The Book and the Movie: The Tin Drum / Günter Grass, 1959 | Volker Schlöndorff, 1979

The Book and the Movie: The Tin Drum / Günter Grass, 1959 | Volker Schlöndorff, 1979The Tin Drum (German: Die Blechtrommel) is a 1959 novel by Günter Grass.
TheTinDrum8The novel is the first book of Grass’s Danziger Trilogie (Danzig Trilogy).

Die Blechtrommel (1979)
Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler
Art Direction: Nicos Perakis

Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.”

“This is the time for the people who want to save me, whom it amuses to love me, who try to esteem and respect themselves, to get to know themselves, through me. How blind, how nervous and ill-bred they are! They scratch the white enamel of my bedstead with their fingernail scissors, they scribble obscene little men on it with their ballpoint pens and blue pencils.”
Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum, 1959
“What, after all, is a clock? Without your grownup it is nothing. It is the grownup who winds it, who sets it back or ahead, who takes it to the watchmaker to be checked, cleaned, and when necessary repaired. Just as with the cuckoo that stops calling too soon, just as with upset saltcellars, spiders seen in the morning, black cats on the left, the oil portrait of Uncle that falls off the wall because the nail has come loose in the plaster, just as in a mirror, grownups see more in and behind a clock than any clock can justify.”
“…I remain restless and dissatisfied; what I knot with my right hand, I undo with my left, what my left hand creates, my right fist shatters”
“Even bad books are books and therefore sacred”
“Today I know that all things are watching, that nothing goes unseen, that even wallpaper has a better memory than human beings.”
“‘We dwarfs and fools have no business dancing on concrete made for giants. If only we had stayed under the rostrums where no one suspected our presence!’
“Listen to me, Maria, just tender suggestions: I could buy a compass and trace a circle about us, could use that compass to measure the angle of inclination of your neck as you read, sew, or, as now, turn that dial on my portable radio. Leave the radio alone, just tender suggestions: I could inoculate my eyes and shed tears again.”
“[…] When every male who could stand halfway erect was being shipped to Verdun to undergo a radical change of posture from the vertical to the eternal horizontal.”

“What more shall I say: born under light bulbs, deliberately stopped growing at age of three, given drum, sang glass to pieces, smelled vanilla, coughed in churches, observed ants, decided to grow, buried drum, emigrated to the West, lost the East, learned stonecutter’s trade, worked as model, started drumming again, visited concrete, made money, kept finger, gave finger away, fled laughing, rode up escalator, arrested, convicted, sent to mental hospital, soon to be acquitted, celebrating this day my thirtieth birthday and still afraid of the Black Witch.”

Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum, 1959

^ Günter Grass, David Bennent, and Volker Schlöndorff on the set of The Tin Drum.

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