"The Harder They Come" (1972)

..and why not?
User avatar
GoogaMooga
custodian of oldies
Posts: 28762
Joined: 28 Sep 2010, 05:23
Location: Denmark

"The Harder They Come" (1972)

Postby GoogaMooga » 06 Feb 2022, 06:27

NOW STREAMING: "The Harder They Come" (Perry Henzell, 1972) -- It's been nearly 40 years since I first saw "The Harder They Come", Jamaica's first feature film. Back in the day, it was a shining landmark in so many ways - putting Jamaica on the map in terms of pure cinema, making an international star out of Jimmy Cliff, and then there was that extraordinary soundtrack, which became a huge success the world over, solidifying reggae and its forerunner, rocksteady, as a global phenomenon. The soundtrack was like a perfect primer and became a consistent seller through the years. For many people, it was their first encounter with this wonderful music, myself included. In fact, a lot more people own the soundtrack than have ever seen the film, which never really went beyond the realm of cult. The film was directed by Perry Henzell, who was inspired by the cinema verité of Ken Loach and John Cassavetes. Henzell gave his film an immedicay and bouncy spontaneity, using powerful narrative scenes deftly interwoven with incidental shots of lyrical telephoto beauty. The plot is fairly simple: we follow the rise and fall of country bumpkin Ivanhoe Martin (played by Jimmy Cliff), who arrives in a poverty-stricken and crime-ridden Kingston that is a far cry from the glossy tourist brochures and the sandy sea resorts of Montego Bay. The Ivan character is a naive antihero who really means well, but who inevitably gets screwed over by a corrupt record label owner, and whose pie-in-the-sky foolishness eventually leads to his violent demise. Hence the title song; no rudeboy brandishing of guns can help him out of the mess he's gotten himself into. The shootouts get wilder and wilder as the film progresses, and "Django" is playing at the Rialto tonight!
"When the desert comes, people will be sad; just as Cannery Row was sad when all the pilchards were caught and canned and eaten." - John Steinbeck