Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Caribbean Week: Film, The Harder They Come


There are many movies that have shot in the Caribbean, for example, several Bond movies. I don't know of many movies about the Caribbean. The number of foreign films that make it to the United States gets smaller and smaller every year.

The movie THE HARDER THEY COME was a tiny movie release in the States in the early '70s. The soundtrack, constantly rated as one of the top albums ever, is credited for introducing reggae music to the world. The album isn't strictly reggae, it's also rocksteady, rudeboy and ska.

I saw this movie for the first time in my 20s. Although it is in English the film had subtitles because the Jamaican accents were so strong. This gritty little movie became a cult classic. Of course Hollywood wants to remake it. It is set up at New Line. sigh.

The story is based on a real life gangster. Jimmy Cliff plays a man who gets involved with the wrong folks as he tries to make it in the music business. The soundtrack is a must have for anyone who loves music. The following clip of "Many Rivers to Cross" is from SNL. Jimmy was the first reggae artist to appear on the show. I know I am going to sound hella old but notice he is singing LIVE. No tracks, backing vocals or lip synching. How many "singers' do that today? UB40 did a cover in the late '80s that was pretty popular.

3 comments:

Jess said...

I've never seen this movie, though I've heard of it many times. I think I need to look for a copy! We just had a movie open up here that was written and starred in by a St. Maartener named Ian Valz, who has mostly done plays before nom. It was filmed here as well and is called Panman. I'm hoping to go see it this week.

I got to see Jimmy Cliff play here at the carnival village. It was a great show, with a crowd that adored him and sang along to everything. It was weird though, he was opening up for Elephant Man - very different feeling!

gibber said...

Nice post. I love that song...just LOVE it. What a voice on him!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jess - I will google Panman and see what I find out. I would love to see Jimmy Cliff live.

gibber - I agree.