no label ID Tommy: The Movie
Produced by Robert Stigwood and Ken Russell
Released on August 1975
UK CHART POSITION #30 . . . US CHART POSITION #2
Find it at GEMM
DVD cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 10.5: DO YOU THINK ITíS ALRIGHT TO LEAVE THE BOY WITH COUSIN KENNY? Okay, so Oklahoma! it wasnít, but even Pete Townshend didnít envision a Tommy as twisted as this: Ann-Margaret in a full-body fishnet covered in beans; Roger Daltrey in a shiny, syringe-spiked iron maiden; Elton John in six-foot platform shoes; Marilyn Monroe turned miraculous madonna. Ken Russell went full-on gonzo with this one, turning the rock opera into a Tommy Horror Picture Show, which I suppose is fine if itís midnight and youíre stoned (or just stone-bored) out of your gourd. The trouble with Tommy the Movie is that, for the most part, the singers canít act and the actors canít sing. You could also argue that the director lacked proper direction, turning Tommy into a Felliniesque travesty of taste, but then youíd have to use the word ďFelliniesqueĒ and you donít want to do that, do you? As much as I enjoy concept albums, rock music rarely makes the leap to the silver screen gracefully: The Wall, The Song Remains The Same, 200 Motels, Give My Regards To Broad Street, True Stories. Quadrophenia made more sense as a movie, I thought, but it wasnít a musical. Tommy at least deserves credit for being a remarkably ambitious adaptation of the original, one that sought to match art with art. Given the fact that people still talk about this fim, maybe Russell was an inspired choice after all. Plus, it couldnít have been easy to corral so many personalities and egos (Pete Townshend, Ann-Margaret, Oliver Reed, Jack Nicholson, Elton John, Tina Turner and dear old Moonie among them) while working with a lead actor (Daltrey) who had no real acting experience. Come to think of it, only a maverick like Russell would have taken the job in the first place. For purists of the original double-album opus, there are some discrepancies in the plot as well, but letís not bicker and argue over who killed who.

TRACK LISTING

  1. PROLOGUE/1945
  2. CAPTAIN WALKER/ITíS A BOY
  3. BERNIEíS HOLIDAY CAMP
  4. 1951/WHAT ABOUT THE BOY?
  5. AMAZING JOURNEY
  6. CHRISTMAS
  7. EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND
  8. ACID QUEEN
  9. DO YOU THINK ITíS ALRIGHT
  10. COUSIN KEVIN
  11. DO YOU THINK ITíS ALRIGHT
  12. FIDDLE ABOUT
  13. DO YOU THINK ITíS ALRIGHT
  14. SPARKS
  15. EXTRA, EXTRA, EXTRA
  16. PINBALL WIZARD
  17. CHAMPAGNE
  18. THEREíS A DOCTOR
  19. GO TO THE MIRROR
  20. TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME
  21. SMASH THE MIRROR
  22. IíM FREE
  23. MOTHER AND SON
  24. SENSATION
  25. MIRACLE CURE
  26. SALLY SIMPSON
  27. WELCOME
  28. T.V. STUDIO
  29. TOMMYíS HOLIDAY CAMP
  30. WEíRE NOT GONNA TAKE IT
  31. LISTENING TO YOU/SEE ME, FEEL ME

CREDITS

ROGER DALTREY -- Tommy
JOHN ENTWISTLE -- Himself
ANN-MARGARET -- The Mother
KEITH MOON -- Uncle Ernie
ROBERT POWELL -- Captain Walker
OLIVER REED -- The Lover
PETE TOWNSHEND -- Himself, musical director
Eric Clapton-- The Preacher
Elton John -- The Pinball Wizard
Paul Nicholas -- Cousin Kevin
Jack Nicholson -- The Doctor
Tina Turner -- The Acid Queen
Ken Russell -- director, screenplay

return to THE WHO discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK August 1975 Polydor 2LP 2657 014 gatefold cover w. lyrics sleeves
US August 1975 Polydor 2LP PD-29502 gatefold cover w. lyrics sleeves
COL/FRA/GER 1975 Polydor 2LP 2625 028 gatefold cover w. lyrics sleeves
UK 1988 Warner Bros. VHS PES-38109  
US 1999 Columbia Pictures DVD    
US 2004 Prism 2DVD ODX-20290 Collector's Editon

 

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