Tommy (Special Edition) [DVD] 
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Frequently Bought Together
Classic Seventies rock opera composed by Peter Townsend of The Who and directed by the eccentric Ken Russell. The story follows a deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball, acquiring a messianic status as he tours the country. The star-studded cast includes Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner and Elton John.
Even by the standards of a genre not characterised by restraint, the 1974 rock opera Tommy is endearingly barmy, a bizarre combination of Pete Townshend's disturbed inspiration and director Ken Russell's wildly eccentric vision. Even if you gamely try and read allegorical meaning into it, the story is frankly odd: a child becomes psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind after witnessing the murder of his father by his stepdad and goes on to become rich and famous as the world pinball champion (since when was pinball a world-class competitor sport?), before setting himself up as a latter-day messiah. It's about the travails of the post-war generation, the disaffection of youth, the trauma of childhood abuse, the sham nature of new-age cults, and many other things besides. At least, that's what Townshend and Russell would have you believe. But what's really important is the many wonderful, utterly bonkers set-pieces--effectively a string of pop videos--that occur along the way, performed by great guest stars: Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, Eric Clapton as the Preacher, Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie, Elton John's mighty rendition of "Pinball Wizard", even Jack Nicholson doing a turn as a suave specialist.
Roger Daltrey is iconic in his signature role, and Oliver Reed makes up for a complete inability to sing with a bravura performance as his sleazy stepdad, but best of all is Ann-Margret as Tommy's mother Nora: her charismatic presence holds the loose narrative together and she richly deserved her Academy Award nomination; the sight of her in a nylon cat suit being drenched in baked beans and chocolate from an exploding TV set is worth the price of admission alone.
On the DVD: Tommy comes to DVD in a two-disc set, with the feature on disc one accompanied by three audio tracks: Dolby Stereo or 5.1 surround, as well as the original "Quintaphonic" surround mix--a unique experience with effectively two pairs of stereo tracks plus a centre track for the vocals. The anamorphic picture adequately recreates the original theatrical ratio. The second disc has a series of lengthy and illuminating new interviews with the main (surviving) players: Townshend, Russell, Daltrey and Ann-Margret, in which we learn among other things, that Daltrey wasn't Townshend's first choice for the role, that Stevie Wonder was the original preference for the Pinball Wizard, and that Ken Russell had never heard of any of these rock stars before agreeing to helm the movie. There's also a feature on the original sound mix and its restoration for DVD. All in all, a satisfying package for fans of one of the daftest chapters in the annals of rock music. --Mark WalkerSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
ZOUNDS! It just goes to show how daft people are.
This film has it all brilliant music, perfectly performed, (it's far more electrifying than the original album, I don't care what anyone says). The imagery has that uneasy hotness that one gets from flicking through the wrong type of tabloid paper, (after an evening of accessive absinth abuse). Ken Russell is a unique artist 'who' though uniquely British, ironically would be venerated if he had emerged on the continent. This film cuts through one's brain like a white hot wire through lard and so what if it's dated? The Mona Lisa isn't?
It's got Oliver Reed in it ! Reed, another victim of the British habit for ignoring genius in their midst, is perfect in his role. So what if he can't sing, he's in character as a common teddy boy he isn't meant to sing properly. The Who are on top form, Tina Turner is brilliant beyond belief. And Miss Magrite is a sensation -- even Paul Nicholas is perfect!
I defy anyone who watches this film not to wish you could cartwheel like Roger Daltry, (he can't be a member of the same species as I...can he?)
Watch this film over and over again. I emplore you!
What astounded me was the emotion and power of the music, clearly striking a chord within my music lovin' soul and keeping me entertained. The cast are irriplacable; Tina Turner is fabulous as the acid queen, Paul Nicholas leaves a lasting mark as the sadistic cousin Kevin and there is no other person on earth who could have played the main man himself- Roger Daltrey IS Tommy.
So finally, I would recommend this film to those who enjoy the finer things in life- music, champagne, colour...and pinball!
In short its a about a lad(Tommy played by Roger Daltry) who is traumatised into what might be described as a silent and dark world of innocence after witnessing the violent death of his father (Robert Powell) at the hands of his step-father ( the quirkily but effectively cast Oliver Reed). To be fair, everybody including the audience had been led to believe his dad was already dead and walking-in on his wife(Ann Margret) and her new spouse while they were in the throws of passion was not a well-planned move .
From there the film revolves around the family's attempts to live a jolly,normal 1950s life while seeking to cure Tommy of his deaf,dumb and blindness and his eventual rise to Messianic status as leader of a Utopian cult.Unsurprisingly human greed and failings don't allow this happy state of affairs to last long .
On one level its a pretty standard parady of the corruption of religion . Its also a quirky film. Darkly comic set-pieces are interplayed with light-hearted jollyness and some scenes that are quite frankly worrying . Tina Turner's Acid Queen scene is a ghastly highlight .Who drummer Kieth Moon's portrayal of pervy Uncle Ernie came across like a scene from a rather dark Carry-On film in its day but modern audiences might find it quite uncomfortable to watch .
Musical highlights include Elton John's Pinball Wizard,Tina Turner's turn as the Acid Queen and a couple of classic Who songs toward the end of the film. Apart from that the music pretty bland . Apart from a neat little performance by frothy pop-star of the time Paul Nicholas that is .Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the remastered audio was somewhat dissapointing and the surround mix was lacking in seperation.
the movie was very enjoyable,
i think the remastered cd definetly has much... Read more
Brilliant film depicting damaged young man (Roger Daltrey) fighting his way to survival + success.Published 11 months ago by Peony7