Jamaica - The Harder They Come

Episodes

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Broadcast
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20190422 (BBC7)
20190423 (BBC7)

In Part 1 of this two-part series, writer Chris Salewicz explores the cult film The Harder They Come and considers its legacy. He meets the film's stars and those who have been touched by this classic of modern cinema and its soundtrack.

Released in British cinemas in 1973, The Harder They Come is the rite of passage story of Ivan, a young singer trying to break into the music industry. Portrayed by the ever-smiling Jimmy Cliff, the film contains great music and unforgettable scenes of sun-bleached Jamaica. Yet there is a dark heart to the film. Despite his considerable vocal talents, Ivan goes astray and becomes tragically entwined in the criminal underworld.

For British cinema-goers it was their first insight into Kingston's seductive ghetto life, with a far-reaching influence on fashion and music. Before Bob Marley, it was The Harder They Come which launched reggae culture onto the world stage.

Contributors include Jimmy Cliff, discussing real-life gunman, Ryegin, who terrorised Kingston in 1948 and became the inspiration for the lead role. Chappy St Juste, cameraman on the film recalls shooting some memorable scenes, and Sally Henzell, widow of director Perry Henzell, talks about the film's premiere at Kingston's Carib cinema where 40,000 people tried to get in to the 1500 seater auditorium. Carl Bradshaw, who plays Jose, gives us a tour of the film's locations and author Matthew Parker contextualises Jamaica's history as a violent slave outpost "bathed in blood".

Producer: Simon Poole
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Chris Salewicz explores the legacy of cult classic Jamaican film The Harder They Come.

Chris Salewicz explores cult Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come

In Part 1 of this two-part series, writer Chris Salewicz explores the cult film The Harder They Come and considers its legacy. He meets the film's stars and those who have been touched by this classic of modern cinema and its soundtrack.

Released in British cinemas in 1973, The Harder They Come is the rite of passage story of Ivan, a young singer trying to break into the music industry. Portrayed by the ever-smiling Jimmy Cliff, the film contains great music and unforgettable scenes of sun-bleached Jamaica. Yet there is a dark heart to the film. Despite his considerable vocal talents, Ivan goes astray and becomes tragically entwined in the criminal underworld.

For British cinema-goers it was their first insight into Kingston's seductive ghetto life, with a far-reaching influence on fashion and music. Before Bob Marley, it was The Harder They Come which launched reggae culture onto the world stage.

Contributors include Jimmy Cliff, discussing real-life gunman, Ryegin, who terrorised Kingston in 1948 and became the inspiration for the lead role. Chappy St Juste, cameraman on the film recalls shooting some memorable scenes, and Sally Henzell, widow of director Perry Henzell, talks about the film's premiere at Kingston's Carib cinema where 40,000 people tried to get in to the 1500 seater auditorium. Carl Bradshaw, who plays Jose, gives us a tour of the film's locations and author Matthew Parker contextualises Jamaica's history as a violent slave outpost ""bathed in blood"".

Producer: Simon Poole

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Chris Salewicz explores the legacy of cult classic Jamaican film The Harder They Come.

Chris Salewicz explores the legacy of cult classic Jamaican film The Harder They Come.

In Part 1 of this two-part series, writer Chris Salewicz explores the cult film The Harder They Come and considers its legacy. He meets the film's stars and those who have been touched by this classic of modern cinema and its soundtrack.

Released in British cinemas in 1973, The Harder They Come is the rite of passage story of Ivan, a young singer trying to break into the music industry. Portrayed by the ever-smiling Jimmy Cliff, the film contains great music and unforgettable scenes of sun-bleached Jamaica. Yet there is a dark heart to the film. Despite his considerable vocal talents, Ivan goes astray and becomes tragically entwined in the criminal underworld.

For British cinema-goers it was their first insight into Kingston's seductive ghetto life, with a far-reaching influence on fashion and music. Before Bob Marley, it was The Harder They Come which launched reggae culture onto the world stage.

Contributors include Jimmy Cliff, discussing real-life gunman, Ryegin, who terrorised Kingston in 1948 and became the inspiration for the lead role. Chappy St Juste, cameraman on the film recalls shooting some memorable scenes, and Sally Henzell, widow of director Perry Henzell, talks about the film's premiere at Kingston's Carib cinema where 40,000 people tried to get in to the 1500 seater auditorium. Carl Bradshaw, who plays Jose, gives us a tour of the film's locations and author Matthew Parker contextualises Jamaica's history as a violent slave outpost ""bathed in blood"".

Producer: Simon Poole

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Chris Salewicz explores the legacy of cult classic Jamaican film The Harder They Come.

02 LASTLegacy2013110520131109
20190423 (BBC7)
20190424 (BBC7)

Chris talks to the musicians who were directly inspired into a life of crime by the film.

In Part 2 of this two-art series, writer Chris Salewicz revisits Jamaica 40 years since the premiere of the cult film The Harder They Come and talks to the musicians who were directly inspired into a life of crime by the film.

He'll be asking why so many Jamaican musicians have associations with criminality, how Kingston's gun culture began and when politicians carved up downtown Kingston. Former Met Police officer Mark Shields and community worker Pastor Bobby Wilmott of Trenchtown talk about the reality of everyday life there.

Back in Britain, Chris examines the legacy of Jamaica's music and culture on today's youth in the form of reggae's cultural descendant, Bass Culture, which to many eyes glorifies the 'Badman' archetype portrayed in The Harder They Come. Grime MC Flowdan, reggae singer Tappa Zukie, Jimmy Cliff, and black music historian Mykaell Riley all contribute.

Producer: Simon Poole

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Writer Chris Salewicz revisits Jamaica 40 years since the premiere of the cult film The Harder They Come and talks to the musicians who were directly inspired into a life of crime by the film.

In the second and final part of his investigation, Chris asks why so many Jamaican musicians have associations with criminality, how Kingston's gun culture began and when politicians carved up downtown Kingston. Former Met Police officer Mark Shields and community worker Pastor Bobby Wilmott of Trenchtown talk about the reality of everyday life there.

Back in Britain, Chris examines the legacy of Jamaica's music and culture on today's youth in the form of reggae's cultural descendant, Bass Culture, which to many eyes glorifies the 'Badman' archetype portrayed in The Harder They Come. Grime MC Flowdan, reggae singer Tappa Zukie, Jimmy Cliff, and black music historian Mykaell Riley all contribute.

Producer: Simon Poole
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in 2013.

Chris Salewicz investigates the enduring appeal of the Rude Boy in Jamaican music.

Chris Salewicz explores cult Jamaican crime film The Harder They Come