Death of Hardy Krüger, the worthy German officer of A taxi for Tobruk

DISAPPEARANCE – The actor, born in Berlin in 1928, died on January 19 at the age of 93. In the 1960s, he played in France with talent under the direction of Georges Lautner and Denys de la Patellière in films with dialogue by Michel Audiard.

In A Taxi for Tobruk, he plays Captain Ludwig von Stegel of the Afrika Korps who was going to fraternize with French soldiers lost in the desert, commanded by Lino Ventura. In The Great GrasshopperHe is Carl, a con man in love with the mischievous and seductive Mireille Darc. In 1959, Joseph Losey reunited Hardy Krüger and Micheline Presle on screen in Inspector Morgan’s Investigation. The great French actress will never forget this movie fiancé she had found.instantly, tremendously charming“. The German actor, figure of Hollywood and of our French cinema, died on January 19 in the United States where he had lived for almost half a century. He was 93 years old.

Franz Eberhardt August Krüger was born on April 12, 1928 in Berlin. His childhood and youth were marked by Nazism. In March 1945, enlisted at the age of 17 in the SS Nibelungen division, he received the mission to execute black American prisoners from General Eisenhower’s army. He refuses the order and is condemned to death for insubordination and act of treason. The German army is routed, he will desert and will be arrested a few weeks later by GIs in the Tyrol.

This dramatic episode forever marked his life and later his career. In France, at the time of what was called the famous “Co-production(an agreement between Italy, Germany and France), it will often beGerman service“, his perfect mastery of French and also of English allowing him to take on the roles of repentant bastard or dyed-in-the-wool Aryan.

In A taxi to Tobruk, Denys de la Patellière, will however know how not to sink into the anti-Germanic clichés specific to post-war cinema, by entrusting him with the character of a captain of the Luftwaffe capable of understanding his enemies, in this case magnificently camped by a quartet composed of Lino Ventura, Charles Aznavour, German Cobos and Maurice Biraud.

In the same spirit Claude Autant-Lara will give him in 1967 the outstanding role of a monk ready to defy the Gestapo in The Franciscan of Bourges.

Stanley Kubrick was to be interested in this actor who liked the roles of nice people but who was not afraid to slip into the skin of the worst bastards. In 1975, the director ofClockwork Orange gives him the responsibility of camping Captain Pozdorf in Barry Lyndon. Hardy Krüger breathes a form of compassion, ambiguous all the same, into the Prussian officer. The film, a masterpiece, will receive four Oscars, an immense joy for the modest Hardy Krüger who finally saw his talent, recognized, even indirectly, by Hollywood.

A memorable scene fromA taxi to Tobruk , dialogued by Michel Audiard, with Hardy Krüger, Lino Ventura, Charles Aznavour, Maurice Biraud, German Cobos…


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