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Criterion Collection: Tin Drum [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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6 used from £15.96

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Actors: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler, Katharina Thalbach, Daniel Olbrychski
  • Directors: Gary Don Rhodes, Volker Schlöndorff
  • Writers: Gary Don Rhodes, Volker Schlöndorff, Franz Seitz, Günter Grass, Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 18 May 2004
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001VO38S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,353 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



This Oscar-winning adaptation of Günter Grass's novel is an absurdist fantasy about a little German boy (David Bennent) who wills himself at the age of three not to grow up in protest of the Nazi regime. Despite acquiring a certain level of notoriety for its m ore salacious moments the film is more startling and surreal than obscene. Bennent is very good, and while the 1979 film doesn't meet the high standards of the best work from the the n-renaissance of German film, it has a special place in the hearts of many who saw it upon its release. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff (The Handmaid's Tale). --Tom Keogh


The Guardian

Best label 2011


"It's often the smaller-funded labels that do the best work. Arrow has released marvellous discs of many of cinema's classics, such as Bicycle Thieves, Rififi and Les Diaboliques, but it's for their horror releases that they truly excel. The more respectable directors like George A Romero and Dario Argento get their due here, but Arrow also pull out all the stops for such (unfairly) lesser regarded Gore-teurs as Lucio Fulci and Frank Henenlotter. Blu-rays of Fulci classics The Beyond and City Of The Living Dead show that the films are far more atmospheric and better made than they ever appeared before, and for Henenlotter (with the imminent Frankenhooker disc) you get extensive extras that cover the rarely examined scene of low-budget New York film-makers and the lost grindhouses of Times Square and 42nd Street."

--The Guardian

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By on 23 May 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I have actually broken my first copy and was eager to secure a replacement.
Having read the book by Grass, I was concerned how it might translate to the screen. It actually works extremely well, capturing much of the claustrophobic/paranoid atmosphere of the book.
Obviously, things have had to go. Some of the ..ahem... sticky and descriptive bits have been left out - in the wrong hands it could have been verging on pornographic, which certainly isn't the tone of the book.
Also, much of Oskar's musing's have been curtailed - the film ends at a point where the book has still some time to cover. This could cause some confusion for anyone who has not read it as they would have no idea that Oskar is actually telling his story from a lunatic asylum.
Despite these shortcomings, though, one experiences a wealth of emotions during the showing. There is sorrow, laughter, (look out for the waltzing Hitler Youth) anguish (Charles Aznovour as the toyshop owner) and bewilderment to name a few.
The music at the beginning is heavy and plodding - one can imagine a heavy horse pulling a cart through muddy potato fields. The wailing of the Jew's Harp further intensifies the experience.
Oskar is faithfully represented by David Bennett -the boy who decides not to grow. The other members of the cast, though maybe not household names provide a rich mixture of characters who show a no-holds-barred-reality. Just look at the haircut of the Youth Leader! There is no prettyfication here.
It stands up as a film in its own right. It does have blemishes, but I don't feel that they detract from the the experience and certainly can assist the understanding of an often enigmatic book.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By aurtherwood on 11 Jan 2005
Format: DVD
THE TIN DRUM (or DIE BLECHTROMMEL, by it's german title) is a film that not everyone has heard of, and if they have, not likely to have seen it. If you have heard of this film, then don't try to presume anything about it because you will never have seen anything like this before, and never likely to see anything like it again.
Oskar Matzerath (Bennent) is a three-year-old boy who carefully observes the behaviour of the adult world during the rise of the Nazis in 1920's Germany. Disgusted by what he sees, he throws himself down the cellar steps in order to stop himself growing, and he succeeds. Oskar continues his observations of adults as he ages like a normal human being, but he is still in the body of a three-year-old, which makes for something truly terrifying.
Oskar has a lot of emotional anger that he only lets out by beating his red and white toy drum that was given to him on his third birthday, and letting out a shrill, terrifying scream that can shatter glass. His (Oskar's) anger is only infused by the many grotesque, violent and perverted acts that occur around him, like the sex scenes between his mother and his uncle, or the rotting horse's head that his father, Alfred uses as bait for eels that he cooks for dinner. When his mother discovers that she is pregnant with another child, it becomes clear to Oskar that Alfred (Adorf), who he thought was his father might not be, but his Uncle Jan (Olbrychski) is. Oskar's mother is overcome with guilt, so she starts eating whole fish, uncooked. Eventually, the guilt overwhealms her and she kills herself in the bathroom. This is when Oskar sees that the world is not going to change, so he starts on his demented way towards living out the rest of his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Feb 2010
Format: DVD
A boy who refuses to grow up during the time of National Socialism. A good strategy in some respects as it gets you out of the army. There again the slaughter commenced with the liquidation of the mentally unfit. Set in Danzig nee Gdansk the story grows from the perception of Oskar. His perception is less to do with the Nazi's but with adults. He refuses to grow up because of the hypocracy of the world around him, his mother, his uncle, his father and all the others eventually succumb to Oskars rigorous moral code of righteousness.

It was a time of no morality or amorphous boundaries. The people loved National Socialism not because of the screaming of the deranged but the shift in beating their carpets to having a hoover. Gunter Grass captures the feelings of pleasure from having things. The Nazis are the backdrop to adult hypocracy, no better than the ones who are against, the polish nationalists. The film is resolutely amoral and this is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength because it explores belief as normality and a weakness because I am usually expecting to see a complete denigration of National Socialist beliefs. The facts are however it was imbued into the fabric of peoples lives and they gave the movement its power, not the maniac hypnotising the masses.

Ultimately the only form of resitance which could be offered was refusing to comply with the adults world where they had all lost their senses.

If you are expecting a Hollywood romp you are going to be sorely disappointed. If you are expecting a good/evil morality tale again you will be sorely tested. If you want to delve into a deep pool and are unsure the depth of the bottom then this film is for you.
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