A dying French naval frigate captain tries to make a last rendezvous in the winter storm-tossed seas off the Grand Banks, with "le crab tambour," a French war hero he had betrayed twenty ... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain
...
Le médecin, Pierre
...
Aurore (as Aurore Clement)
Odile Versois ...
Madame
Pierre Rousseau
Jacques Dufilho ...
Chef mécanicien
...
Lt. Willsdorff, 'le Crabe-Tambour'
Yann Brannelec
Jean Champion
Nguyen Long Cuong
François Dyrek ...
(as Francois Dyrex)
Jean Hennau
Yves Morgan-Jones
Bernard La Jarrige ...
Le recteur
François Landolf ...
(as Francois Landolt)
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Storyline

A dying French naval frigate captain tries to make a last rendezvous in the winter storm-tossed seas off the Grand Banks, with "le crab tambour," a French war hero he had betrayed twenty years earlier. "Le crab tambour" the drummer crab" was a boyhood nickname for the handsome young Alsatian whom the film depicts proving his courage, first in the war in French Indochina, and then again in the "Generals' Revolt" in Algeria. Courtmartialed because friends like the French naval captain were afraid to risk their own careers by testifying for him, the exiled "crab tambour" and his trawler, The Shamrock, is now a legend among the Grand Banks fishermen. Written by Thomas Lipscomb <tom@infosafe.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 November 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Drummer-Crab  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One thing that may be missed by viewers of this beautiful movie is that the French Navy frigate Jauréguiberry is not crossing the North Atlantic waters for an endurance mission (although much endurance is needed). She is actually fulfilling a mission of "Surveillance des pêches" (i.e. Support to the French fishing vessels) in the "Terre Neuve" (Newfoundland) and "Saint-Pierre et Miquelon" waters, a mission that the French Navy has carried on for centuries and still does today. Fishing rights for French vessels in these waters date from before the reign of king Louis XIV, and are among the last remaining rights from the French colonial venture in Canada. It has always been accepted as a truth that the "Terre Neuvas" (fishermen trained to work in these waters) were the best, the toughest recruits for the Navy. The film is about decolonization, of course, but its main theme is duty - carrying on whatever may and however unpleasant it may be. Unglamorous assistance to the "Terre Neuvas" fits in well with this theme. Another trivia : Jean Rochefort is as natural as can be playing the part of captain of the frigate Jaureguiberry : he may have acquired such an ease from watching his brother Pierre, a Naval officer who ended his career as an Admiral. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Haunting
18 June 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I saw this film five or six years ago after selecting it at random on the "French" shelf of my local video store. It made quite an impact on me, but I subsequently forgot the title and had to go to quite some lengths to relearn it.

I wish I had the time and patience to write out my thoughts at length and with eloquence. Simply put, this feels like one of Joseph Conrad's sea novels, in particular "Lord Jim." It's gorgeously lit and shot -- in fact, I'd go so far as to call it a photographic masterpiece. Maybe the narrative unfolds a bit too slowly or bogs down here or there, but the film concludes beautifully and has haunted me ever since the one and only time I saw it. This may owe something to the casting of Jacques Perrin in the title role. For once here's someone with enough dash and je ne sais quois to justify an entire film spent in search of a supposedly legendary character. Even Brando somewhat disappointed in this regard in "Apolcaypse Now" (which, come to think of it, was very loosely based on Conrad).

It's inexplicable to me that "Le Crabe-Tambour" has never had, and likely never will, much of a following. For my money, the French have never excelled at "classical" film-making in the key of Hollywood. Nor am I typically a fan of that kind of thing; however, this film is an exception in either case. I just picked up the VHS box on the shelf at the verysame video store last night, which is what prompted my comment. I think I'll rent it again tomorrow.


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