In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers 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
Roger Daltrey is just less than three years younger than his screen mother Ann-Margret, and just over four years younger than his screen stepfather Oliver Reed. To top it all off, Daltrey is exactly three months older than his screen father Robert Powell. He is also two years older than Keith Moon, who plays his uncle Ernie. See more »
In the "Pinball Wizard" scene, the Who's John Entwistle starts the scene playing a Gibson Flying V bass, and ends it playing a Gibson Thunderbird with a Fender Precision neck (a "Fender-bird"). He also starts the scene with long sideburns, and seems to finish it with a fully-grown beard. 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 »
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 »
It helps to have an appreciation for Ken Russell, not Pete Townsend
This is a Ken Russell movie, make no mistake. It is relentlessly twisted, ugly, savage (for a sometimes humorous effect) and trippy. Russell may be the oldest flower child of all time. Surreal plot concerns a deaf-dumb-and-blind boy becoming the new Messiah to a pinball-crazed population, and the film has been accused of being too literal to The Who's rock opera source material. In this age of lavish music videos, it has also been tagged as archaic. Though nobody seems to care anymore how a film was perceived in its time, I would say the picture still succeeds in doing what was originally intended: shake an audience up with freaky visuals and propulsive music (nicely arranged). It also does something else: creates actual characters from the music, a plus due in part to the fine acting of Ann-Margret as Tommy's glamorous mother, Roger Daltrey as Tommy, Oliver Reed as Tommy's stepfather (Reed is hammy but quite game, while the role is designed as both a villain and a hero), and Tina Turner, an extremely scary presence as the Acid Queen. "Tommy" has some bummer scenes, and Russell's love for degradation occasionally made me wince, but it is a real cinematic experience. Whether it involves or alienates the viewer depends on their appreciation for the English director's constant penchant for the bizarre. **1/2 from ****
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