When I was about ten years old my mom and stepdad took me to see this movie called The Music Lovers, about the life of Tchaikovsky. In retrospect, I’m sure they were expecting, well, I don’t know what they were expecting, but I’m sure they weren’t expecting a Ken Russell movie. And although they were never overly concerned with age-appropriate material where I was concerned (I was the kid reading Cosmo and the Harrad Experiment when I was like, twelve), I think they were probably surprised at the focus in the film on the “Lovers” at least as much the “Music,” and I recall quite well a scene where someone, Glenda Jackson I think, has cholera, covered with open sores, and at this time they think that the cure for cholera is to throw someone into a scalding bath, so there’s naked Glenda Jackson covered with sores and she’s boiling and I’m like, ten.
All this to say that when I was fourteen, I didn’t get to go see Tommy with my friends. Admittedly I can’t remember the specifics of why, but there was a lot of talk at the time about how outrageous it was, and so as usual, the cool kids at school were out seeing Tommy and Elton John concerts and Nina and I were home on Saturday nights watching Donnie and Marie.
I have finally seen Tommy. And it for sure holds up in it’s outrageously tripped out weirdness, if not in – well, it was 1975. Does anything from then hold up very well? Anyway, I have a feeling that had I seen it in 1975, the sight of Ann-Margret in a crocheted halter jumpsuit rolling around in a combination of baked beans, chocolate, and soap suds, I would have been at least as traumatized as seeing naked choleric Glenda Jackson boiling.
So, thanks for that, folks. Sometimes parents do know best.