Perhaps MTV's greatest crime against rock'n'roll is that it finally dissuaded pop groups from making films....
Perhaps MTV’s greatest crime against rock’n’roll is that it finally dissuaded pop groups from making films. If you want to know why that’s such a shame, behold – The Who’s entire filmic ouevre on remastered CDs.
Those traumatised in childhood by the film version of the ‘Oo’s symbolist epic [I]Tommy [/I]will remember it as a hideously garish monster which made absolutely no sense. Listening to it without the pictures is almost as frightening.
It’s an hour and a half long, indescribably bombastic and features such classy guest voices as Ann Margaret, Oliver Reed (whose singing was every bit as chronic as his alcoholism) and Paul Nicholas (yes, him from [I]Just Good Friends[/I]).
Its genius is that it makes one
of the silliest records in history
slightly more silly and if you can
resist seeing the accidentally
ridiculous side of of ‘Tommy, Can
You Hear Me?’ and ‘See Me, Feel
Me’ then you are beyond hope 8/10.
Obviously, The Who themselves didn’t see the funny side, and were happy to plunge enormous amounts of money into bringing the similarly emotionally overwrought [I]Quadrophenia[/I] into cinemas across the world.
Sneakily, they managed to avoid letting the acting talent (Phil Daniels! Sting! Lesley Ash!) have a go at singing, so it isn’t anywhere near as funny as ‘Tommy’, and without the pictures you can’t see how the film-makers made the pioneering link between schizophrenia and wearing eyeliner. Booo. Let’s slash the seats. 5/10
Their final movie, [I]The Kids Are Alright[/I], cheated the public even more by not featuring a stupid, overblown plot or a cast of shit British actors. In fact it’s just a compilation of their most memorable TV and film appearances. As a kind of alternative greatest hits, the soundtrack does a pretty good job, with a superb, fast version of ‘A Quick One’ – the precursor to their future rock operas – but get the video instead 7/10.