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The Harder They Come: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

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The soundtrack for “The Harder They Come” is better than the movie.

In the 1972 cult classic crime drama, the story revolves around an inspiring singer (Ivan) who moves from a rural area to Kingston, Jamaica. Upon arrival, things don’t exactly go well for Ivan as he is robbed, works for a cruel Preacher, and is eventually taken advantage of by a music producer. While the song he recorded becomes a hit, things only worsen for Ivan as he gets caught up in a life of violence and criminal and, eventually, becomes a wanted man.

Directed and co-written by Perry Henzell (Trevor D. Rhone is the other co-writer), “The Harder They Come” is a historically significant movie. Not only is it the first Jamaican film, but it also made reggae music globally popular. Truth be told, the soundtrack is the real MVP here. The iconic Jimmy Cliff sung songs like the title track and “You Can Get It If You Really Want” explode with life as do other tracks by renowned artists such as The Maytals and Desmond Dekker. The songs are truly the life blood of the movie.

As for the cult classic film itself, it’s a bit clunky. The story isn’t exactly revolutionary, the acting (aside from Cliff) is shaky, and there are some bizarre scene transitions. With that said, the raw and bold movie is notable for depicting a specific time and place with Jamaica in the 70s while also telling a cautionary tale about crime, poverty, and ambition. The end sequence is also masterfully and artfully done.

Video/Audio:

1.66:1 1080p. How does it look? The disc boasts a transfer of a 4K scan from original 16mm negative and the results are impressive. The print is in excellent shape and the colors are richer than ever.

5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? While no fault of the 5.1 track, the audio does suffer due to the poorly recorded dialogue. Still, the track does the best it can here. If nothing else, the music sounds sharp.

Extras:
* Still gallery
* “The Harder They Come” music video.
* 5 separate interviews from various years with Jimmy Cliff, Arthur Gorson, director Perry Henzell, DP David MacDonald and line producer Yvonne Brewster.
* “One And All: The Phenomenon Of The Harder They Come”- A featurette on the historical significance of this film (and its music).
* “Hard Road To Travel: The Making Of The Harder They Come”- A 52 minute making of documentary featuring interviews, film clips, behind-the-scenes stories and more.
* The bonus disc includes a conversation with Ridley Scott, interviews from the Reggae Awards, an breakdown of 3 scenes by a cinematographer, featurettes on Dynamic Sound Studios , Perry Henzell’s 10A home, and Henzell’s family, an hour interview with filmmaker Chris Browne, interviews with “No Place Like Home” cast members, an interview with producer Beverly Manley, and an interview with musician Steven Soles.
* By far the most buzzed about extra on this set is the never before released restored cut of the Perry Henzell film “No Place Like Home.” The film wasn’t completed prior to his death, but it has been finished to the best of everyone’s ability. The story concerns a missing actress, a NY film producer searching for her, and travels through Jamaica. It’s an arty, messy movie that strives for realism. An interesting curiosity for those interested.
* P.J. Soles original vocal track for “World Full Of Beauty” and Steven Soles original guitar and vocal track for the same track.
* “No Place Like Home” trailer.
* “Rise Up From The Cutting Room Floor: Restoring No Place Like Home”- The title speaks for itself.
* “Perry Henzell: A Filmmaker’s Odyssey”- A 25 minute documentary on the director.

August 29, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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