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 »
During the climactic "Listening to You" where Roger (Tommy) is running and crawling through water (clearly soaked), the camera shot changes to meet Tommy as he emerges over the top of the mountain, completely dry. See more »
I'm free - I'm free, And freedom tastes of reality! I'm free - I'm free, And I'm waiting for you to follow me.
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When shown on Anglia Television (part of the British ITV network) in 1989, the short 'blackout' scene during the Uncle Ernie sequence - consisting of sound effects of footsteps, gurgling, twanging and maniacal laughter over a completely blank screen - was deleted. See more »
A cult classic if ever there was one. You'll either love it, or hate it.
This movie is all over the place. Ken Russell's penchant for garishness and bad taste runs rampant throughout the film, and the imagery consequently gives the film a very surrealistic feel (when it doesn't simply just get too weird for its' own good which it most definitely does indeed do at times). It should also be said that some of the casting is questionable to say the least. Jack Nicholson should never, ever have taken this role. His cameo is short, but rather painful to watch. Not to mention painful to listen to. And Oliver Reed? Think ham. He must have had a ball doing this movie, though. But in an odd sort of way, he fits in the role of Frank like a glove. Watch the movie, and you'll see what I mean. Just don't ask him to sing at your wedding. You'll regret it. Deeply. And plot? Almost none here to be found. At least none that cannot be easily summarized in two or three pithy sentences. That being said, I know I didn't go to see it in the seventies because I thought I was going to see Oscar caliber performances or a tight and thoughtful script. I went to see it because of the music. And it still holds up well to this day because of that. The music still carries the day. Tommy is one of The Who's best and shining moments. And between the songs, some of the performances shine..... just enough to make this a worthwhile viewing. But God help you if you go into this expecting anything approaching serious cinema. You will be seriously and grievously disappointed. Tommy is mostly played off as camp and is meant to be that way.
Best performances...... Elton John as the pinball wizard, (who does so well in this that I think he decided afterwards to retire from making movies while he was still ahead) while Ann Margret chews up the scenery much better than I had certainly expected, and Tina Turner as the Acid Queen gives a performance in a cameo that you have to see to believe. Paul Stevens as Cousin Kevin also gives an energetic turn in a rare (for this movie) comedic moment.
I give it 7 out of 10. Too flawed to be a classic, but definitely a solid piece of work overall. You may never look at another body pillow without pork and beans and Ann Margret springing immediately to mind ever again.
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