Composer and pianist Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas).
In 1926, the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female movie-goers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... 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.
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
Ann-Margret largely improvised the infamous bean scene. Director Ken Russell simply told her that her character was having a nervous breakdown, and that she could do whatever she wanted. Unfortunately, at one point during filming, her hand accidentally struck the broken glass of the television screen and Russell had to rush her to the hospital for stitches. 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 »
Nora Walker Hobbs:
I often wonder what it is he's feeling. Has he ever heard a word I've said? Look at him, now in the mirror dreaming. What is happening in his head? What is happening in his head? Oh, I wish I knew, I wish I knew.
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New CGI shots have been added to the DVD version of the film. These include:
digital burning embers to the RAF planes being shot down in Tommy's first hallucination in the "Amazing Journey" song scene.
A birds'-eye-view shot of Tommy falling down through the shattered mirror into the water in the transition between the "Smash The Mirror!" song scene and the "I'm Free" song scene.
It's been interesting reading all the reviews here for this movie. It seems you either love or hate "Tommy". I find it odd that you could completely hate a movie with the music of "Tommy". If you love the songs there has to be something about it then right?
I happen to be an admirer of the film. It's not a masterpiece but it succeeds more then it fails. Director Ken Russell has brought his weird sensibilities and ideas to the film and made it more a series of scenes then a coherent story. Yes it is bizarre. Yes it is odd. But the music keeps the film alive and flowing.
It seems apparent that Russell the director may have let some scenes run on a bit too long (the Marilyn Monroe worship scene for one), perhaps because he was bereft of ideas. But he always had the music.
The performances range from terrific to downright awful. Ann Margret is the best thing about this movie. Her Oscar nomination was more then deserving. Her fabulous voice went well with the songs she is asked to perform. Oliver Reed was always a dependable performer but he can't sing worth a lick. Either he should have been dubbed or the part re-cast. Roger Daltrey is just fine in the title role. Basically all he does is sing and smile. For the female fans out there he does go shirtless a lot as well.
There are many cameos in the film worth noting. All the members of The Who are seen though only Keith Moon has a role to speak of. Pete Townshend and John Entwistle are relegated to performing on stage in the worship scene. Tina Turner is the Acid Queen in a bizarre scene that doesn't quite work. Jack Nicholson (and this may be the only time this can be said about him) may be the worst thing in the whole movie. His role as a doctor is short but not so sweet. He sings but is a terrible singer. It's an embarrassing scene and no surprise that he never mentions this role. Paul Nicholas, as cousin Kevin, who babysits Tommy and subsequently tortures him is terrific.
On the whole most of the sequences work. For me the two best sequences are the pinball wizard tournament (with Elton John) and the making of a groupie sequence. And just remember, it's all in the music.
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