Picks and Pans Review: White City

updated 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/16/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

Pete Townshend

As the musical dramatization of one man's hellish British lower-class existence, this 60-minute tape is haunting. Jim, the balding, fictional protagonist, is a friend of Townshend (who plays himself). The location is the working class West London neighborhood where Pete grew up. Jim, convincingly portrayed by actor Andrew Wilde, had a dreadful childhood as the son of an alcoholic father and a promiscuous, bartending mother; he now is estranged from his wife. The images of Jim's life are, in fact, so harsh that Townshend's songs come as a tangible relief from the unrelenting horror of the rest of director Richard Lowenstein's hour-long nightmare. The movie has disarmingly surreal elements, such as a prepubescent girls' synchronized swim team. Like most music videos, this one contains little linear plotting. Unlike most, it is tremendously touching. (Vestron Music Video, $29.95)

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