Blu-Ray Review: The Tin Drum

During the period on either side of the 19th Century, Eastern Europe was a region in constant flux. No country personifies this more than the territory which is classed as modern-day Poland. Whether under partition or occupation by Prussia, Russia, Germany or Austria, a desire for independence and nationalistic movements were repeatedly thwarted. Often by war. Volker Schlöndorff’s award-winning film, The Tin Drum, takes place during one of these turbulent periods.

Oskar (David Bennent) is born in 1924 with an intellect far in advance of his age. On his third birthday, he is given a tin drum. After witnessing the antics of his drunken parents, he decides to stop growing and throws himself into the cellar; subsequently remaining the same height. Oskar also discovers that he has the unique ability to shatter glass with his shrieks. As the chaos of National Socialism erupts around him, the young man maintains a steady rhythm.

Adapted from Günter Grass’s popular novel, The Tin Drum is an epic tale of one stunted young man’s observations and imaginations, and the idiocy of a fascist ideology. Whilst Schlöndorff’s film bathes itself in allegory and myth, Oskar’s rather unreliable narration ensures that it flits between truth and fantasy. It’s clear to see why The Tin Drum won a raft of awards. Overflowing with political and social commentary, it marches to the beat of its own drum.

Special edition features:

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete version, approved by director Volker Schlöndorff
  • Newly remastered 5.1 surround soundtrack, approved by Schlöndorff and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Schlöndorff about the making of the film and the creation of the complete version
  • New interview with film scholar Timothy Corrigan
  • German audio recording of Günter Grass reading an excerpt from his novel The Tin Drum, illustrated with the corresponding scene from the film
  • Television interview excerpts featuring Schlöndorff, Grass, actors David Bennent and Mario Adorf, and cowriter Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Geoffrey Macnab and 1978 statements by Grass about the adaptation of his novel

The Tin Drum is released on Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection on 18 January.

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