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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | March 3, 2021

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New Farm Cinema Presents Tommy and the New Pinball Wizard

New Farm Cinema Presents Tommy and the New Pinball Wizard

| On 28, Feb 2016

In 1969, The Who released the double concept album “Tommy”, which was thankfully adapted into a feature length film six years later. On the 5th of March, New Farm Cinemas will take you back to the surreal and experimental rock musical with their special screening and unofficial pinball tournament.

“Tommy” tells the story of a blind and deaf man who becomes an adept pinball player, and subsequently a leader of a religious cult. The film is directed by Academy Award winning director Ken Russell, and it stars an ensemble of actors and musicians from the likes of Ann-Margret, The Who’s own Roger Daltrey, Elton John, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton and Oliver Reed


Russell exploits surrealist imagery though the films many visuals, which range from the Marilyn Monroe centred church cleansing to the most bizarre – a television set exploding in a mixture of bubbles, chocolate milk and baked beans. The overall film is a juxtaposition of rock music numbers and experimental imagery, which somehow flowed smoothly given Russell’s expertise.

In terms of comparisons to other well-known musicals, “Tommy” could really only be likened to Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”, since they share the same surreal imagery and progressive rock mentality. Not to mention both have a lead singer of a rock band portraying the protagonist: Roger Daltrey as the titular Tommy and The Boomtown Rats’ Bob Geldof as Pink in “The Wall”.

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The songs throughout the film are so memorable that they still have consistent airplay on rock radio stations. Undoubtedly, Elton John’s cover of The Who’s earlier hit “Pinball Wizard” is the standout performance and scene in the entire film; the scene basically steals the show. Other songs like “I’m Free” and “The Acid Queen” are underrated rock gems; and contain magical visuals – especially the latter.

Overall, “Tommy” is a masterpiece of the rock genre and should be seen by all music fans, even for those who aren’t that keen on The Who. “Tommy” should be watched by fans of musicals and general rock music alike.

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Tommy will be screening at New Farm Cinemas on the 5th of March. Tickets are available here

Photo Credits: Benefits of a Classical Education,,