Ken Russell’s filmization of Tommy is spectacular in nearly every way. The enormous appeal of the original 1969 record album by The Who has been complemented in a superbly added visual dimension.
Young Tommy, traumatized when he sees his real father Robert Powell accidentally killed in an argument with stepfather Oliver Reed as mother Ann-Margret watches in horror, grows up amid an atmosphere of cruel exploitation and abuse. Even his miraculous recovery, and subsequent delusions of grandeur, simply extend the ripoff.
Among the cameo players, Elton John plays the pinball wizard and Eric Clapton is well featured as a preacher and Tina Turner virtually rips the screen apart with her animalistic Acid Queen.
1975: Nominations: Best Actress (Ann-Margaret), Adapted Score