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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
Rod Stewart was originally intended to play the pinball wizard, but Elton John talked him out of it. John then took the part himself. Stewart had played the part in a London stage production, and his version of the song is on his "Greatest Hits" collection. See more »
During Ann-Margaret's "Rain Champagne" scene, the bottle of champagne she is 'drinking' from is clearly empty. Several times in the scene, it is lying on its side on the floor, yet nothing flows from it and during the close-ups where she is supposed to be drinking from the bottle, you can see that there is nothing inside it. See more »
He seems to be completely unreceptive. The tests I gave him showed no sense at all!
His eyes react to light; the dials detect it. He hears but cannot answer to your call!
See me! Feel me! Touch me! Heal me!
See me! Feel me! Touch me! Heal me!
[singing to Tommy's mother]
There is no chance, no untried operation. All hope lies with him and none with me. Imagine though the shock from isolation, when he suddenly can hear and speak and see!
SEE ME! ...
[...] See more »
Tommy is one of those films I can watch again and again. I guess I first saw it when I was about 15, and what made most immediate impact was the music. Strident and tightly coupled to the plot. The Who are brilliant, and Elton John as the Pinball Wizard is just mind blowing (if slightly camp).
I have since watched it countless times and it wasn't til I watched it in, how shall I put this, an illegal state of mind, that I actually realised how well the film hangs together and it's real meaning. Up until then I mainly watched it for the music, but after that it became a whole different ballgame, and I watched it to extract more of what Ken Russell was really trying to get at.
Anyone younger than about 30 probably will not understand this film at all, but if you are of the right generation, see it a couple of times because you may not get the meaning the first viewing.
Several memorable performances - Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie, Ann Margaret as Tommy's mother and - of course - Ollie Reed who has never done a bad film.
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