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The Thomas Mann Collection (Buddenbrooks / Doktor Faustus / The Magic Mountain)

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Apr 10, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929, Thomas Mann was honored for a body of work that began with his first novel, Buddenbrooks, and whose other milestones included The Magic Mountain and Doktor Faustus . These three novels are brought to life in this outstanding 7-disc collection, which pays tribute to Mann’s most celebrated and famous works.
Buddenbrooks As seen on PBS Great Performances . A stimulating adaptation of Mann’s most famous novel and one of the most widely read German novels in the world, Buddenbrooks is the sweeping tale of the rise and fall of a wealthy merchant family torn between family loyalty and personal freedom.
Doktor Faustus Driven by a single-minded search for a totally new musical idiom, composer Adrian Leverkühn, makes a pact with the devil with a very high price: the total renunciation of love and the gradual deterioration of the mind and body.
The Magic Mountain Hans Castorp, son of a distinguished Hamburg family, spends seven years in a Swiss sanatorium. Drawn to the hermetic society, he receives an erotic and philosophical initiation but abruptly leaves at the launch of the Great War to learn true life experience and responsibility.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Werner Eichhorn, Rod Steiger, Marie-France Pisier, Flavio Bucci, Christoph Eichhorn
  • Directors: Franz Seitz, Hans W. Geissendörfer
  • Writers: Franz Seitz, Hans W. Geissendörfer, Berndt Rhotert, Franz Peter Wirth, Thomas Mann
  • Producers: Francesco Casali
  • Format: Box set, Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: German, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Vision
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 1140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MR9C3W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,002 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Thomas Mann Collection (Buddenbrooks / Doktor Faustus / The Magic Mountain)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

This review is mainly about The Magic Mountain mini-series (2 DVDs) starring Christoph Eichhorn as Hans Castorp, Marie-France Pisier, Rod Steiger, etc. It's ironic that the complete series was finally released on a Region 1 DVD in North-America. This is the only way (apart from occasional rebroadcasts on German tv stations) where you can watch the entire mini-series in three parts as originally intended. There exists a Region 2 German release which contains a drastically edited film version of just 146 minutes as opposed to the more than 5 hour duration of the 3 parts originally. You can imagine how much had to be cut away and how it didn't do justice to the novel or the original film adaptation. The only positive thing about the Region 2 release is a bonus documentary.
Back to this Region 1 release, I only watched The Magic Mountain in its entirety and the picture quality is excellent, the English subtitles are there (optional), and the packaging is done nicely (separate for all three films). I wouldn't have picked those menu stills that the studio did (not sure if they read the novel before) but it's the content that matters.
I have yet to watch the Buddenbrooks (11 part mini-series) and Doktor Faustus. This DVD is highly recommended to students of German Studies and is an excellent addition to any library collection.
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Buddenbrooks (10 ½ hours); Dr. Faustus (177 minutes); The Magic Mountain (over 5 hours): the color is excellent throughout, and the sound crystal clear. The subtitles are all legible, and the few mistakes made won't ruin your experience.

"The Magic Mountain," my least favorite of the three novels---is a great. great film. The casting is perfect (especially Castorp, Behrens, Peeperkorn, Clavdia, Settembrini)--but everyone, to the smallest bit player, so inhabits the sanitorium spirit and his or her part, that one forgets to compare the film to the novel. Castorp's first day (the film begins right in the middle of it), Carnival (!), the x-rays, the banging door, Castorp's walk in the blizzard, Ziemsen's death, the duel between Naptha and Settembrini--all great. The setting is magnificent, too.

"Buddenbrooks," the longest serial, is excellent. Most, but not all, of the acting is top-notch; the costumes and the buildings (my God! The buildings!) are perfect, and you will enjoy comparing the film to the novel, and noticing little differences (feeling SO superior!). The leitmotif of the nurse, walking the narrow alleyway of houses to the broad street where Buddenbrooks live--it happens three times--to sit at a deathbed: Mann would have loved it. The older men, Thomas, both Hannos and Kais are particularly good. The use of Plattdeutch is faultless. (LATER: Having seen the 1959 "Die Buddenbrooks," and read an extensive review of the 2008 "Buddenbrooks" by Breloer--I'm sure this is the best one that will ever be available, another 20 or 30 years, there will not be enough interest to make a fourth--and I also feel my cavelling criticsms of this one were were undeserved. It's just as good as "The Magic Mountain.")

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This DVD set contains films of three Thomas Mann Novels:

"Buddenbrooks" (1984) directed by Franz Peter Wirth 11 hours long, in 11 parts - 4 DVD's
"The Magic Mountain" (1982) directed by Hans W. Geissendoerfer 5 1/2 hours long in 3 parts - 2 DVD's
"Dr. Faustus" (1982) directed by Franz Seitz 2 hours long in 2 parts - 1 DVD

All three were serialized and made for German television in the 1980's, a time of re-discovery of Thomas Mann's work. They are all top quality, especially the first two.

"Buddenbrooks", follows the fortunes of a wealthy and politically powerful Merchant family in the Baltic city of Luebeck from about 1830 to 1880. The film captures the details of the 1800's very well and is true to the novel in narrative, action and dialog. It is a beautiful production and was a very successful mini-series in Germany. The sets and locations are beautiful and great care was taken to reproduce the clothing

"The Magic Mountain" was more difficult to film due to the nature of the novel. Is is not a straightforward narrative like "Buddenbrooks". It is the story of young Engineer's visit to a Sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland in 1907 that was supposed to be three weeks long and which stretches to seven years. Of the three films it is my favorite. The Director, Geissendoerfer also wrote the screenplay that quotes directly from the novel about half of the time. The other half of the dialog is skillfully adapted. The film skillfully conveys the senses of isolation and time. Many of the characters are cast almost perfectly such as the lead, Engineer Castorp, Madame Chauchat, Settembrini, and the director of the Sanatorium, Dr. Behrens. Rod Steiger is a great surprise as Mynheer Pepperkorn, a character based on the german writer Gerhart Hauptmann.
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Magic Mountain:

At 324 minutes, this transliteration of Thomas Mann's psycho-sexual-socio-politico odyssey, The Magic Mountain, is a mesmerizing experience. Magic Mountain tells the fin de siecle coming-of-age story of Hans Castorp--a young engineer fresh out of school who has yet to gain a sense of himself or of the world around him. Possessing neither genius nor ambition, Hans has nonetheless succeeded well enough in school and is destined to succeed well enough as a shipbuilder. But before he begins a professional career that he chose only because it seemed practical enough, he decides to visit an ailing cousin, Joachim, and spend a few weeks with him at the world famous Berghof Sanatorium that is tucked away in the Swiss Alps, high above the ordinary world that he quite willingly leaves behind. When we join Hans he is traveling by train through the mountains and fondly dreaming about a past attraction. Since Hans has no definitite sense of himself or what he values or desires he is highly susceptible to outer influences and the suggestions of others. This impressionability and penchant for daydreaming/fantasy will play a key part in his odyssey.

Once he arrives at the sanatorium, Hans immediately feels the undeniable allure of the location, the exquisite architecture, the eccentric clientele, and the indolent carefree way of life (patients spend their days lounging on deck chairs that overlook a pristine mountain range lined with majestic firs). The sanatorium is really more like an exotic spa. Some of the clientele are truly sick (evidenced by the almost daily removal of coffins), but others seem to be there for less specific reasons.
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