ⓘ Hard to Hold (film)


ⓘ Hard to Hold (film)

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.


1. Plot summary

James "Jamie" Roberts played by singer-songwriter Rick Springfield, being a pop idol, is used to having his way with women. He meets child psychologist Diana Lawson Janet Eilber in a car accident, however, who not only doesnt swoon at his attention but has also never heard of him. He tries to win her affection but complicating things is that his ex-lover, Nicky Nides Patti Hansen, remains a member of his band.


2. Production

Springfield had been performing music and acting for over a decade when his career went to a new level in the 1980s, due to a successful run of singles and a popular appearance on General Hospital. He was approached to act in the film. He later recalled:

It was one of those guys that said, Which I didnt, because it was still a crappy movie, but I did my best in it and I still make jokes about it actually. Thats probably the only time Ill say my ego got the better of me was when I did that film. I said, "I can make this work".

Director Larry Peerce said "like everyone else, I was skeptical about using Rick. But he is a marvelous, talented, well-trained young man with a wonderful sense of comedy - and sexy as hell. Anyone who can make it through the soaps can make it through anything. Then, too, he has that thing that happens to people whove been up and down a few times." Peerce added that Springfield "not only appeals to youth, but to mature women, too - and hes also one of those rare handsome, sexy men who doesnt put other men off."

Springfield said "the freedom of the movies after TV was liked going from a wading pool to the ocean."

The female lead Jennifer Eilber was a former dancer. When she was offered the film she says "I thought it would be rated PG. After all, the majority of Springfields fans are teenage girls. But the script plainly called for a nude love scene. I convinced myself it would be a matter of doing the scene under a sheet or something. But two or three days after we shot the scene I realized there was no sheet and there would be no PG."

In December 1983 Sringfield said "Hopefully it will be the only music movie Ill make, because I want to branch out and stretch my wings. I guess you could say it was just a safer script than some of those I was given. I even looked at one script about a case of mistaken identity where a guy is locked up in a garage with a guy who thinks hes somebody else and is trying to kill him. So the music movie looked pretty good."

The film had to be edited so it would be rated PG rather than R.

Springfield followed making the movie with a tour.


3.1. Reception Critical

Janet Maslin of the New York Times found the film an exercise in narcissistic excess:

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. Hes drained. Hes exhausted. Hes a very famous rock star, and he has just whipped another adoring audience into a lather. 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. Its 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 films mere 93 minutes than some directors manage in an entire career.

Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune had a similar sentiment:

Its too bad something different didnt happen in "Hard to Hold," something right out of that old Mad magazine feature "Scenes Wed Like to See." Springfield bumps into the uptight psychologist and tries and tries to woo her but fails. Then, just when she is having second thoughts about him, he gives up chasing her and rededicates himself to his old girlfriend, to solving her drug problem and to writing beautiful music with her. Not surprisingly, that story probably would have more appeal for the rock audience for which "Hard to Hold" was made.


3.2. Reception Box Office

The film opened in seventh place with $3.4 million.

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