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 stage adaption of "The Who's Tommy" opened at the St. James Theater in New York on April 22, 1993, ran for 899 performances and was nominated for the 1993 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and won for Best Score. See more »
When Frank Hobbs signs the cheque for Quackson the signature is at an angle of at least thirty degrees to the horizontal. When he hands it over, the signature is level. See more »
Right behind you I see the millions. On you I see the glory. From you I get opinions. From you I get the story. Listening to you I get the music. Gazing at you I get the heat. Following you I climb the mountain. I get excitement at your feet!
See more »
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"!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?