THE TIN DRUM
Die Blechtrommel
1979, Janus Films, 163 min, Dir: Volker Schlöndorff

Adapted from the acclaimed Günter Grass novel, this Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar winner stars David Bennent as Oskar Matzerath, a boy whose refusal to grow up makes this one of the most bizarre coming-of-age film ever. Born near the Polish-German border in the 1920s, Oskar has a ringside seat to the rise of Nazism, and uses his tin drum and glass-shattering voice to display his disgust with the adult world. An unforgettable film (including at least a couple of sequences that will make you squirm).


NONE SHALL ESCAPE
1944, Sony Repertory, 85 min, USA, Dir: André De Toth

Produced before the end of WWII, this indictment of Nazi evil was remarkably prescient. Alexander Knox is chilling as Wilhelm Grimm, a German officer whose war crimes unfold in flashback during a Nuremberg-like trial; Marsha Hunt gives one of her best performances as Grimm’s former lover. Oscar nominated for Best Original Story.


JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN
1971, Shout Factory, 111 min, USA, Dir: Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo not only wrote but directed this fiercely powerful cry of anguish against the legions of aggression - the ultimate anti-war film. Joe (Timothy Bottoms), a foot soldier during WWI, loses his legs, arms and most of his face in an explosion. He awakes in a hospital and slowly becomes aware that not only is he imprisoned in a shell of a body but also the doctors think he is a vegetable. Through a series of flashbacks involving his father (Jason Robards), his fiancee and his fantasy encounters with Jesus Christ (Donald Sutherland), we learn about Joe’s character. As Joe’s hospital stay lengthens, he develops a friendship with a sympathetic nurse (Diane Varsi). “Trumbo has taken the most difficult sort of material - and handled it, strange to say, in a way that's not so much anti-war as pro-life. Perhaps that's why I admire it. Instead of belaboring ironic points about the ‘war to end war,’ Trumbo remains stubbornly on the human level. He lets his ideology grow out of his characters, instead of imposing it from above.” - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.


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