 

Colonel Miller arrives from Headquarters.  He brings the order to demobilize the unit.  The soldiers can discard their uniforms and work in the underground resistance.  Quite a few of the men leave the unit, but 70 stay.  Hubal learns that the Germans are looking for them.  There are 40 vehicles on the road.  "It looks like a whole German staff."  Hubal sends some men to cut off the retreat of the German vehicles.  The order is given that when officer Sep attacks, the infantry is to counterattack.  The Polish soldiers perform well and inflict a great deal of damage on the Germans.  Hubal then tells his unit that they have to split up.  They will regroup in the Saint Cross Mountains. 

The Germans burn a village to punish the citizens for the successful operation of Hubal and his men.  They dig a huge hole and then push the Polish men into the hole.  They then throw grenades into the hole.  In all, three villages are burned down.  The men, 15-60 years of age, are killed.  Hubal decides that his unit will no longer quarter in villages. 

Organization of Armed Resistance.  April 1940.  The notice says that on 30 March, 1940, Hubal's unit fought a German division and scattered them.  200 Germans were killed and over a dozen wounded.  Hubal thinks the notice a little exaggerated. 

The Germans are now in every town and village on the Hubal side of the River Pilica.  Hubal tells his men that at dawn, they will cross the river.  In the attempt, however, they are forced back by the Germans.  Two deserters are caught.  Hubal gets ready to shoot them, but in the end just tells them to "get away". 

A German patrol arrives at a local farm.  More and more Germans are coming.  Hubal tells his men:  "Seems to be the end.  Withdraw!" 

A German photographer takes a picture of a dead Hubal.  The German officer asks the villagers to identify the body, but they all say they do not recognize the man. 

The Germans so feared the legend of Hubal that still to this day no one knows where Major Henryk Dobrzanski's body is buried. 


Good movie.  Major Hubal's lasted around eight months.  That's pretty good considering the might of the overwhelming German army.  And especially considering that the troops could only walk or ride horses.  They only had light weapons (pistols, rifles, machine guns and grenades) with which to fight.  It is pretty hard to fight tanks with small weapons fire.  Ryszard Filipski  was very good as Major Henryk 'Hubal' Dobrzanski.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



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