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The Who’s classic rock opera Quadrophenia was the basis for this invigorating coming-of-age movie and depiction of the defiant, drug-fueled London of the early 1960s. Our antihero, Jimmy (Meantime’s Phil Daniels), is a teenager dissatisfied with family, work, and love, who identifies with the fashionable, pill-popping, scooter-driving mods, a group whose opposition to the motorcycle-riding rockers leads to a climactic riot in Brighton. Director Franc Roddam’s rough-edged film is a quintessential chronicle of youthful rebellion and turmoil, with Pete Townshend’s brilliant songs (including “I’ve Had Enough,” “5:15,” and “Love, Reign O’er Me”) providing emotional support, and featuring Sting (Dune) and Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) in early roles.
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I've compared the two Blu-ray editions in an A-B test, and I believe that the Universal Blu-ray has significantly better detail. For some strange reason The Criterion edition is slightly and annoyingly zoomed, cutting away details which the Universal edition proves were clearly meant to have been seen in the widescreen frame. The Criterion video is much brighter (which is not necessarily an improvement) - and although it is slightly fuzzy, it is definitely more pristine (the Universal has a small number of barely noticeable glitches, which are not visible on the Criterion).
I haven't heard the Criterion commentary track yet (director Franc Roddam and cinematographer Brian Tufano), but I certainly enjoyed the Universal one with Franc Roddam and actor Phil Daniels.
The audio for both Blu-ray editions is excellent - both for the restored original stereo and for each edition's sometimes starkly different 5.1 surround options (with the Criterion having the superior edge). The answer is to ideally own both editions to enjoy the best of each. However in the UK and Australia the "All Regions" Universal edition is very cheap, and fans ought to be quite content with it - especially because the much more expensive Criterion edition is Region A locked.
I'm very happy that one of my top five favourite films has been restored and preserved for future appreciation in not just one, but two excellent quality high definition editions.
THere is a really nicely produced booklet that comes with this that includes the original Album story notes and some new historical pieces on the film and the disk has some cool extras including some great French footage of the Who playing in 1962/63 interspersed with interviews with various "out of their head" mods.
I LOVE Quadrophenia...it's just a great story of making the awkward transition from the teenage angst years to adulthood - successfully or not in Jimmy's case...for any US buyer who's not familiar with the story and the setting, I would highly recommend doing a little online research about Mods & Rockers and early 60's British youth culture. It's set in an era that's a bit hard for many Americans to grasp - one of real social upheavel and the emergence of young people as their own uniquely defined culture or sub-culture (imagine punks but instead of spiked hair and piercings, you had quaffed hairdos, smart suits and scooters)...and it makes a lot more 'sense' if you udnerstand this a bit...you'll understand what the culmination of the movie with the pitched seaside / shore battles between gangs of mods and rockers is all about.