September 19, 2020

1975-04-12 – The Ithaca Journal

1975 04 12 The_Ithaca_Journal_Sat__Apr_12__1975_

‘Tommy’ is glittering cinema

By BERNARD DREW
Gannett News Service

Ken Russell’s film version of
The Who's rock opera
“Tommy"is terrific, fantastic,
dazzling, overwhelmingly the
best of the rock operas. and glit-
tering cinema as well.

For once, Russell's brilliant,
daring but erratic talents are
matched with the right property.
I cannot think of another director
doing a better job with the mate-
rial. Russell's brashness has
often given his previous films a
swift kick where it was needed
without particularly advancing
the theme. but here it is germane
to the entire concept. Pete
Townshend of the Who originally
wrote it, with additional materi—
al by colleagues John Entwistle
and Keigh Moon; the fourth
member, Roger Daltry, stars as
Tommy.

O O 0

Tommy (Barry Winch) is 6 as
the film opens in 1951. His father
was killed in the war, and his
grieving mother Ann-Margret
has finally met a man she loves
again, a seedy social director at
a holiday camp, Oliver Reed.
They marry.

But the first husband,
Tommy's father, is not dead as
believed, merely badly wounded.
and one night he returns home
to find his wife in bed with Reed.
In the ensuing excitement, Reed
kills him and it is witnessed by
the child.

The dazed Tommy is shrieked
at (or rather sung at — nothing
is spoken) by his mother and
stepfather, “You didn’t see it.
you didn‘t hear it. and you won‘t
say anything to anyone," and he
becomes totally traumatized —
growing up deaf, dumb, and
blind.

He suffers the invariable tor-
ments of the handicapped, and
his guilty mother endlessly takes
him to doctors and faith healers,
desperately hoping for a mira-
cle.

o e o _
In the film’s two most in-

credible sequences, Ann-
Margret takes him first to a
shrine devoted to a sanctified
Marilyn Monroe, where the
priests, all wearing Marilyn
masks, administer communion
and offer salvation; the shrine
itself is an enormous blowup of
the skirt blowing sequence from
“The Seven Year Itch." Marilyn
has become the Golden Calf of
commerce, worshipped by the
maimed and crippled. the
Bernadette ol the 19605. Eric

Former inmates

Poems from Auburn Prison
titled “A Window of Experience"
will be read by former inmates
at 8:30 pm. Saturday in the
Founders Room of Anabel Tay-
lor Hall on the Cornell campus.

The poems were written in the
creative writing workshop con-
ducted at the prison from July
1973 to October 1974.

Among the readers. who are
now on parole and living in Up
state New York, will be Stewart
Brisby, whose book “Urinating
in the Pool” was published as a
result of the workshop.

The workshop was conducted
by Walt Shepperd, senior editor
of the Syracuse New Times.

For six weeks, half—hour

‘ 4” W. Scnun 5'

Clapton is the preacher.

In the second sequence, Tina
Turner as the Acid Queen tries
to make a man of Tommy and
it‘s been a long while since the
screen has witnessed a per-
formanre of such sheer animal
vitality.

Eventually Tommy becomes
Pinball Champ of the world,
wresting the title away from
Elton John, in another dazzling
performance, wearing three-foot
boots as befits the king of glitter
rock.

read poetry

poetry readings were produced
weekly for WAER-FM, a Syr-
acuse radio station, and tapes
are currently being re-broadcast
on the Pacifica network in Cali-
fornia.

A tape integrating poetry and
music, as was done for the radio
show, also is being produced for
Black Box. a cassette poetry
magazine.

FOR
FRIGIDAIRE

Awliumm

llhnm, [Y

GORIELL SUMMER TENNIS GLIIIGS

Four 2 week clinics will be offered weekdays:
June 2nd-l3th; June 16-27th, July 7-18th, Ju|y_

21-Aug. ist.

Co-Ed. Childrens Clinics 8. Adult Ladies

Clinics.

Cost $35.00 per clinic. (10 hours of instruction)
Private lessons will be also available.

For further information call
3 Gwen Ritchie 256-5133 Women's Tennis Coach,

llelen Newman Ilnll,

Camel University, Ithaca, NJ. “853

LEISURE, The Ithaca Journal, Saturday,

Tommy’s senses return as suc-
cess comes, and he is greeted by
the youth, ever desperate for a
fresh panacea, as the Messiah.
Tommy enjoys a brief season of
veneration. flying everywhere on
a kite as the current re-
placement for God, Jesus, and
Marilyn, until the mob must in-
evitably find something newer
yet. The apocalyptic ending is as
expected as it is satisfying.

0 O 0

Young Winch and Daltryare
enormously appealing as the
young and older Tommy, Reed
is excellent as the not quite total-
ly evil stepfather, Ann-Margret
is effective in some scenes, inef-
fective in others, Jack Nicholson
is in for a cameo as a doctor, and
John, Clapton and Miss Turner,
simply super.

But the chief triumph remains
Pete Townshend’s, who wrote it,
and Russell’s. who found the way
to make of it a mind boggling
experience.

—Drew

A 41-0!“ r—n—nQD-Hm 4