directed by Perry Henzell
Jamaica 1972

 

Reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff is Ivan, a rural Jamaican musician who journeys to the city of Kingston in search of fame and fortune. Pushed to desperate circumstances by shady record producers and corrupt cops, he finally achieves notoriety— as a murderous outlaw. Boasting some of the greatest music ever produced in Jamaica, The Harder They Come brought the catchy and subversive rhythms of the rastas to the U.S. in the early ’70s.

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1972 - Venice Film Festival

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

BMG UK Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion US Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

BMG

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection (spine # 83)

Region 0  - NTSC


Both non-anamorphic transfers look similar... and somewhat weak. Positively the Criterion is a very uncharacteristically non-HD sourced (see 'combing' in last capture) image that has flaws. The BMG is just a little sharper. Colors don't seem manipulated, although I see a very small degree of red in the BMG. Overall I think the BMG may be the better bet for image, but the Criterion has some valued extras (an audio commentary by Perry Henzell and star Jimmy Cliff, Exclusive video interview with Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, Illustrated bio-discographies on the film’s contributing musicians etc.).

 

*********

The Criterion DVD is one of their earlier DVDs which simply recycled their 12" LaserDisc transfer. Despite some print damage, that Laser had beautiful color reproduction for the format and when Criterion recycled it for DVD, it was far too overdigitized to the point of a slight, hazy degradation throughout. Furthermore, the landmark music score that helped bring Reggae and Rasta from the fringe to the mainstream was presented in solid PCM 2.0 Mono on the Laser, but very downgraded to Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono, so that disc was a huge disappointment. When you consider the upgrades the company did to MONTEREY POP, this is unfortunate. The extras are the only reason to get the Criterion. The other DVD in this comparison is the BMG version, which has an image that looks far better and more like the film-like quality of the LaserDisc. The Criterion version has the missing footage absent from previous VHS & Beta copies, yet the BMG claims an alternate ending, which I could not investigate at the time of posting. BMG also offers different extras, as does a third version not part of this comparison; the 30th Anniversary release by Xenon. Unlike the compared versions, this one offers a 5.1 Dolby mix of the film and a 1.66 X 1 non-anamorphic version of the film that has a different print than the other two. Too bad it was a more problematic print with more damage and duller colors, while the 5.1 mix is just a spreading of the sound they had available. The Xenon and BMG share about the same extras, but the Xenon is Region 1, and BMG has the best picture of the three. Whether 1.33 or 1.66 is the correct aspect ratio is one problem which will hopefully be solved with an HD version. If you are a fan, you will need to own the Criterion and Xenon or Criterion and BMG on the extras front at least. Considering what a landmark of music this is, the sound will need to be remastered for DTS-HD, MLP and DSD is BMG gets to do an audiophile soundtrack now that they
are part of Sony. If it gets the treatment it deserves, could they please get all the extras on one disc and throw in the sequel SMILE ORANGE while they are at it?

Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

NOTE: For details on the extras, subtitles and audio options of The Harder They Come please see our friends at (CLICK LOGO)

These captures are courtesy of DVD-Compare, now hosted by DVDBeaver, and very special thanks to Thomas Koeberl (version captures appreciation noted at bottom). They are captured using the "Forced Weave" method with non-manipulated native resolution, no bi-cubic filtering and jpeg compression of 90%. 

 


The Harder They Come - BMG UK - RC2 (PAL) 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - BMG UK - RC2 (PAL) 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - BMG UK - RC2 (PAL) 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - BMG UK - RC2 (PAL) 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - BMG UK - RC2 (PAL) 4:3

 


The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

The Harder They Come - Criterion Collection USA - Region 0 - NTSC 4:3

NOTE: Combing evident in "Forced Weave" mode - this DVD is NOT Hd-sourced.

 

screen captures by roland heurex

 

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

BMG

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection (spine # 83)

Region 0  - NTSC


 



 

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