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Life and Arts

DVD review: ‘Quadrophenia’ gets remixed

DVD review: ‘Quadrophenia’ gets remixed
L to R: Trevor Laird as Ferdy, Toyah Willcox as Monkey, Philip Davis as Chalky, Sting as Ace Face, Leslie Ash as Steph, Phil Daniels as Jimmy, Gary Shail as Spider, Garry Cooper as Peter, Mark Wingett as Dave.
(Courtesy of the Criterion Collection)

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).