A send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer/piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, with ubiquitous phallic imagery and a good portion of the film devoted to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow ... See full summary »
The concurrent sexual lives of best friends Jonathan and Sandy are presented, those lives which are affected by the sexual mores of the time and their own temperament, especially in ... See full summary »
Both trifles and structure are tossed out the door by director Ken Russell in this film. Here, historical content matters not so much as metaphors, feelings, emotions, and interpretations, ... See full summary »
In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
In a small, US costal town with many Spanish speakers, a motorcycle gang arrives on holiday. Also in town to try to reconnect with his pregnant girlfriend, Karen, is businessman Paul ... See full summary »
Scottish archaeologist Angus Flint discovers an odd skull amid the ruins of a convent that he is excavating. Shortly thereafter, Lady Sylvia Marsh returns to Temple House, a nearby mansion,... See full summary »
'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer ... See full summary »
Henry Moon is captured for a capital offense by a posse when his horse quits while trying to escape to Mexico. He finds that there is a post-Civil War law in the small town that any single ... See full summary »
Nora Walker is told that her British fighter pilot husband is missing in action and presumed killed in World War II. On V.E. Day, Nora gives birth to their son, who she names Tommy. While Tommy is an adolescent, Nora marries Frank, a shifty camp counselor. Shortly thereafter, Tommy suffers an emotionally traumatic experience associated with his father and step-father, which, based on things told to him at that time, results in him becoming deaf, dumb and blind, a situation which several people exploit for their own pleasure. As Nora tries several things to bring Tommy out of his psychosomatic disabilities, Tommy, now a young man, happens upon pinball as a stimulus. Playing by intuition, Tommy becomes a pinball master, which in turn makes him, and by association Nora and Frank, rich and famous. Nora literally shatters Tommy to his awakening, which ultimately leads to both the family's rise and downfall as people initially try to emulate Tommy's path then rebel against it. Written by
The only film ever to be released using John Mosely "Quintaphonic Sound" system. This used three of the four audio tracks on a Cinemascope-type 4-track magnetic striped print, two of these were expanded by a Sansui QS quadraphonic decoder to provide for left and right front, and left and right back speakers. The third channel fed the screen-center speaker. In addition all three tracks used dbx noise reduction. Quintaphonic sound was never used again because it required expensive striped prints and was commercially eclipsed by the Dolby Stereo system which employed low-cost optical sound prints. Dolby Stereo launched in 1975 with another Ken Russell film - Lisztomania (1975) See more »
When Frank takes Tommy and Mom to their accommodation at Bernie's holiday camp, he sings "chamber 11", but then they prominently walk to the entrance of camber 9. See more »
[She starts singing]
If your child ain't all he should be now, this girl will put him right. I'll show him what he could be now, just give me one more night!
I'm the gypsy; the Acid Queen! Pay me before I start. I'm the gypsy, I'm guaranteed... to tear his soul apart!
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Your senses will never be the same...you can say that again!
I will say that the movie version of "Tommy" is not as good as The Who's original opera. I guess that it's hard to adapt something like that to the silver screen. But even so, this movie is an experience unlike any other. Watching it, you try to figure out how to digest all that you're seeing and make sense of it (although I would reject calling it sensory overload).
The plot of course has deaf, dumb, blind Tommy Walker (Roger Daltrey) becoming a pinball champion and developing a cult following. Daltrey has no trouble getting into the role, especially when he sings "I'm Free". Equally good - and quite perceptive - is Ann-Margret as his mother Nora, using his celebrity to enrich herself; I really liked the scene where she hallucinates soap, beans and chocolate pouring out of the TV set. Oliver Reed seems a little bit wooden as Frank, whom Nora marries when she hears that her husband has gotten killed in WWII, but he still passes. Tina Turner really goes over the top as the Acid Queen, who tries to cure Tommy. Elton John is OK as the Pinball Wizard, but I guess that anyone could have done that role. Probably the most surprising cast member is Jack Nicholson as The Specialist; I mean, who would have ever imagined Jack Nicholson of all people in a musical?* Peter Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon also appear.
All in all, director Ken Russell instills this movie with the same sensibility that we find in the rest of his movies. Maybe it seemed better in the cinema, with its quintaphonic sound. But it's still something that I recommend to everyone. In conclusion: See it...feel it...touch it...heal it.
*Just imagine musical versions of "Five Easy Pieces", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "The Shining" and "As Good As It Gets"!
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