Hard to Hold (1984)

Hard to Hold (1984)

Taglines: Love is hard to find, when the whole world is watching.

Details the efforts of a pop-rock star (James Roberts / Rick Springfield) to win the love of a woman he meets in a car accident. None of the usual gambits work on this woman, who has never heard of him. Complications arise involving the ex-girlfriend Nicky, who is still in his band. Lots of Springfield tunes help the plot along.

Hard to Hold is a 1984 musical drama film directed by Larry Peerce. It was meant as a starring vehicle for Rick Springfield, who had a solid television acting resume and a blossoming rock-pop career, but had yet to break out in feature films. It stars Springfield, Janet Eilber and Patti Hansen. The film features many Springfield songs which are included on the soundtrack to the film.

Rick Springfield would later make jokes about the film in his act. He said: The fans and a lot of people say they don’t like it when I make fun of Hard to Hold because a lot of them liked it. I mean, it wasn’t War and Peace, and they took it for the light, romantic comedy it was. It had a lot of good music in it and a lot of guys and women have said, “You know, dude, I liked that movie! It was great!” But I was expecting more and it wasn’t the right mix involved, I think.

Hard to Hold (1984)

Review for Hard to Hold

Dripping sweat, with the backstage lights glinting off his jeweled belt and his single earring, James Roberts escapes to his dressing room, collapsing beside the Space Invaders machine. He’s drained. He’s exhausted. He’s a very famous rock star, and he has just whipped another adoring audience into a lather.

”Deep focus, deep focus,” whispers James’s manager, easing James out of one vest and into another, getting him ready for the encore. ”Five more minutes and you can go home.” James shuts his eyes, pauses for a moment and then, dramatically, thrusts his fist heavenward. ”Let’s do it!” he cries, and races triumphantly back to the stage.

”Hard to Hold” is a movie for anyone who thinks this sounds like real behind-the-scenes rock-and-roll ambiance and for anyone who thinks Rick Springfield is a real rock star. It’s not a movie for anyone else, except perhaps film students, who will find that Larry Peerce has included more weak transitions, conversational cliches, unflattering camera angles and ethnic restaurant scenes in this film’s mere 93 minutes than some directors manage in an entire career.

Designed solely as a vehicle for Mr. Springfield – who demonstrates little spontaneity here but some sense of humor, or at least an ability to laugh on cue – ”Hard to Hold” has a story with all the verve and originality of James Roberts’s name. All it’s about is James’s ardent, inexplicable pursuit of Diana Lawson (Janet Eilber), a woman he meets in a traffic accident. She is a serious sort; we know that because we see her home in bed, swathed in Laura Ashley bedding and reading The New Criterion. She is also independent enough to resist James somewhat, so that they can have lengthy discussions about whether, as the screenplay puts it, to commit.

Miss Eilber is another of the prim, toothy actresses, and she looks enough like Mr. Springfield to be his sister; however, the film tries gamely to generate some sexual chemistry between them. They do a lot of smooching in public places, sometimes setting off riots, because Jamie is so famous. At other times nobody seems to recognize him.

Also in the film is Patti Hansen, the fashion model, who makes her first appearance wearing a glittery turquoise getup and brandishing a broken bottle. Her role, which is that of Jamie’s songwriting partner and former wife, makes so little sense that it ought to set some kind of record. Miss Hansen has a heavy New York accent and a serious case of the fidgets, but she does look great and conveys at least a hint of the rock- and-roll atmosphere that the movie otherwise lacks.

”Hard to Hold” isn’t the first rock- and-roll movie in which anyone has ever said (as James does to his smug, superior manager): ”The music’s changin’, Owen, you know. We gotta change with it.” However, it is the first film I’ve seen in which the heroine has asked the hero whether he has herpes. ”Hard to Hold” is rated PG (”Parental Guidance Suggested”). It contains several bedroom scenes and a little nudity.

Hard to Hold Movie Poster (1984)

Hard to Hold (1984)

Directed by: Larry Peerce
Starring: Rick Springfield, Janet Eilber, Patti Hansen, Albert Salmi, Gregory Itzin, Peter Van Norden, Carole Tru Foster
Screenplay by: Thomas Hedley, Richard Rothstein
Production Design by: Peter Wooley
Cinematography by: Richard H. Kline
Film Editing by: Bob Wyman
Costume Design by: Rosanna Norton
Set Decoration by: Phil Abramson
Music by: Tom Scott
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release Date: April 6, 1984