Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • AA
  • Drama, Fantasy
  • 1975
  • 111 mins

Tommy

Tommy

Synopsis

A pompous, overwrought slurry of unintelligible psychedelia, gigantic egos and ridiculous costumes. Worth watching, just in case you ever took The Who seriously. Ken Russell directs

About

The Who's pomp-rock opera about fickle hero-worship tracks Daltrey's ascension from deaf, dumb and blind kid to penny arcade saviour. Russell's adaptation is as overblown as its plot-line.

After his father dies, young Daltrey falls into a funk. The only stimulation to which he'll respond is a pinball machine. He perfects his technique, playing from Soho to Brighton, beating John to become the game's undisputed wizard. His victory attracts a following who mistake his staring silence as spiritual depth and his status mushrooms from celebrity to deity before he's outshone by the next star emerging over the horizon.

Russell's hypertrophied direction actually manages to exaggerate the pretentious obesity of Townsend's vision. Momentary relief comes from turns by Keith Moon as the fiddling Uncle Ernie and Tina Turner as the sexy Acid Queen, while Daltrey showed enough talent to ensure another career when The Who's own bubble burst.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Ann-Margret, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Oliver Reed, Roger Daltrey, Jack Nicholson
  • Director: Ken Russell
  • Writer: Ken Russell
  • Producer: Ken Russell, Robert Stigwood
  • Photographer: Dick Bush, Robin Lehman, Ronnie Taylor
  • Composer: Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, John Entwistle

In a nutshell

Overlong, over-indulgent, overdone. Ken Russell's take on The Who's shambolic rock opera could stand as the definition of his lack of restraint as a filmmaker.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Youth

    Youth

    Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching 80, are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. The two friends know that their time is quickly running out, and they decide to face their future together.

  • Film4 The Stranger Wore a Gun

    The Stranger Wore a Gun

    Randolph Scott stars in a Western about a former spy who relocates to Ariozna to join a gold robbbery, but quickly reassesses his decision

    On Film4: 21 Apr 1:05PM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share