October 22, 2020

1975-04-03 – The Akron Beacon Journal

1975 04 03 The_Akron_Beacon_Journal_Thu__Apr_3__1975_

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Beacon Journal Sta" Writer
When Dick Shippy, the

cantankerous and middle
;*aged Beacon J ournal enter-

tainment editor, panned the
.. movie “Tommy” last week, I
was prone to brush off the
criticism as severe genera-
tion gapitis.

Surely, I thought, a movie
made from one of the better
efforts at producing a rock
“theme” album would have
isomething to recommend it.
Alas, even an inveterate rock
fan of 26 like myself can

] draw only one conclusion af-

ter seeing “Tommy” for him-
self.

Dick Shippy’s curmudgeon-
ry toward “Tommy" was an
understatement. He should
have told our dear readers,
young and old alike, to boy-

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-7--w--.~.--e H -91!

Tasteless “Tommy”

Bridges Age Gap

then appear in the movie, is
beyond belief. Gone is the
simple, straightforward rock
and roll of the original com-
positions.

In their place are frantic,
overdone orchestrations and
singing worthy of a howling
banshee. Tina Turner's scene
as the Acid Queen, wherein
she becomes a collection of
needles and tortures the
blind, deaf and dumb hero
with lust and LSD, is typical

of director Ken Russell’s ex- '

088898.

ASIDE FROM the fact that
LSD is rarely, if ever, taken
through a needle, the so-
called hallucinations Tommy
experiences are little more
than puerile symbolism about
the cause of his zombie state.

The encounters with Cousin

cott this travesty and save :3 -Kevin, the school bully; Un-

in the process.

THE MOVIE is without
doubt the worst of its genre.

It is rock exploitation at
its disgusting, bastardized
worst, replete with symbol-
ism a five-year-old could un-

.derstand (bombers turning

into crosses, for example)
and songs with insipid lyrics,
added to the original score to
flesh out the playing time of
the movie.

That Pete Townshend and

- the Who would allow this to
. be done to their original, and

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cle Ernie, the pervert; and
the Pinball Wizard are also
drawn to extremes of absurd-
ity. Russell’s interpretations

of the Who’s songs pack the
subtlety of a Sledgehammer

used to swat a fly.

For hardened rock fans,
the loudness complained of
by Shippy 'is tolerable. The
content is not. This writer
saw and heard the Who per-
form “Tommy" five years
ago in a small concert hall,
before the days when it took
a stadium to handle the
crowds.

THE MUSIC was outstand—
ing and the lyrics were
vague, allowing the listener
to put his own interpretation
on what he heard. Ken Rus-
sell allows no such luxury of
thought.

If this is what the rock
subculture has finally come
to, simplistic box office ex-
ploitation, please count yours
truly out.

And if you are wondering
what to do with your $3, use
it as a down payment on the

original “Tommy” album —
and shed a tear for what has

been dam! to it.

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