Dom Robinson reviews

QuadropheniaA Way of LifeDistributed by


    • Cat.no: 051 835 2
    • Cert: 18
    • Running time: 114 minutes
    • Year: 1979
    • Pressing: 1999
    • Region(s): 2 (UK PAL)
    • Chapters: 18 plus extras
    • Sound: Stereo
    • Languages: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Fullscreen: 4:3
    • 16:9-enhanced: No
    • Macrovision: Yes
    • Disc Format: DVD 5
    • Price: £17.99
    • Extras : Scene index, 7-minute montage


      Franc Roddam

    (Aria, K2, War Party)


    Roy Baird and Bill Curbishley


    Dave Humphries, Martin Stellman and Franc Roddam


    John Entwistle and Pete Townshend


    Jimmy: Phil Daniels (Meantime, Scum, TV: Sex Chips And Rock N Roll)
    Steph: Leslie Ash (TV: Cats Eyes, Men Behaving Badly)
    Chalky: Philip Davis (Face, Secrets And Lies, The Wall, TV: Births Marriages and Deaths)
    Dave: Mark Wingett (TV: The Bill)
    Ace: Sting (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Brimstone and Treacle, Dune, The Grotesque, Stormy Monday)
    Kevin: Ray Winstone (Face, Ladybird Ladybird, Nil By Mouth, Scum, TV: Births Marriages and Deaths)
    Spider: Gary Shail (TV: Metal Mickey)
    Monkey: Toyah Wilcox (The Ink Thief, The Tempest, TV: Kavanagh Q.C.)
    Jimmy’s father: Michael Elphick (I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, Let Him Have It, TV: Boon, Little Dorrit, The Professionals, Smiley’s People)
    Danny: Daniel Peacock (Party Party, TV: The Comic Strip Presents, Teenage Health Freak)
    Projectionist: Timothy Spall (Secrets and Lies, Sheltering Sky, Still Crazy, The Wisdom of Crocodiles, TV: Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Neville’s Island, Outside Edge, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles)

Quadropheniatells of the rivalry between the Mods and the Rockers. The main Mod is Jimmy (PhilDaniels), leader of the sharp-suited, pill-popping, scooter-riding brigade, whilethe Rockers are fronted by one of his best friends, Kevin (Ray Winstone).After the initial introductions, the action heads towards Brighton for an orgy ofdrugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll, where everyone lands and receives a punch or three.

Amongst it all in a brilliant cast are Jimmy’s Mod mates, Chalky (Philip Davis),Spider (Metal Mickey‘s Gary Shail and Dave (Mark Wingett). Regularwatchers of The Bill will know the latter as PC Jim Carver. In this film he hasquite an effervescent character, who as I type in late 1999, is a world away from the downbeat,alcoholic he plays in the TV series, on the verge of being sacked.

The film follows Jimmy’s failures at work, at home with his parents and his amorousfluctuations (I said *fluctuations* !) including those with the lovely Steph (LeslieAsh) and Monkey (played by an almost-unrecogisable Toyah Wilcox). Add tothis a mysterious character thrown into the mix named Ace (Sting, adding to hispart-time acting career).

The picture isn’t a great deal to shout about. While free of artifacts, the print isfullscreen – but can comfortably be zoomed into 14:9 on a widescreen TV – and shows itsage with drop-outs noticeable at times. The average bitrate is 4.86Mb/s, briefly peakingjust over 8Mb/s.

The soundtrack is stereo only, but is peppered with superb tunes written John Entwistle and Pete Townshend and performed as The Who. If you, too,like their brand of rock, you’ll enjoy the musical interludes as well.

Extras : Chapters :18 chapters – the usual amount for Universal DVDs, from a company previously known asPolygram, but a few more wouldn’t go amiss. There is no theatrical trailer. Languages & Subtitles :English in stereo and subtitles in the same language for the deaf and hard of hearing. Montage :7 minutes of snapshots and clips from the film, plus backstage photos mixedwith soundbites and its music. Worth a look, but not the sort of thing you’llgo back to time and again. Menu :A simple, static shot of Phil Daniels and Leslie Ash on a motorbike, taken from the film,with options to start the film, select a scene, toggle the subtitles on/off or watch themontage.

Overall :It’s rare to find a film that doesn’t play to the obvious, is engaging and has a first-ratecast and script, but Quadrophenia provides all that. However, if there’s one thingit’s lacking, it’s an ending. What’s on screen is great, but you’re left wanting more.

As a DVD, if you’re going to give it regular airings, this DVD is a must and one of itshighlights has to be the energetic dancing to “My Generation” early on in the film.However, at £17.99, I’d expect more than a fullscreen transfer so if you can find itat a discount it will prove a worthy look. Carlton recently released a number of old filmson DVD without much in the way of features, but at a knock-down price of a penny off a tenner.If Universal followed suit here, this would be an instantly-recommendable purchase.

It’s worth noting that the DVD and case greatly complement the target-like appearance ofthe film’s title.

DVD Trivia: Spot the cameo from Eastenders’ Nick Cotton.FILM : ****PICTURE QUALITY : ***SOUND QUALITY: ***EXTRAS: *——————————-OVERALL: ***

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 1999.

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