September 21, 2020

1980-03-21 – Albuquerque Journal

1980 03 21 Albuquerque_Journal_Fri__Mar_21__1980_

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JOURNAI

Friday, March 2]

1980 H2]

Quadrophenia Crackles With Pent-Up 605 Energy

By ROBERT HILBURN
los Angeles Times
Washington Post Service

QUADROPHENIA, direct-
ed by Franc Roddam, Hlland
(rated R).

"Quadrophenia" is an un-
wieldy title for a terrific
movie about a familiar sub-
ject: teen-age frustration.

The trials
of adoles-
cence have
been a chief
concern of
rock' n’ fol]
ever since

EddieCochran first com-
plained two decades ago
about the ”Summertime
Blues. ”

Few forces have dealt with
the subject as consistently
or as well as the Who, the
celebrated British rock band
who influence and populari-
ty is rivaled only by the Bea-
tles and the Rolling Stones.

The Who's landmark was
“Tommy," a 1969 rock ope ra
that spoke about the angu ish
of growing up through a title
character who, for theatrical
effect. was struck deaf,
dumb and blind.

In reworking the theme
four years later, the Who's
Pete Townshend opted for a
more straightforward ap-
proach to “Quadrophenia.”
Jimmy, the main character
in the concert LP was meant
to represent the thousands
of English young people
adrift in a restless mid- 19603
woi‘lting-class milieu.

In the album, Jimmy suf-
fers from so much peer and
parental pressure that, far
from the simple ”schizo-
phrenic" designation of his
doctor, he actually is in a
stage of severe "quadro-
phenia" — a personality split
in four directions.

Translating “Quadrophen-
ia" to the screen, director
Franc Roddam, smashing in
his theatrical film debut, has
wisely played down the Who
music — this is not a concert
movie — and played up the
drama. Except for the clos-
ing sequence, we only hear
occasional snipets of the
Who mu‘dc.

Unlike‘HKen Russell's bur-
lesque movie version of
“Tommy," the result i5;
pop-cultui'o rarity: a f'
that is better than the book
or album that it was based
on. “Quadrophefnil?” Y
always easy to o ow. ou
have to strain to cut through

isn't "

the thick British accents in
spots and some references
will be alien to American
audiences, but the heart of
the film pulsates with such
vitality and conviction that it
transcends any cultural bar-
riers.

In broadest terms, “Quad-
rophenia” is the British
equivalentof“American
Graffiti." Both films deal
with growing up in the 1960s
and use rock music as a key
backdrop. But the different
British and U.S. social condi-
tions at the time makes for
strikingly separate tones.

“Graffiti" was a sunny,
nostalgic look at innocence.
Whatever the momentary
problems, the future always
was bright. "Quadrophenia"
threatens to explode at ev-
ery turn. Given the limited
social mobility in Britain,
the future promised only
more of the same {rum-
tion. Though the film is in
color, its grainy, overcast
mood makes you think back
on it in black and white.

Trapped between his dead-
end mailroom job and soar-
ing desires, Jimmy, who is
played with unflinching cor-
rectness by relative new-
comer Phil Daniels, seeks
identity and understanding
through association with the
Mods. The latter is a group
of nifty dressers who ride
around on shiny scooters
and become as energized
through rock as through the
pills they constantly swal-
low.

Unable to battle success-
fully against the forces that
restrict them, the Mods end
up fighting with the Rock-
ers, rival youths who suffer
the same repression but who
assert their own identity
through leather jackets and
motorcycles. The antago-
nism climaxes with a
spectacularly staged, club-
swinging, chain-hurling riot.

The experience and his
mates' reactions leave Jim-
my disillusioned. Only one
hope remains: Ace, the coo-
lest of the Mods. But even he
turns out to be a patsy in the
system, so Jimmy finally
realizes his future -- if any
— depends on his own inner
strength.

“Quadrophenia” suffers
from some of the same ele-
ments that troubled the al-
bum: familiar scenes of
parental-employer rejection
and an ending that remains
somewhat hazy. In fact, the
film loses much 0! its crisp-

ness after the riot.

Still, Roddam injects
“Quadrophenia” with all the
energy, aimlessness and as-
pirations of youth. The cast

— featuring Sting, of the
rock band Police, as Ace —
consists mostly of un-
knowns but they fit so natu-

swear Roddam recruited

them at a Mod convention.
Despite its British setting,

“Quadrophenia' evokes the

rally into the film that YOU d universal feelings of teen

WEN

WIN A SCHWINN

o 5 and under --Schwinn bike with training wheels
0 6-12 yeats —Mid size Schwinn bike

0 13-18 years —1flspeed Schwinn bike

0 19-35 years —10speed Schwinn bike

0 35 years and over—10 speed Schwinn bike

emotions With a depth sel-
dom captured on the screen.
The haunting film is rated R
for its scenes of sex and
violence.