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Time Belfast honoured forgotten filmmaking son

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Belfast born film director Brian Desmond Hurst

Belfast born film director Brian Desmond Hurst

Belfast born film director Brian Desmond Hurst

Brian Desmond Hurst’s name might not be a familiar one to most residents of his native city of Belfast — but chances are you are well acquainted with his work.

Born in 1895, Hurst would go on to become the most prolific director of the 20th century from Ireland.

This week marks the 70th anniversary of his best known movie Scrooge (known as A Christmas Carol in the US) starring Alastair Sim.

Hailed — and criticised — for its darker, more gritty rendition of Dickens’ source material than the silver screen was used to in 1951, the film is now regarded as a classic of the festive season.

So when Allan Esler Smith, Hurst’s great grand-nephew, revealed that his wish was to see the director honoured with a permanent memorial or exhibition in his home city, surely it would be a Christmas present worth considering?

And as Belfast celebrates its new status as a TV and movie-making centre, it would be decidedly Scrooge-like not to pay tribute to a man who blazed the trail.

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