The Harder They Come
|The Harder They Come|
|Directed by||Perry Henzell|
|Produced by||Perry Henzell
Chris Blackwell (exec.—uncredited)
|Written by||Perry Henzell
Trevor D. Rhone
|Music by||Jimmy Cliff
Franklyn St. Juste
|Editing by||Reicland Anderson
|Studio||International Films Inc.
|Distributed by||New World Pictures|
|Release date(s)||1972 (Venice Film Festival)
February 8, 1973 (US)
|Running time||120 minutes|
|Language||English, Jamaican Patois|
The film stars reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, who plays Ivanhoe Martin, a character based on Rhyging, a real-life Jamaican criminal who achieved fame in the 1940s. Other major roles in the film were played by Janet Bartley (Elsa), Basil Keane (Preacher), Ras Daniel Hartman (Pedro), Beverly Anderson, who eventually married Michael Manley who became the Prime Minister of Jamaica (Upper St. Andrew Housewife), Bob Charlton (Hilton), Jamaican actor Volair Johnson (Pushcart Boy), and well known Jamaican comedians Ed "Bim" Lewis (Photographer), and Aston "Bam" Winter (drunken husband).
The film was released in February 1973 in New York City by Roger Corman's New World Pictures to little attention. It became more popular when it was played to midnight audiences nationwide the following April.
Ivanhoe Martin is a poor Jamaican man in search of a job, before finally getting one as a reggae singer. After recording his song, he discovers the only way he can get a hit record is by signing away the rights. Eventually, Jose (played by Carl Bradshaw), one of the first people he met after he moved to Kingston, offers him an opportunity dealing marijuana. He turns to a life of crime and violence.
The last ten minutes of the film consist of Ivan swimming towards a speeding ship which will take him to safety. However, he cannot grab onto the ladder dangled off the side, and he opens his eyes to find himself beached ashore. He sleeps in the shade of a tree then wakes, alerted to the presence of policemen with rifles. He comes out and lowers his revolvers, but the police shoot him many times and the film ends abruptly, cutting to the credits. He is presumed dead.
- Jimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe "Ivan" Martin
- Janet Bartley as Elsa
- Carl Bradshaw as Jose
- Ras Daniel Hartman as Pedro
- Basil Keane as Preacher
- Bob Charlton as Hilton
- Winston Stona as Detective Ray Jones
Novel derived from the movie 
In 1980, Jamaican American author Michael Thelwell published a novel based on the movie, using the same title. It has been noted that Thelwell inserted many Jamaican proverbs into the novel that were not in the movie.
Stage play 
In 2005, The Harder They Come was adapted into a stage musical by the Theatre Royal Stratford East and UK Arts International in the UK, with a script overseen by Henzell. The show opened on 25 March 2006, boasting not only the original soundtrack but a couple of additions, including "The Ganja Song", written by Geraldine Connor. It later moved to the Playhouse Theatre and was performed in Toronto and Miami.
Plans are afoot for a remake of the movie, with a screenplay written by Chris Salewicz. The film is a joint venture between Henzell's daughter Justine, Xingu Films and Conquering Lion Pictures. Filming is due to begin in 2013.
Uses in other media 
- Kenner, Rob (2009) "Trevor Rhone, a Writer of ‘The Harder They Come,’ Dies at 69", The New York Times, 21 September 2009, retrieved 11 November 2012
- Katz, David (2006-12-04). "Obituary: Perry Henzell". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Campbell, Howard (2012) "Cast that made a classic", Jamaica Observer, 15 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012
- "Perry Henzell - Obituaries, News - The Independent". The Independent (London). 2006-12-02. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- McLellan, Dennis (2006-12-02). "Perry Henzell and Trevor D. Rhone; their movie `The Harder They Come' brought reggae to the world". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-13.
- Weiler, A. H. (1973-02-09). "Screen: Not for Tourists:Jamaica's Other Face in 'Harder They Come". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- "The Harder They Come". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- "The Harder They Come". Variety. 1972-09-06. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Coteus, Stephen. 2011. "Touble never sets like rain": Proverb (in)direction in Michael Thelwell's The Harder They Come. Proverbium 28:1-30.
- Johnson, Richard (2012) "Keeper of the flame: Justine Henzell protecting her father’s legacy", Jamaica Observer, 11 November 2012, retrieved 11 November 2012
- "Reggae show The Harder They Come goes global". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Pulver, Andrew (2011-04-11). "The Harder They Come set for modern reggae remake". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Campbell, Howard (2011) "'Harder They Come' Remake Set For 2012", Jamaica Gleaner, 11 April 2011, retrieved 2011-04-25