Los Angeles Times

DVD review: 'Quadrophenia' gets remixed

The Who released their “Quadrophenia” double album in 1973; six years later, they collaborated with director Franc Roddam (“The Bride,” “The Lords of Discipline”) on a film version — now newly restored and being released on Blu-ray and DVD.

When Ken Russell similarly adapted “Tommy,” he had a much more detailed story to work from. “Quadrophenia” is set against a backdrop of the early '60s Mods vs. Rockers conflicts and particularly the Brighton riots (also the setting for last year's “Brighton Rock”).

Phil Daniels plays Jimmy, the central character — vaguely posited as representing the personalities of all four members of the band. Sting — just breaking through in the British record business at the time and still unheard of in the U.S. — makes an early screen appearance.

The visuals have been nicely restored, but the greatest effort has clearly gone into the creation of a 5.1 surround track. (The original two-channel mix is offered as an alternative.) Among the extras is a four-minute interview with Bob Pridden, the Who's sound engineer, about the rebuilding of the soundtrack, followed by clips intercutting both versions; the 5.1 trounces the 2.0, not just through its broader sound, but also in terms of phenomenal clarity.

Also included are a commentary track with the director; two French TV presentations from the era about the Mods and Rockers, totaling about 45 minutes; an interview with producer Bill Curbishley; and a half-hour TV show, looking at the film's production.

"Quadrophenia" (Criterion, Blu-ray, $39.95; DVD, $29.95)

ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).

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