Perry Henzell – Director of THE HARDER THEY COME
Perry Henzell was born in Jamaica in 1936 and was educated there until he was sent to school in Shrewsbury, England, at the age of 14. He went to McGill University in Montreal at the age of 17 and then returned to England where he began his career as a scene shifter at BBC TV’s Lime Grove studios before ending up in the drama department.
In 1959 he returned to Jamaica and founded Vista Productions, making commercials and documentaries for over ten years and building up the studio and crew to the point where he could co-write, produce and direct Jamaica’s first feature film The Harder They Come, which was released in 1972. He spent the rest of the 1970s travelling the world to distribute the film and returned to Jamaica to work on his second feature, No Place Like Home. Unfortunately the negative was lost for 30 years and in frustration he retired from the film business to write two novels, Power Game and Cane, and to write, produce and direct a full-scale musical about Marcus Garvey, as well as write the book for a stage musical for The Harder They Come which was staged to great acclaim in London.
Miraculously the negative for No Place Like Home was found before Perry passed on and through the herculean efforts of David Garonzik and Arthur Gorson was restored and had it’s world premiere in August 2019 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Perry Henzell passed away on 30 November 2006.