JIMMY CLIFF’s role in Perry Henzell’s seminal 1972 feature The Harder They Come simultaneously introduced Jamaican reggae to the outside world and catapulted its star into the international spotlight.
Playing talented bad boy Ivan Martin, Cliff is the focal point of Henzell’s effortlessly authentic tale of a country boy corrupted by the big city after getting involved in the drug trade and worse, the music business.
Based on the true story of armed robber/folk hero Wappie King, The Harder They Come is an unflinching portrayal of the lot of Jamaica’s ghetto youth, the ‘sufferers’ at the bottom of the pile – and the amoral establishment which exploits them.
A simply superb soundtrack includes spine-tingling renditions of Many Rivers To Cross, You Can Get It If You Really Want and the film’s theme tune by Cliff, as well as classics by Toots & The Maytals, Desmond Dekker and the Melodians.
“It’s one of those movies that has relevance throughout generations,” says Dr Cliff – he received an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of the West Indies – on a visit to London. “You can still find today a young boy from maybe Glasgow coming to London to make his fortune and, you know ..”
HERE is an interview with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost written for The Big Issue in the North in early 2004, just ahead of the release of their rom-zom-com Shaun Of The Dead.
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IT’S all very well for the Americans.
They have the right – some might even say the duty – to bear arms under their Constitution. But just suppose for a minute that, say, the cannibalistic undead rose from their graves in this country – how would we Brits defend ourselves against the zombie multitude?
Don’t laugh. It could happen.
“I think that the British would be much better at fighting zombies than the Americans,” decides Nick Frost. “The Americans would rely too heavily on firearms. When they ran out of bullets they’d find it difficult to adapt.”
“Exactly!” agrees Simon Pegg. “They would have no proficiency in the use of no weapons.”
“I’d go with something like a Lee Enfield with a bayonet,” Frost ruminates, “because you can fire, fire, fire, oh, I’ve run out of bullets, what’s next?” He thrusts an imaginary rifle towards Pegg’s face. “Bang! Right in the eyeball!”
“We always used to think about getting some kind of long stick, like a long crook with a point on so you can just come in, top of the head, crack, there, straight into the cranium” – Pegg jabs a finger at the top of Frost’s head – “Bang! Brained!”
Okay. Is that door locked?