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The Harder They Come: What a treat!

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The Harder They Come: What a treat!

Old 05-16-02, 11:47 AM
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The Harder They Come: What a treat!

I've been catching up on my DVD viewing a lot lately, but this film is truly a credit to criterion that they brought it out and did such a fine restoration job. Ignoring occasional complaints that the 1.66:1 transfer isn't anamorphic, i can't see a single flaw. The sound is only mono--but is more than adequate. (adjust your home theater to make sure all the sound isn't coming out of your center speaker and you'll be a lot happier)

This film is low-budget in the best sense of the term. It doesn't look like a film full of actors--they look like real people. (I found it funny that one of my favorite characters, Ivan's mom, is one of the few "real" actors in the whole film) Although the basic story of the film seems a bit simplistic, there's really a whole lot more here. An "everyman" (who happens to be a great singer) wants to be famous but it doesn't work out exactly as planned because of the obstacles in his way. While the viewer gets exceedingly frustrated at Ivan for the decisions he makes, it's hard not to get even more upset at the way the corrupt government is using the common people for monetary gain in the drug business and the record industry is short-changing artists.

One of the big reasons that I like foreign films is the chance to catch a glimpse of a people, their culture and their lives. The Harder They Come definitely fits the bill--from the amazing music (the soundtrack is quite impressive) to the view of the public's interaction with government / police / drug industry / music industry.

I needed the subtitles for parts of the film, but now that I've seen it once, I don't know that I'd need them much anymore. The accents and slightly different grammar structures are very interesting.

The producer interview and commentary with the director and star (jimmy cliff) were both very informative. But the best feature of this disc, the one that will keep you putting it into the player over and over is the film itself--and especially the great reggae music.
Old 05-17-02, 12:25 AM
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The reggae music is amazing, and for those who aren't up on their patois we've got english subtitles.
Old 05-17-02, 03:13 PM
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Since it's not anamorphic, I didn't see much of a reason to upgrade from my Criterion LaserDisc. But you're right, it's one of the great overlooked movies of all time.

Especially when you consider its historical significance. Before Bob Marley hit it big, this movie served to launch reggae here in the States.

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