Jamaica has served for the background of various pix, and now comes up with its first indigenous pic. It has a sharp and racy rhythm, in keeping with the music of the isle, plus a social theme in the guise of a familiar tale of a man pushed into becoming a small-time underworld character and then popular hero before he is shot down by the police.

Jamaica has served for the background of various pix, and now comes up with its first indigenous pic. It has a sharp and racy rhythm, in keeping with the synchopated music of the isle, plus an underlying social theme in the guise of a familiar tale of an ambitious young man pushed into becoming a sort of small-time underworld character and then popular hero before he is shot down by the police.

Jimmy Cliff is jaunty , with charm as the provincial who comes to the big town after the death of his grandmother. He cannot find work as a singer of rock ballads, and ends up working for a harsh preacher. He takes a shine to the preacher’s ward and runs off with her.

For this, he gets whipped an begins to run drugs, manages to make a record, which catches on, but is kept from being exploited by a corrupt businessman who controls the music combines. He goes back to drugs, kills a policeman and becomes the public hero only to be finally shot down.

Perry Henzell emerges a director with a solid visual flair who can mix action and inchoate rage sans excess to give the film a taut pacing and use the local color and a basically predictable tale with a few new twists. The knife fight is a dramatic extension of the anti-hero’s rage at the corruptness around him and the whipping is rightly rugged sans any sadistic forcing.

It has the elements for playoff abroad and also legs for the so-called U.S. black market these days.

The Harder They Come

Jamaica

Production

International Films Ltd. Release and production. Directed by Perry Henzell. Screenplay, Henzell, Trevor Rhone.

Crew

Camera (Eastmancolor), Frank St. Juste, David McDonald, Peter Jessop; editor, John Victor Smith, Seicland Anderson, Richard White; art director, Sally Henzell. Produced by Henzell. Reviewd at Venice Film Fest, Aug. 24, '72. Running Time: 105 minutes.

With

Ivan - Jimmy Cliff Jose - Carl Bradshaw Elsa - Janet Bartley Pedro - Ras Daniel Hartman Preacher - Basil Keane Hylton - Bobby Charlton Detective - Winstone Stona
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