"A critic's typical praise is 'Beautifully understated.' That means beautifully false . . . I'd rather go the other way - to gamble rather than play it safe. If I err it's by overstating, but I try to get it right." ~Ken Russell on Directing
Tommy is blind, deaf and dumb, but there is nothing wrong with him. As a small child, he accidentally witnessed the murder of his father by his stepfather. His mother and stepfather told him to forget everything he had seen and heard, and to never talk about it; but Tommy carried it to the extreme, turned inward, and stopped seeing, hearing or speaking at all. He suffered much while growing up, and finally found happiness in, of all things, playing pinball. When he became the world champion pinball player it brought his family fame and fortune. After being spontaneously healed, he began to teach others of his unique perspective on life, eventually becoming a religious cult figure.
Click here to watch the trailer:
Your senses will never be the same
Ken Russell originally wanted Christopher Lee to play the Doctor. But he was in Bangkok, Thailand, filming The Man with the Golden Gun. Luckily, Jack Nicholson was in London at the time, and he was brought in as a last-minute replacement for Lee. His singing and his film part were filmed and recorded in 18 hours.
According to Pete Townshend, Oliver Reed had incredible problems recording his part of the soundtrack owing to his inability to sing, and he was able to complete it only because his singing parts were recorded in small bits. Because of this frustrating experience, Townshend was extremely suspicious towards Jack Nicholson when he was chosen to the role of the doctor. Townshend, however, finally agreed when he heard Nicholson singing effortlessly.
The original choice to play the Acid Queen was David Bowie.
Eric Clapton's appearance in the film was an expression of thanks to Pete Townshend, who had helped Clapton kick his heroin addiction.
Director Ken Russell makes a cameo as one of the cripples during "Eyesight to the Blind/Marilyn Monroe" sequence.
It took three days to film Ann-Margaret's memorable and messy champagne, beans and chocolate sequence and was injured in the process. Yuck can you imagine writhing baked beans for three days?
Click here to watch the sexy grossness:
Ann-Margaret who played Tommy's mother was only three years older than her on-screen son, Roger Daltry.
The building that is seen to be on fire, part of Tommy's holiday camp, is in fact really burning down. It is South Parade Pier in Southsea. A fire was accidentally started during the filming and the crew decided to include the footage in the film. The fire-crews and the fire are genuine. The pier was rebuilt and is still in use today.
Rod Stewart was originally intended to play the pinball wizard, but Elton John talked him out of it. John then took the part himself.
Click here to watch the pinball wizard scene:
George Lucas was offered the chance to direct this movie in the early-1970s, but turned it down because he was developing American Graffiti.
John Lennon appears in the last car that is flashed during the "I'm Free" running sequence.
Uncle Ernie: I'm your wicked Uncle Ernie; I'm glad you won't see or hear me, As I fiddle about, fiddle about, fiddle about. Your mother left me here to mind you, And I'm doing exactly what I bleedin' well want to, Fiddling about, fiddling about, fiddle about. Down with your bedclothes, Up with your nightshirt...
Acid Queen: Gather your wits and hold on fast, Your mind must learn to roam. Just as the Gypsy Queen must do, You're gonna hit the road! My work is done, now look at him. He's never been more alive. His head it shakes, his fingers clutch. Watch his body writhe! I'm the Gypsy, the Acid Queen, Pay me before I start. I'm the Gypsy, I'm guaranteed To break your little heart.