The Harder They Come

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.

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

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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