Tonight, SIFF Cinema at the Uptown screens Ken Russell-and-the Who's Tommy, and here are Stranger film intern Amy Scott's reasons why you should go see it.
Referring to Tommy, the musical album, Steve Knopper in Kill Your Idols writes, “The central maddening contradiction of Tommy is it retains musical power because it makes no sense,” and this also applies to Ken Russell’s adaptation, which adds even more breadth to the story's confusion via picture power, with a thick and buttery spread of surrealism.
Reasons to get stoned and watch Tommy:
9) Quadraphonic restoration, SIFF better REPRESENT 1) Ken Russell 7) Tina Turner’s rendition of “The Acid Queen” is AH-MAZING complete with the grooviest bass-line ever, gigantic needles, red platform shoes and a Darth Vader helmet. 11) Russell updates the album’s time period, placing it in 1951, then outfitting it with kaleidoscopic psychedelic imagery and 70s décor 17) Ann-Margret’s champagne, chocolate and baked beans bubble bath and phallic-pillow humping. 546) Roger Daltrey is the most convincing deaf, dumb, and blind kid, ever. His “huh” face after “Christmas,” gets a good ten-seconds of camera love before the slow zoom-out to an awkwardly-robed Eric Clapton 200) “Smash the Mirror” is PERFECT in all of its confetti glass. The song is combined with “I’m Free,” (instead of “Sensation”) and Daltrey waddles haphazardly—on water/through fire, plus upside-down camera angles, carnival-sounding synths, and Pinball worship 5) Keith Moon as “Uncle Ernie” 9) Jack Nicholson sings quietly and winks in time with the music 12) KEN RUSSELL