Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Film director Hurst awarded blue plaque

Legendary filmmaker Brian Desmond Hurst was honoured with a blue plaque at Queen’s Film Theatre last week.

The Directors Guild of Great Britain plaque was unveiled at the Queen’s Film Theatre on April 13, in a ceremony which included a screening of two of his films and an introduction by biographer Allan Esler Smith.

Born in east Belfast in 1895 as Hans Hurst, Brian Desmond Hurst lost his parents at a young age and was left to fend for himself. He worked in a linen factory on Bloomfield Street, before enlisting in the 6th Royal Irish Rifles in 1914. A year later he survived the battalion’s cruel slaughter on the slopes of Gallipoli.

After the war, he trained as an artist in Canada and Paris and later moved to Hollywood. He returned to the UK in the early 1930s as a film director.

With over 30 films to his credit, Hurst is Northern Ireland’s greatest film director of the 20th Century.

His movies were not always free of controversy — in fact Ourselves Alone (1936) was banned in Northern Ireland and Tell Tale Heart (1934) was too horrible to show in many cinemas.

Scrooge, Hurst's 1951 version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, is perhaps his most lastingly popular film.

One of the films made in 1943 and shown on Thursday was A Letter From Ulster, a story on relations between the locals and the American troops based in Northern Ireland at the time.

Hurst made this film with fellow Ulsterman William MacQuitty, who was also honoured this week with a blue plaque in Bangor.

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