Sam Hanna Bell Samuel Beckett John Hewitt Bernard (Barney) Hughes James Joseph Magennis VC Frances Elizabeth Clarke Stewart Parker William Carleton Rosamond Praegar

Brian Desmond Hurst (1895 - 1986):
Film Director

Brian Desmond Hurst
©Allan Esler Smith Collection

Brian Desmond Hurst was born Hans Hurst in East Belfast on 12 February 1895 (Hans was changed to Brian during the First World War). He left school at fourteen to work at the Bloomfield linen factory. He signed up in 1914 and fought with the Royal Irish Rifles at Gallipoli.

Following the war Hurst studied art in Canada and Paris. He arrived in Holywood in 1928 where he met the film director John Ford. Ford, a lifelong friend, introduced him to the film industry.

Hurst moved to England in 1933 and began a long career in British cinema. Between 1935 and 1962 he directed over 25 films including adaptations of plays by J. M. Synge. Ourselves Alone, a 1936 film set during the Irish War of Independence, was censored in the south and banned completely in Northern Ireland. Scrooge, Hurst's 1951 version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, is perhaps his most lastingly popular film. He worked with the foremost actors of the time including Sir Alec Guinness, Siobhan McKenna and Sir Ralph Richardson. His last film, an adaptation of the Playboy of the Western World, was released in 1962.

Hurst died in London on 26th September 1986.

Born: 12 February 1895
Died: 26 September 1986
Diarmuid Kennedy

See also


McIlroy, Brian. 'Brian Desmond Hurst 1895-1986: Irish Filmmaker, Eire-Ireland 24 1989 p.106-113.

Robbins, Christopher. The Empress of Ireland: Chronicle of an Unusual Friendship. London: Scribner, 2005.

Eyman, Scott. Print the Legend: The life and times of John Ford. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.