Quadrophenia: Can You See the Real Me?

Director Matt O'Casey
United Kingdom / 70 min. / 2012 / English

Famed today as The Who’s masterpiece, few folks remember the fateful beginnings of this gem, conceived in solitude by Townshend. A treasure trove of details: mod history, lyrical message, disastrous tour, and the world’s noisiest studio. 


Celebrated today as a masterpiece, few folks remember the fateful beginnings of this gem, conceived in solitude by Townshend and delivered to the rest of the quartet in the form of a demo. Its birth came from a comedown, a comedown from amphetamine to be exact. In the throes of the hangover, the leader of The Who sketched the original concept of the record: the story of Jimmy the mod, and his four schizoid personalities. Townshend comes clean that he then had to adapt the narrative so the music would go down all right with the other “three yobbos” in the group. This is the gateway into the documentary, which then proceeds to offer us a treasure trove of details: great attention is paid to revealing the true story of the original mods (and how Townshend became the spokesman for in-articulate mods), steeped in the lyrical messages and hidden meanings that characterise the music. It describes how the world’s noisiest studio was built and the consequent disastrous tour (in which The Who completely abandoned Quadrophenia). A feast of unseen material and Townshend’s caustic affirmations make Quadrophenia. Can You See the Real Me? a very special story.


Showing format

in festivals
Sheffield Doc Festival, LA Music Awards

The Who

Richard Fretwell

Ric Clark

Matt O'Casey

Film company

Film distributor

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