September 24, 2020

1975-03-28 – St Louis Post Dispatch

1975 03 28 St__Louis_Post_Dispatch_Fri__Mar_28__1975_

' Rock Opera, Redford .
Wayne’s F ists—All Fly

By Joe Pollack
0f the Poet-Dispatch Staff

9 9
Tommy
As a public service to post-
teen-agers who may not be
cognizant of what to expect.
we hereby list several neces-

at the movies

sary prerequnsntes to encoun- ture if one did not feel inun-
termg the film, “Tommy.” a dated by sound.

rock opera by The Who that
might be a more entertaining
and stimulating motion pic-

The ladder of hoped-for success hangs from
a biplane as Robert Redford tries a new
aerial stunt in action from “The Great Waldo
Pepper," now at several area theaters.

'Singer Eric Clapton, as the preacher in the

;church of St. Marilyn (Monroe), leads the
foith-heoling service in a robe made of
newspaper clippings about the actress. The
scene is from the rock opera, “Tommy," at

the Westport.

night sounds

J am’s Odyssey

BV Dirk Richmond

(Mxlllv l’usl-Dispati'h Staff
R E UBEN’S

The odyssey of Ulysses took him into some strange and
dangerous places. The monsters and sorcerers he encoun-
tered were all myths. Everyone knows that. Of course,
everyone thought Troy was a myth. too, until a German
archeologist by the name of Heinrich Schliemann found it.

Well, lots of musicians have their own personal odysseys
that take them to strange and dangerous places. Not much
has been said about the sorcerers. but the monsters are

clearly there.

They are found in saloons in mythical Cities with names
such as Cincinnati. Winston-Salem and Jacksonville. Often
the bigger ones are found out in the boondocks. Sometimes
the monsters are separated from the musicians by chicken

Wire. sometimes not.

It makes no difference because to keep the monsters

First, turn all radios and
record players in the home to
maximum volume for at least
48 hours in advance of attend-
mg.

Second. while driving to the

theater. close all car windows
and ask all passengers to

shriek continuously through-
out the journey.

Third, take plenty of cotton.
Popcorn will do as an emer-
gency measure, but it is diffi-
cult to remove from the ear.

Despite these precautions.
do not expect to hear normal
conversation for the first hour
or so following the experi-
ence.

And yet, “Tommy" is a
fascinating motion picture.
Director Ken Russell has
made it far more of a visual
achievement than was done in
its predecessor, ”Jesus Christ
Superstar,” and it is much
better in all terms, than

“Godspell.”
Russell, who also wrote the

screenplay, has worked to
explore a sense of visual
imagery that is far more
creative than the music. He
shows subtlety and discipline,
and the camera work is star-
tling, often brilliant.

Pete Townsend of The
Who wrote the original score,
and the other members of the
group (Keith Moon, Roger
Daltry and John Entwhistle)

have worked with him to add
several new numbers. Unfor-

tunately, by the time the film
is half over. all the music
begins to sound alike. It is
loud, and often, and it batters
at the senses, hoping to

achieve by sheer force what it
cannot do by persuasion.

Russell wins in any con-
frontation between sight and
sound, and he has toned down
the serious social statement
that the original score intend-

ed with raucous camera im-
ages that make the picture

more fun than it might have
been.

After all, how seriously can
you take a story in which the
world’s champion pinball

player becomes something of
a Messiah?

The film is bolstered by a
first-rate cast, led by Ann-
Margret (yes, Ann-Margret)
as Tommy's mother. She
handles a difficult role with
real ability, singing well and
aging about 20 years during
the course of the film with a
touch of real class. She is
dynamic throughout, and bril-
liantly sensual in a scene
where she rolls and revels on

a white floor in a mixture of
champagne, baked beans and

chocolate, all of which come
pouring out of a television set.

The surrealism is far-
fetched, the actress’s obvious
appetites very real.

Daltrey is believable as
Tommy, and Oliver Reed,

evilly attractive, is his step-
father.

There are also some excit-
ing sequences involving peo-
ple like Tina Turner, a fear-

some harridan as the Acid
Queen; Elton John, the de-

fending pinball champ; Eric
Clapton, a put-on preacher;
and Jack Nicholson, a re-
spectable physician who
comes along strictly for the

humor.
Clapton’s role as the head

of the church of St. Marilyn
(Monroe) offers Russell a
chance to really turn loose a
collection of images, and the
scene is fascinating.

The entire film is very well
done. It is produced in a

highly professional style and
most of it is exciting. If it
only weren’t so loud. . . .

(Running time: 1 hour. 51
minutes. Rating, PG. At the
Westport.)

elderly farmers, the former
more than the latter, and he

is tough with girls he meets in
the movies—at least until

their pilot-boy friends arrive
to set the record straight.
Redford displays his win-
some charm and winning
smile, but the character has

no depth, which is the fault of
Hill, who wrote the original

story. and William Goldman,
who wrote the screenplay.
Even the climactic scenes,
when Redford meets the
former German ace who is

the subject of most of his
stories of derring-do, are

more tragic than thrilling.
Watching two men whose
lives have become so useless
that they are reduced to play-
ing futile games is saddening.

TURN TO PAGE I, COL] 1

HOTTER’N
MEANER’N“F|

PAM GRIER is"Si
AUSTIN STDKER - ..:2:[

STARTS M

FABULOUS
GRAND AT W

TODAY!

Hl-POINTE

Stink" at (Icyton Id.

ST. ANDREWS (Ifllfll

5'. Chad... Mo.
*- ST. ANDREWS IIMITE S"!
$1.50 TO ALL ‘TIIEY I

(ROSS KEYS‘CIIIMA ll ACAIEIY ll

ElllSVlll! CINEMA

6 MI. W. 0' 1-244
on Mcmhutov

WEISTII GROVES 3:“
mo. unnn Short Sabin

WEBSTER GROVES NIT! 0‘
IT 12 $1.25 TO ALL ‘I