October 26, 2020

1975-04-02 – Anderson Herald

1975 04 02 Anderson_Herald_Wed__Apr_2__1975_

_ Reviewed By STEVE CRONK

_ Wh'o? "Tomm'y.". that‘s who.

. {The 50s rock opera-alhum was the
musical oflspring at Peter Townshend
arid the. English roék'group known as
the Who; . , . '~ . ' '
,Now! ,"Torn my" Can be seen. as weli
as heargigihrough Ihc ércaiive inler-
prelalioh hf director Ken Rus'sc-Ji‘s new
film of lhc same name which opened
1351 weeken'd in lnaianapolis.

. The Robert SUS'WOM production -

w’eids ho! (mix the media of rack and
him. huttlofterls'somo nulslanding
arlisis performing oul o! holh genres of
entertainment.- The movie is without
nny, spoken dialogue. The , musical
script. the nuimaphonic sound and lllc

glam. ,lhoalre 'spuakiirs emphasize the _

role of To'wnsh cnd‘s music inihis lilm.
».Th‘(- story. which devoinps in jerky.
.sy'mboi—laden scenes. is of an English

hpy traumatized by the shock of wil- .
. nessing wpai'emal act of violence. The ' '

deaf. dumb.- and blind boy (Tommy) is
cxpofied lo :1 spectrum 'of‘hizm're
humanity by: his wclI-mcaning. hut
gradually,disinterested parenls in the
purSuit of his Curt. "

.Thmugh {qilh hbaling. drugs. sadism ’
and homosexual assault Tommy-

iemaius .[ockvd within himSeH. :Only
pinball_.elicits. a reaction in [he nn'w
young main. Thé-gamo relates. in Tom-
my's .mindglo '1hc ,dcizlruclion oi his‘
father’s hoinhcr at the hand oi an
unknown enemy. ' '

Finauy. n is 'I‘dmmy’s mathemm '

{rueS'him by pyshing hii‘n lhrnugh :1
large mirror. 3 recurrt-nt symbol in the
mm. i _ . ‘ _

‘ gWilh his new Sénsc of awareness oi
the werld' ouiside himsélf; Tommy

proclaims hims‘elf a messiah and huilds'

a wnrld-wide [ulluwiniz.. , . - ._

Insisting. his. followers achieve
awareness through the methods whiéh
were_ effective in his gun expcricni'c.
Tommy priwidusihom with hliiidfolds.
- carblugs, t_orks..'and_pinball mnrhifies:
And so grows the resemblance. of this
neiv religion to the vufl-{afls 0i lhnsc
éaf-ijvr would-he panaccas.

Rejeciing Tommy‘s narrow path lo
ah'af'eness. ihc disciplps rcbeL killing
'I‘or'nrnx‘s. mother and stepJat‘hct, Wilh
[heir dégilhfi.’ the; cairligr freedom found
in Tom’fii'x": retg'ghilignuaml, HE'_CCp1_iln-

r lfi'u.

(*6 'nl’ 1hq ,at-[qfh'zil'hnh {I'zuimulized him .

is nnw redefined. Tammy acquitcs 11
MW sense nf self. replétc with symbolic

elude the film :I§': il hvgan: tho'Silhhuet-
1:3 of in man cmhracinn-lho sun on a

mountain pcak. Tommy has replacad.

his fnlhen. . i -.

,LL .wJ-A—lt‘l,l-.ILHAAL‘A,.>_ _ .“u‘.—,A_ _

. wilh I"rcudi1m m'crlnncs.

.Rng'er "Dalticy {as-Tfimmy) reveals
sensitlirily and interpretive talent in

"lhls role which demands charac-

terization through. visqal . expression.
He has madé a remarkable adaptation

from the Who's lead singer to Russell‘s .

lead aétor. 5.

-‘l'he other 'principlétoharactcrs lure .

aiSo strong. Oliver‘liuéd as Uncle
Frank. is nhnnxiously corrupl und

_ Ann-Margr'ct is convincing as'Tommy‘s

mother in spito'nf her ynnlh. lIor

' .gijowing guilt shout her son’s :iffliclions

takes her llunug'h sorrir' pnwgriul
scenes including :l nervous hreahdown
_ Both Reed and Ann-hlargcfet might be
accused of' nvcr-zicting in places.
“quiver. the exaggerated am? abstracl
format of the film alibws lh at license.
'l‘hrve- aulStanding sequences
‘ underlilicjhe symbolism and the social

_ commenl bl Ihe film;

The mock-reljgious Sérvice ol’ 8 faith
healer iEria Clapinm i'eplares tho

Madonna with Marilyn Monroe éml lhe '-'

hremi and wine wilh pills and liqunr.
Tina Turnér ( as the Acid Queen) is a

-, .trerrihling. l'urn-hn. She becomes“ a'
-'modern “iron niaidc'n“ in which Tom-

my is plai‘cd: but. lhe ancient spikes

uhave been replaced by: hypodurmic _

needles. . -
Adding cdmic relish. as “fell as
unolhbr youth cuil hbro. Elihu John

_p0r1r21_vs the champion "Pinball

Wizard" in sti'lts 'mld thrcé fooi-high
.shnos. On slagc the nufnhor would be a
definite show-smppcr,

Pziul‘Nicholds plays the sadislic
cousin Kci'iln. and Keith Moon Uh:-

. Who's drummer) makes a hilarious

Uni-iq Ernie in his ”I-‘iddling About."

' Jark Nichuison is a medical
Specialist who informs Tommy's paren-
ls Ihut_lhu boy‘s handicaps do not have
a physical origin. Nicholson is ndeqmilv
in the role. bu! he's m singcr. it's loo

bad hecaulfie his song is a good one and -

importanl'lmhoslory. j _
' Though it lacks thqconsislo'ncy and
‘bo'ziuly of 12195115 Chrisl Su’mrslar."
”Tommy“. éxpands and decri'cn‘s ils

mm use of Chrisl imagery. "Tommy" .

is [foe to Pursue ils own symbols. and
it'rclies heavily on those 0! Freud‘lo
update -roliginn. infusing '11 With

V psycholngv.

Though 'thc syrhbbiism and
phiinsophy here is nut- for kids. lhc

music Will appeal to “Témmy': fan's of
baptismfiie climbs in asummit to con- ...=.,..:1hv.'sixlies and a potential new. :

: generation at rock emhlsia‘sls. Pctl’inps .

lh'e PG rating isinislmnling. Parchls.
br guided by your children helm
gaping this film.