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London, 1965: Like many other youths, Jimmy hates the philistine life, especially his parents and his job in a company's mailing division. Only when he's together with his friends, a 'Mod' clique, cruises London on his motor-scooter and hears music such as that of 'The Who' and 'The High Numbers', he feels free and accepted. However, it's a flight into an illusionary world.
For more about Quadrophenia and the Quadrophenia Blu-ray release, see the Quadrophenia Blu-ray Review
Starring: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Philip Davis, Sting, Ray Winstone
Director: Franc Roddam
» See full cast & crew
Quadrophenia Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, August 18, 2012
Franc Roddam's "Quadrophenia" (1979) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailers; short interview with the Who's sound engineer, Bob Pridden; a segment and episode from two different French television shows; exclusive new audio commentary by director Franc Roddam and cinematographer Brian Tufano; new video interview with producer Bill Curbishley; and a segment from the BBC series Talking Pictures. The release also arrives with a 36-page illustrated booklet featuring Howard Hampton's "Jimmy vs World", Irish Jack's "History", and Pete Tonwshend's "Quadrophenia: Liner Notes from the Album". In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main features. Region-A "locked".
London, the early '60s. 19-year-old Jimmy (Phil Daniels) hates his dead-end job. He also hates his boss and the cops he sees each day on the way to work. He even hates his parents. The only people he likes are his friends, the Mods - young boys and girls who dress in fancy clothes and ride fancy scooters. When he is around them, he feels alive.
Jimmy is single but not in a rush to be in a relationship. He likes Steph (Leslie Ash) but is too busy fantasizing about the annual clash with the Rockers, the Mods' archrivals. This year's gathering will be in Brighton and he already knows that it will be a special one. The Mods will outnumber the Rockers and kick their asses.
The leader of the Mods is Ace Face (Sting), a handsome and overconfident boy who is always surrounded by beautiful girls. Jimmy admires Ace Face because he has a style. Unlike his boss and coworkers, Ace Face is also real. Jimmy is convinced that if everyone was like Ace Face the world would have been a far better place – and far more exciting.
Eventually, the special day arrives and the Mods head to Brighton. On the beach, they clash with the Rockers, seriously hurting some and forcing others to run away. By the time the police arrives, half the city is covered with blood and shattered glass. Impressed by his uncontrollable anger, Steph allows Jimmy to make love to her while the police are rounding up their friends. After they leave their hiding place, Jimmy is also arrested.
Back home Jimmy is told to pack his bags and leave the house. He goes a step further and also quits his job. He spends his final payment on a bag of 'blues', which he shares with a few of his friends. Then, barely able to contain his anger, he heads to the beach.
Franc Roddam's cult Quadrophenia is a film of two contrasting halves. The first creates the impression that it might be a light comedy about young boys who cannot stay out of trouble. The second hits very hard, summing up the frustration of British youth during the '60s. It is loaded with the type of nihilisms that will eventually give birth to the punk movement and later on football hooliganism.
Quadrophenia was Roddam's first feature film. Before directing it in 1979, Roddam had done mostly TV material. The film has an episodic structure which works perfectly for the Who's fantastic score, but it is not a musical. It has a clear direction and a very distinctive sense of realism.
The cast is sensational. Daniels is a mad dog whose anger is often suffocating but at the same time pure. There isn't even a whiff of artificiality in it. To some his frustration may look awkward now, but many young people of his generation felt exactly as he does. Sting's acting debut is also an impressive one. A very young and skinny Ray Winstone makes his presence felt as well.
Cinematographer Brian Tufano's (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) lensing is top notch. Practically the entire film looks appropriately raw but at the same time very elegant. The finale where the disillusioned Jimmy tries to gather his thoughts is legendary.
Quadrophenia Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Franc Roddam's Quadrophenia arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on a Spirit 4K film scanner from a 35mm interpositive. It was then color graded on a Baselight 8 digital grading system, under the supervision of director of photography Brian Tufano. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Image Systems' Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Telecine supervisors: Brian Tufano, Lee Kline.
Colorist: Stephen Berman/Deluxe Digital London.
Film scan: Universal Digital Services, Universal City, CA."
Detail is never seriously compromised by post-production lab tinkering. Clarity is also pleasing, with many of the panoramic shots from Brighton boasting excellent fluidity (see screencapture #13). Contrast fluctuates but the changes in image tonality are inherited. Grain is well resolved, though depending on how and where different sequences were shot the light either overexposes or tones down some of it. There are no traces of excessive sharpening. Other serious transfer specific anomalies, such as heavy banding and aliasing, are also nowhere to be seen. Finally, there are no large damage marks, debris, or cuts to report in this review. All in all, this is a solid release of Quadrophenia that should make fans of the film very happy. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Quadrophenia Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English LPCM 2.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The film was originally released with a 2.0 stereo soundtrack, which is presented as the default track on this disc. It was restored and remastered at 24-bit from the 1979 Dolby magnetic master. Artifacts such as dropouts, azimuth errors, hums, and thumps were manually mitigated using the Pro Tools HD platform.
Pete Townsend originally envisioned the 1973 album Quadrophenia as a quadraphonic, or four-channel surround, recording. In 2011, Townsend and the Who's sound engineer, Bob Pridden, went back to the record's original source tapes to create a deluxe, remastered box set of the album, entitled Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut, for which they also created new 5.1 surround versions of certain songs. Knowing that this work had been done, Criterion contacted the band and asked them to work with us on making 5.1 versions of the Who songs in the movie.
For this release of Quadrophenia, we created an all-new, remixed 5.1 surround soundtrack, produced at 24-bit using a variety of sound elements from the original album and the 1979 movie. All the Who music was taken from first-generation sources - 4 track 1/2-inch, 8 track 1-inch, and 16-track and 24-track 2-inch analogue tapes - found in the band's archives. In some cases, the songs were reconstructed from scratch from these original multitrack recordings. The film's dialogue and effects were taken from the original 35mm dialogue/music/effects magnetic audio stems. The availability of these separate dialogue and effects stems enabled us to render a detailed and engaging 5.1 audio image. Under the supervision of the band and the film's editor, Sean Barton, a brand-new mix was created at Deluxe 142, in London, by mixer Alan Sallabank, and approved by director Franc Roddam. The staggering result is an immersive experience, and we suggest you play it loud.
Original stereo track restored by: Michael W. Wiese.
5.1 surround remix supervisors: Sean Barton, Bob Pridden, Ryan Hullings.
Songs by the Who supervised and mixed by: Bob Pridden, Richard Whittaker/FX, London.
Songs by the Who mastered by: Jon Astley/Close to the Edge Mastering/London.
5.1 surround film mix by: Alan Sallabank/Deluxe 142, London."
Hats off to everyone involved with this massive project! This is dynamite work of the highest caliber.
Anyone who has previously seen the old R2 2DVD set of Quadrophenia will be blown away by the massive improvements in quality - and I don't mean the pitch corrections. On the new 5.1 track depth and dynamic range are outstanding, opening the film in a way that is almost too good to be true (listen to "Love Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me"). The various background effects, such as the sound of the sea and street noise, have also been rebalanced with the dialog and the music. While comparing the LPCM 2.0 track with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, I also noticed dramatic improvements in the high-frequencies. The surrounds are also very well used, adding more depth to the film but keeping dynamic balance intact. The dialog is crisp, clean, and stable. Most viewers, however, will likely end up using the optional English subtitles as some of the accents are quite thick. All in all, the new 5.1 mix that was created for Quadrophenia is very impressive. As the Criterion crew recommends, play it loud, because it certainly delivers big.
Quadrophenia Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Quadrophenia Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As far as I am concerned, Franc Roddam's Quadrophenia is one of the all-time best British coming-of-age films. It is painfully honest, gritty yet beautiful, superbly acted film. It meant so much to me years ago. Criterion's Blu-ray release of Quadrophenia is everything its fans could have hoped for - the film looks great, sounds unbelievable, and there is a wealth of great supplemental features. This is easily one of my favorite releases this year. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Note: Viewers interested in Quadrophenia may also want to see Ken Russell's Tommy).
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