Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

Titles (above)

Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

Both DVDs  BOTTOM

 

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.

***

Cult Jamaican classic starring reggae star Jimmy Cliff as Ivanhoe Martin, a country boy who comes to Kingston to make it big in the music industry. Hampered by payola and music industry corruption, Ivanhoe turns to ganja-dealing to try and make ends meet. Events spiral out of his control and he soon finds himself on the run from the police. The celebrated soundtrack is peppered with reggae classics by the likes of Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, The Melodians and Cliff himself who performs, among others, the title track and the timeless 'Many Rivers to Cross'.  

 

Posters

Theatrical Release: 1972 - Venice Film Festival

Reviews                                                                     More Reviews                                                                 DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

BMG UK Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion US Region 0 - NTSC vs. Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

DVD screen captures by roland heurex

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

BMG

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection (spine # 83)

Region 0  - NTSC

Odeon Entertainment

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Odeon Entertainment

Region FREE - Blu-ray

1:42:45.875
1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,009,965,004 bytes

Feature: 17,582,456,832 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
None

Release Information:
Studio: Odeon Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:

1.78:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 36,009,965,004 bytes

Feature: 17,582,456,832 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Hard Road to Travel - The Making of The Harder They Come` documentary (51:59)
• `One and All - The phenomenon of The Harder They Come` featurette (10:05)
• Interview with Jimmy Cliff Interview (9:38)

• Interview with Arthur Gorson (3:50) (Film and Record Producer)
• Interview with David MacDonald (Director of Photography)  (37:51)
• Interview with Yvonne Brewster (Line Producer) (30:03)
• Conversation with Perry Henzell (10:51)
• No Place Like Home `The Harder They Come` music video (3;18)
• `Reggae in a Babylon` trailer (2:18)

Blu-ray Release Date: August 24th, 2015
Standard
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 14

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray (October 2015): Regarding the DVDs - this was one of our very old review/comparisons where we relied on 'Rewind" to detail some of the extras. I simply added some matching captures of the new Odeon Blu-ray and will comment on it here.

Firstly, it has a different opening credit sequence (see title above). Since the DVDs were non-anamorphic, and the Criterion interlaced, the improvement in the 1080P is quite apparent. It can look a little shaky at times but is significantly superior to the SDs with much more information in the 1.78:1 frame. The DVDs were around 1.63:1. So, while the Blu-ray takes a giant leap forward - it is still a shade 'jumpy' at times but colors seem far more true and it played reasonably well on my system via this Odeon Blu-ray - which is possibly the best we'll see this film in this format. The transfer is dual-layered (mega extras) with a supportive bitrate and at 24 frames/second. It seems true to source and without some form of restoration this is all we can ask. Grain textures are very prevalent and there is some depth as well. For more on the restoration see HERE.

NOTE: Peter says in email "Firstly, the 1.66 original image has been stretched to fit anamorphic 1.78! That's pretty ridiculous. Everything looks like it has the "Cinemascope mumps".

Secondly, this transfer is clearly a mish-mash of sources, mostly from a good source (like the negative or a fine grain positive), but also from faded and soft stuff which looks like old release prints. Furthermore, this may have been the reissue which actually cuts three or four scenes out entirely (so I have heard). During the whipping scene, there are splices in it which I'm pretty sure are cutting out a reverse shot of Jimmy Cliff nude. In any event, it's a strange transfer for various reasons, and I'd sure like to see the Criterion one again to compare the footage (and the running time, not that I'm sure the Criterion has the missing bits, either.)
"

And I dug out the Criterion version, as well. While I haven't identified the potentially missing scenes yet, and the running time is the same between the both.

However, in my estimation, the Blu-ray is actually a serious botch all the way around. The stretching of the image to fake 1.78 widescreen looks terrible. Really terrible. Once you notice how every face has become oblong, it's hard to unsee it.

From a source material standpoint, what is gained in detail is lost in very erratic shifts of color. The Kodachrome lushness of the 16mm "look" of the film is entirely replaced by a flat, often quite faded appearance. This is surely because it was entirely created in the digital domain from less-than-ideal sources at times. One sequence from about 50:20 onwards is cobbled together from material so badly faded that it begs the question why they didn't use an existing un-faded video source (like Criterion's) when the whole thing was done digitally, anyway.

The track is mono, as it should be... until they decide to replace a song here or there in stereo. Terrible idea, since it's very jarring to the ear to have one song in low-fidelity (production-appropriate) and a few minutes later, crystal-clear stereo appears and then disappears again.

Finally, the title sequence which was so unique and playful has been entirely removed (it animated left to right in a unique type style) and replaced by very dull, static white credits. (And the same for the end credits: the equally playful closing type is replaced by a boring credit scroll.) The subtitles are way more accurate to the patois than the Criterion's, but that is about its only asset.

What we have with this HARDER THEY COME is _not_ a restoration. It's a new version, from 2006, which makes questionable decisions. The fact that it is stretched so badly snuffs it out my interest in it entirely, and I found myself much happier watching the colorful original print on Criterion's version, lo-resolution transfer and all, than the Blu-ray.
" (Thanks Peter!)

A lot should be said about the music - Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, The Slickers etc. It is transferred in a linear PCM and sounds quite good, if a shade inconsistent (like the image). The richness of the vocals and reggae signature sounds are decently crisp if not demo-level. For those curious there is a Perry Henzell Essay: Constructing the Soundtrack if you are interested. There are optional English subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE!

Odeon really provide a massive amount of supplements - Hard Road to Travel - The Making of The Harder They Come` is a 52-minute documentary. NOTE: Prior to filming, the project had a working title of Rhygin. This then changed to Hard Road to Travel before finally being changed to The Harder They Come, prompting Cliff to write the song of the same name. `One and All is a 10-minute featurette on the phenomenon of The Harder They Come` plus there are interviews with Jimmy Cliff, Arthur Gorson (Film and Record Producer), David MacDonald (Director of Photography), Yvonne Brewster (Line Producer) and a conversation with Perry Henzell and a No Place Like Home `The Harder They Come` music video and a trailer for Reggae in a Babylon`.

Bottom line is that this Blu-ray has serious issues. Let's hope someone can release it in a superior edition.

Gary W. Tooze


ON THE DVDs: 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%. 

 

Odeon Entertainment - Region B - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BMG - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Criterion DVD  is interlaced

 

 

More Captures from Odeon Entertainment - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

Distribution

BMG

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection (spine # 83)

Region 0  - NTSC

Odeon Entertainment

Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze