- Follow-up to THE T. A. M. I. SHOW casts a wider musical net, with lesser results, but Diddley, Tina Turner, and Ronnie Spector keep it pumping. Shot on tape, transferred to film; footage reused in THAT WAS ROCK.
Featuring a mixed bag of pop-tune trends--blues, rock, folk, folk-rock and country music, The Big T.N.T. Show spotlights 11 current personality acts, plus David McCallum in a 94 minute songalog filmed before hundreds of screaming teenagers at Hollywood's old Moulin Rouge nitery. The production, generally well-directed, has something for all teeners and most post-teeners. American International, which last year released the prototype TAMI SHOW, will clean up in the youth market where much playing, and re-playing, time is likely.
Director Larry Peerce has kept a neat pace by mixing up the tune styles, sometimes encoring an act in later reels to give the film more unity. McCallum, who makes an early entrance via okay gag reminiscent of his material on THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. vidseries, variously intros acts, conducts the Ray Charles band and, on one occasion, pontificates too dramatically. (The artists) are spotted to good advantage throughout, singing the songs they made famous, as the saying goes.
Robert Boatman did a first-rate job as first cameraman, using facilities of Mark Armistead once called Electronovision and now called Electrorama. Pic is in 1.85:1 ratio, b & w, with a real live feel to the proceedings. Little distortion is evident in the electronice film process. Peerce, Boatman and editors Ronald Sinclair and Eve Newman rate a big nod for keeping high visual interest. Cuts and dissolves are appropriate to the mood of the music. Only in Donovan's overlong turn does the team falter, with some repetitious angles and cutting. One of his tunes should be eliminated for better pace. There's a consistent scream track (save for Miss Baez and Donovan) which becomes annoyingly obtrusive; the live crowds, while very enthusiastic, didn't maintain this obviously-phony background wail.
Technical credits are excellent all the way down the line. Phil Spector coordinated the music and is credited as producer. End title suggests another sequel next year. A print of each should be buried in a time capsule.
Variety - January 19, 1966
The Big T.N.T. Show isn't any kind of conventional movie. It is a straight variety show with some of the biggest names and talents currently operating in the pop, rock and folk music field. The A.I.P production, photographed "live" during a simulated concert will be a big attraction, especially for younger audiences. The kids will take to it because the stars are their own.
The thread of continuity is provided by David McCallum, another idol of the younger set. He introduces the acts and then gets out of the way. There is not much to say about a film of this sort. The sound might have been more expertly handled. There is a continual din during most of the numbers; that is the way the kids "listen" today. That's alright. It's part of the program. But for a movie, this audience noise might have been modulated so it does not drown out the artist.
Hollywood Reporter - January 19, 1966