The Hard Part Begins

The Hard Part Begins is a 1973 Canadian feature film that marked the directorial debut of Paul Lynch, starring Donnelly Rhodes and Linda Sorenson.

The Hard Part Begins
Directed byPaul Lynch
Produced byJohn Hunter
Derrett Lee
Written byJohn Hunter
StarringDonnelly Rhodes
Nancy Belle Fuller
Linda Sorenson
Doug McGrath
Les Carlson
Music byIan Guenther
CinematographyRobert Saad
Edited byWilliam Gray
Distributed byCinépix
Release date
October 1973 (Filmexpo, Ottawa); September 20, 1974 (Toronto); November 22 (Montreal)
Running time
86 minutes
Budget$95,000 (estimated)


“King and Country” is a country and western group headed by a 40-something singer, Jim King (Donnelly Rhodes), whose current girlfriend, Jenny (Nancy Belle Fuller), is a backup singer with the band. They have been playing one-week stints in small-town bars in southwestern Ontario (it was shot on location in Brantford, Paris and Ayr, Ontario). They are appearing in King's fictional hometown of West Eden when he hears news that a recording company wants to talk to him. His past collides with his future when he re-connects with his bitter ex-wife (Linda Sorenson), a troubled son and a dying friend who all have shared shattered dreams of success. King learns the company is interested in Jenny, not him, and he has to return to the road and accept his fate.[1]

One of the best English-Canadian films of the early 1970s,[2] Donnelly Rhodes gives a stellar performance as a 'loser' not yet ready to give up on his dreams, Paul Lynch's direction is solid, and John Hunter's script is particularly evocative of small towns and the dreariness of life on the road with a second-rate bar band.


“In many ways The Hard Part Begins is a fine directorial debut for Paul Lynch and a measure of its success is that the film makes one wish that it had risked more; aimed a little higher.” Cinema Canada[3]

“Donnelly Rhodes, an actor of charm and magnetism, delivers a forceful and believable performance as a has-been-who-never-was. His sensitive, yet rugged face helps to project a kind of hayseed machismo which the small-town girls can’t resist.” Motion[4]


  1. ^ Wise, Wyndham (2001). Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 95–96. ISBN 0-8020-3512-4. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Morris, Peter (1984). The Film Companion. Toronto: Irwin Publishing. pp. 139. ISBN 0-7725-1505-0.
  3. ^ Brown, Alastair (January 1975). "The Hard Part Begins (review)". Cinema Canada: 76–77.
  4. ^ "The Hard Part Begins (review)". Motion: 28. September 1974.

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