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.