Quadrophenia 1979 Criterion Collection
In the early 1960s, there were two cultures competing for the hearts and minds of London's youths. The first were the Mods. They were stylish, wearing well-kept suits, and listened to soul and R&B tracks. They also did a lot of speed and rode around on scooters. Their mortal enemies were the Rockers, who were rude, crude, drove motorbikes, and listened to American rock 'n' roll. Clashes between the two groups were frequent and often violent. Declaring allegiance to one group meant the near-constant threat of retribution from the other.

Loosely based on the 1973 double album of the same title by The Who, Quadrophenia is a gritty, dour slice of kitchen-sink alienation set against the early-’60s conflict between rival teenage gangs in England. The protagonist is Jimmy (Phil Daniels), a rather unremarkable young man who attempts to find an outlet for his working-class teenage rage by identifying with the Mods, a British youth subculture associated with Italianate fashion, R&B, and motor-scooters. As the film’s title—which is simultaneously a riff on the idea of split personalities (incorrectly attributed to schizophrenia) and four-track sound recording—suggests, Jimmy is internally divided among multiple selves, constantly torn in different directions and therefore incapable of deciding what he wants in life. For him there is no peace, only constant stimulation and turmoil, which he enhances with a steady diet of amphetamine pills and conflict with Rockers, the Mods’ leather jacket-clad, motorcycle-riding opponents.

Jimmy spends much of his time with his Mod friends Chalky (Philip Davis), Dave (Mark Wingett), and Spider (Gary Shail). He has a day job, working in the mailroom at an advertising firm, but he resents his lowly station in life, which is reinforced by his own lack of ambition and interpersonal confusion. He is attracted to and semi-involved with Steph (Leslie Ash), a pretty local girl who moves in and out of his various circles. One day in a bathhouse he runs into Kevin (Ray Winstone), an old friend who has left the army and is now running with the Rockers, thus complicating the comfortably simplistic us-versus-them mentality that helps Jimmy make sense of his world. At home, he is in constant conflict with his parents (Kate Williams and Michael Elphick), who don’t understand him and his apparent aimlessness. Thus, everything in Jimmy’s life contributes directly to his alienation, fueling his sense of social and personal estrangement even as he reaches desperately for some kind of connection, which he imagines might be found in Ace Face (Sting), the unofficial leader of the Mods in whom he sees an ideal self.

Director: Franc Roddam
Cast: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Philip Davis, Mark Wingett, Sting
Country: UK
Genre: Crime, Drama, Music

• Audio commentary by director Franc Roddam and cinematographer Brian Tufano
• Video with coproducer and Who comanager Bill Curbishley
• Video interview and restoration demonstration with Who sound engineer Bob Pridden
• Segment on the film from a 1979 episode of the BBC series Talking Pictures, featuring interviews and on-set footage
• Segment from a 1964 episode of the French news program Sept jours du monde about mods and rockers
• Seize millions de jeunes: “Mods,” a 1965 episode of the French youth-culture program, featuring early footage of the Who
• Trailers

2 x DVD9 | NTSC 16:9 | 01:59:53 | 7.92 Gb + 5.59 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

BD50 | AVC 1080p | 02:00:03 | 44 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Related posts:

  1. The In-Laws (1979) DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  2. Being There (1979) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  3. The Brood (1979), Crimes of the Future (1970) 2 x DVD9 and Blu-Ray Criterion Collection
  4. Wise Blood (1979) DVD9 Criterion Collection
  5. Butch and Sundance: The Early Days (1979) DVD5 and Blu-Ray