(out of 5)

Unbearable adaptation of the hit Broadway musical stars The Who’s  as a musical genius who goes blind, dumb and deaf after a psychologically traumatic childhood incident involving his highly strung mother (). His one method of enjoyment since his psychosomatically-inflicted situation came upon him is playing pinball, something he practices so devotedly that as an adult he becomes a world-class player. His ability to heal other people’s emotional wounds with his sensitivity (and pinball expertise) captures the world’s attention and even makes him the head of a mini religious cult. Pete Townshend’s score, adapted more or less faithfully from the original play and album, sounds terrific on the big screen and is performed with marvelous energy by Daltrey, ,  and an absolutely stunning Ann-Margret (one of the few times an Oscar nomination has been given for an all-singing part). What ruins it is director Ken Russell, who overindulges in ridiculous set pieces (what’s with her writhing in brown goo?) and paces the entire thing at a fever pitch without your brain ever having the opportunity to calm down for even a second. It’s unfortunate what good potential is wasted here.

Robert Stigwood Organisation Ltd., Hemdale

United Kingdom, 1975

Directed by

Screenplay by Ken Russell, additional material by , , based on the rock opera by

Cinematography by , ,

Produced by Ken Russell,

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress (Ann-Margret as “Nora Walker Hobbs”)
Best Music (Scoring: Original Song Score and Adaptation-or-Scoring: Adaptation) (Adaptation score by Peter Townshend)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Ann-Margret)

Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical


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