Quadrophenia

Quadrophenia

Stephen Glynn
Series: Cultographies
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/glyn16741
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  • Book Info
    Quadrophenia
    Book Description:

    1964: Mods clash with Rockers in Brighton, creating a moral panic. 1973: ex-Mod band The Who releaseQuadrophenia, a concept album following young Mod Jimmy Cooper to the Brighton riots and beyond. 1979: Franc Roddam directsQuadrophenia, a film based on Pete Townshend's album narrative; its cult status is immediate. 2013: almost fifty years on from Brighton, this first academic study explores the lasting appeal of 'England'sRebel Without a Cause'. Investigating academic, music, press, and fan-based responses, Glynn argues that the 'Modyssey' enacted in Quadrophenia intrigues because it opens a hermetic subculture to its social-realist context; it enriches because it is a cult film that dares to explore the dangers in being part of a cult; it endures because of its 'emotional honesty', showing Jimmy as failing, with family, job, girl, and group; it excites because we all know that, at some point in our lives, 'I was there!'

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85055-1
    Subjects: Film Studies, Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Stephen Glynn
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-x)

    One looks in vain forQuadrophenia(Franc Roddam, 1979) in the pantheons of academic criticism. In theSight and Soundsurvey of 2012 it received not a single vote from a film maker, critic or academic, (though director Cameron Crowe had the film in his 2002 top ten). Nor has it a place in the BFI top 100 of British films, voted by industry members in 1999. Look to the UK’s more popular media, however, and the situation is reversed. In February 2001Hotdogmagazine placedQuadropheniaat number seven in its list of ‘50 Best British Movies Ever’. In...

  5. 1 PREQUEL: CULT INTO MUSIC
    (pp. 1-24)

    I was a Mod once: or tried to be. The decisive moment came in 1979 when I was at university and dabbling in rock journalism. I recall seeing advertisements seeking actors for a forthcoming feature film based on the Who’s 1973 ‘Quadrophenia’ album. I had no acting talent, but I had anticipation – and a growing sense of rock film history. I had endured pub-room reminiscences from ageing rockers about Bill Haley and the mayhem enjoyed withRock Around the Clock(Fred F. Sears, 1956). I both envied and doubted them – I knew already of John Lennon’s disappointment at the expectations...

  6. 2 PRODUCTION: CULT INTO FILM
    (pp. 25-42)

    The British pop music film, at its peak through the late fifties and sixties, can be seen to fulfil Richard Dyer’s definition of a sub-genre enjoying a three-part life-cycle: the ‘primitive’ and innocent Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard musicals giving way to the ‘mature’ Pop Art knowingness ofA Hard Day’s NightandCatch Us If You Can(John Boorman, 1965), which then lead on to the ‘decadent’ phase, a shrinking maze of selfreferentiality and psycho-political pretension, with Jean-Luc Godard’sSympathy for the Devil(1968) and Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’sPerformance(1970) (Dyer 1981: 1484; Glynn 2013).Tommycan...

  7. 3 ANALYSIS: FILM OF CULT
    (pp. 43-93)

    How is a fan to write a serious study on a favourite film? Looking at the ‘convertibility’ of the subcultural capital acquired through cult fandom, Joanne Hollows, drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Sarah Thornton, makes a division between those who convert it into economic capital through careers in fields such as retailing, distribution and magazines, (a notable core Mod, Justin de Villeneuve, became the svangali for Twiggy’s rise to international success) and those who convert it into ‘proper’ or cultural capital, frequently within academic writing (such as this monograph) (Hollows 2003: 48–9). This latter ‘conversion’ can...

  8. 4 RECEPTION AND AFTERLIFE: FILM INTO CULT
    (pp. 94-128)

    In the United StatesQuadropheniawas never a box-office success and its initial core followers were the cognoscenti of the Who back catalogue. Its ‘group’ cult status grew through early exhibition on the midnight movie circuit, ‘probably the phenomenon most associated with cult movie fandom’ (Jancovich 2003: 3). Critics such as Barry Keith Grant have suggested that the ‘midnight screening’ was central to the construction of the cult film as transgressive, as anti-respectability and as ‘against the logic of “prime-time” exhibition’ (2000: 19), while Joanne Hollows has emphasised how the sites of such screenings, ‘often screened in porn cinemas or...

  9. EPILOGUE THE PUNK AND THE MODFATHER (REVISITED)
    (pp. 129-130)

    Quadropheniais a film that examines one subculture, the Mods, but establishes contrasts with rival Rockers; it employs a cast from and is reflected through the prism of a later subculture, punk; it is also a catalyst for subsequent generations to revisit and revive Mod styles and customs. Thus it is of general appeal to fans of the visual culture, music and life-styles of not just the sixties and seventies, but of every Mod-inflected decade thereafter. Alongside and above this ‘long tail reception’ (Mathijs and Mendik 2008: 8), the film works as a study of alienated youthtout court, applicable...

  10. APPENDIX
    (pp. 131-137)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 138-145)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 146-150)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 151-158)