Perry Henzell's THE HARDER THEY COME opens only US run in Miami this Saturday — Perry Henzell — AAPEX

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Perry Henzell's THE HARDER THEY COME opens only US run in Miami this Saturday

Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff was in a Kingston recording studio when Perry Henzell, a Jamaican director whose company made commercials, came into the session to meet him.

``He said, `I'm making a movie. Do you think you can write the music for it?' '' Cliff recalls from New York. ``I said, `Can I do it? I can do anything!' ''

Cliff, as it turns out, wasn't being cocky or over confident. He didn't just write several now-classic songs for Henzell's 1972 movie, The Harder They Come: He also became its star.

The edgy, exciting movie-with-music became a cult classic, one that helped introduce reggae to the larger world and propel Cliff's career to a higher level. More than three decades later, Henzell's masterwork was reconceived as musical theater in London. And on Saturday, the British production begins its only U.S. run at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Henzell loosely based his screenplay (cowritten with Jamaican playwright Trevor Rhone) on the true story of Ivanhoe ``Rhygin'' Martin. Martin was a Jamaican outlaw gunned down by the police in 1948, a guy who taunted the cops by writing ``I was here, but I disappear'' on walls.

Miami Herald

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