Updates and developments surrounding the legacy of Brian's work will appear here. There are currently several legacy events and articles in the pipeline and this will be the first place to feature news of each event/publication.

The "imaginative direction of Brian Desmond Hurst keeps the film as sharp as a Killer's Knife"

One of the earliest Irish directed talkies is Brian Desmond Hurst’s very first film, Tell Tale Heart (1934).  It was financed by Henry de Vere Talbot Clifton with a cheque written on the back of a cigarette packet. The cheque was honoured and Hurst never looked back from the Clifton Hurst Productions company they formed.  Hurst’s biographer Allan Esler Smith says “it resembles a David Lynch film 30 years before Lynch adopted that style of direction. At the time is was thought 'too horrible to show' in some cinemas. I have been working on the remastering and release with the Clifton Estate and the British Film Institute and I am delighted it can now be viewed again”.



Allan Esler Smith (in photograph) and David Truesdale are delighted to announce a new book released tomorrow on Northern Irelands greatest film director, Brian Desmond Hurst, and his work on conflict and also a special screening event in Belfast.




NEW BOOK- RELEASED 15 September 2016. ‘Theirs is the Glory’ (released 70 years ago on 17 September 1946) is the story of the Battle of Arnhem and was the biggest-grossing war film in the UK for a decade and is the centrepiece of this new book.   Directed by my Uncle, Brian Desmond Hurst I have used our archives to also chronicle his films from the 1920s and Hurst’s ‘Ourselves Alone’ (and the War of Independence in Ireland, where his film was banned in Northern Ireland) to the 1950s and ‘Simba’ and the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya.  This is a book you will refer to again and again, and shows why ‘Theirs is the Glory’ is the definitive film on Arnhem; it will remain the veterans’ lasting tribute to their comrades that did not return. This book also shows why Hurst was an enigma, but a master of the genre, and at his very best when focusing on the subject of conflict on the vast canvas of film. Hardback, almost 400 pages and over 350 images and available from Amazon and the publisher:




This special event in Belfast commemorates the 30th anniversary of the death of Brian Desmond Hurst


Ourselves Alone is an important film in Northern Ireland's film legacy and will be introduced by film critic and academic Mike Catto. The film will be preceded by the short film A Call for Arms (Dir. Brian Desmond Hurst, 1940, 7 mins), introduced by Robert Hurst, and a short talk by David Truesdale my co-author on  Theirs is the Glory. Arnhem, Hurst and Conflict on Film


David will also be signing copies of his the book at the event.


SUN 25 SEPT, 3.15PM


DIR: Brian Desmond Hurst & Walter Summers • UK • 1936 • 1 HR 10 MINS


Online booking is available here:




2016 has been a good year on the Hurst legacy trail and I’m looking forward to 2017 and the evolving project of contextualising and  publishing Brian Desmond Hurst’s memoirs which continues with Professor Lance Pettitt and news will follow on this publication in due course.      




Set in 1921 as nationalists battle with the Royal Irish Constabulary and British Black and Tans, a young girl finds herself under terrible pressures; she is torn between loyalty to her brother, unbeknownst to her an IRA leader, her fiancé, a police inspector, and his comrade and rival in love, a British Army captain and Intelligence officer.  Banned in Northern Ireland on its release in 1936 a commemorative booklet written by Allan Esler Smith accompanies this 80th anniversary release which explores the background to Hurst’s breakthrough as a leading film director and the banning of his film in his native Northern Ireland.




Booklet accompanying the DVD release of Ourselves Alone


A Call to Arms (1940) – out now … FREE 

“A million bullets by the morning... Come on girls it's got to be done"

Hurst's A Call For Arms (1940- 7 minutes long) for the Ministry of Information has been remastered and just been released on free public access by the British Film Institute and can be seen here.  The words were scripted by Terence Young- future Bond director and protégé of Hurst. Vital propaganda that helped the UK in those dark days of 1940.



Sensation (1936) – out on 1st February 2016

A journalist at his best and one of the best twists you’ll see on film at the end.



Ourselves Alone (1936)

Hurst’s take on the war of independence in Ireland and banned in Northern Ireland. Coming out on DVD very soon

New Book- Theirs is the Glory and Hurst’s films on conflict

Published by Helion, leading military book publisher, and co-authored by battle of Arnhem expert David Truesdale and Allan Esler Smith this book will profile Hurst’s epic on the Battle of Arnhem and Hurst’s work on conflict on film


Hurst’s memoirs

Written by Hurst in the mid 1970s with the help of Dr Stephen Wyatt these are being contextualised for publication by Professor Lance Pettitt and myself and with support from Stephen Wyatt. It is a big assignment and more news will follow.


Hurst's Dangerous Moonlight is commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Film screening in Hitchin on 13th September 2015. There will be a live pre-showing performance of the Warsaw Concerto given by award-winning London-based pianist John Paul. Doors and bar open 6.30pm Booking for the event via: http://www.benslowmusic.org/index.asp?PageID=656

Dangerous Moonlight Poster
George Winter, a self-made businessman and MP, lets nothing get in the way of his climb to the top. Certain in his belief in the corruptible and foolish nature of others, whenever Winter meets a competitor who can't be bought, he destroys the man through methods both legal and underhanded. Then, he meets his 'tenth man': a victim who refuses to be silenced by threat or bribery.

Brian Desmond Hurst directs this masterly adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's play which features a brilliant central performance by John Lodge as the ruthless investment broker who will stop at nothing to shore up his social and financial position, with Antoinette Cellier as the woman he refuses to release from a loveless marriage.

Purchase link and information:




Re-mastered and re-released to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the film’s release and the 120th anniversary of the birth of Brian Desmond Hurst on 12th February 1895.

This is Hurst’s adaptation of the JM Synge ‘classic’ Riders to the Sea and set in West Ireland the story opens with  Maurya (Sara Allgood), the mother, having lost to the sea her father, husband and two sons.  Now only two sons are left for her, Michael (Denis Johnston credits note as Denis Johnstone) and Bartley (Kevin Guthrie). The appearance of Synge’s  bereaved fiancée Maire O’Neill  as ‘first woman’ is most poignant.

The film (40 minutes with supporting context about Hurst) can now be seen at:



The Strand Arts Centre in 1958. Located on the Holywood Road, East Belfast it will have looked much the same in 1953 when it screened Hurst’s Malta Story
The Strand Arts Centre in East Belfast celebrates the 120th anniversary of the birth of Northern Ireland’s greatest film director,  Brian Desmond Hurst.
An exhibition ‘Holywood Arches to Hollywood – Brian Desmond Hurst: A Life In Cinema’ will be on display charting Hurst’s journey from the Holywood Arches of East Belfast to Hollywood USA and his subsequent prolific film directing career
Tuesday 10th February -  Two of Hurst’s best loved films will be screened; 'A Letter From Ulster' at 3.45pm and 8pm. This 35 minute documentary profiles the life of US servicemen training in Ulster in 1942 and is one of the earliest examples of film documentary making in Northern Ireland. After a previous screening the BBC film critic Mike Catto proclaimed ‘everyone here should see this film’.  It was the only time Hurst filmed in his native Belfast and he captures many iconic locations around the Province. Also being screened is his Battle of Arnhem epic 'Theirs Is The Glory' at 2pm and 7pm .
Thursday 12th February is the 120th anniversary of Hurst’s birth and sees Malta Story screened at 8pm with a special introduction.  It was Hollywood legend John Ford who encouraged Brian to take on the direction of Malta Story in 1953 with the words ‘… it’s right up your street’.  Hurst followed his mentor’s guidance and duly produced a gripping account of an island under siege.  His direction helps to show the courage of the people of Malta, the RAF, The Navy and Merchant Navy in surviving one of the most bombed places in the Second World War. It was released in 1953 and became an immediate box office success. The combination of an A-list cast including Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins, a tragic love story, and Hurst’s careful integration of archive war footage were the ingredients of the film’s success.

2015 will be an important year for the Hurst legacy.

The 12th February 2015 marks the 120th anniversary of Hurst’s birth in East Belfast and will be marked by an amazing tribute event in East Belfast.

The 10th August 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the cruel slaughter of Hurst’s Royal Irish Rifles battalion on the slopes above Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. Hurst survived and following art school training and mentoring by the legendary John Ford in Hollywood he went on to become Northern Ireland’s greatest film director.  But his battalion and comrades were forgotten and events will seek to tell their story. 

2015 will see the publication of Hurst’s memoirs ‘Travelling the Road’ and more details will be released here and on the new Brian Desmond Hurst Facebook Legacy site which you can like/follow here



Introduced by Allan Esler Smith and Professor Lance Pettitt this Hurst film is set in 1921 during the turmoil of the Troubles in Ireland.  The film’s title is a translation of ‘Sinn Fein’ and it was censored in Dublin and banned in Hurst’s native Northern Ireland where it was mistakenly considered as ‘purely Sinn Fein propaganda’.  In 1936 an Irish Times film reviewer declared it would be ‘the picture of the year’.  This was Brian’s breakthrough film and following sell out runs in London and a string of further successes in 1936 Hurst was soon to be put under contract to Alexander Korda.


More information and a link to the booking page is here: 



Brian Desmond Hurst's Theirs is the Glory will be closing the 70th anniversary Battle of Arnhem Commemorations with an open air screening at 4pm on Sunday 21st September at the Hartenstein Airborne Museum, Oosterbeek. Full details of the day's events are included below and several thousand are expected to watch the 'everlasting tribute' starring only battle veterans on a gigantic LCD screen which has been specially installed in the museum's grounds. The screening will be introduced by Allan Esler Smith.
Please click below to see the flyer
Following the success of North Down Museum’s Holywood Arches to Hollywood exhibition focusing on the Life of Brian (Desmond Hurst) here is a link to the short piece shown throughout the eight week exhibition on Brian’s very last film, Playboy of the Western World (1962). See the film here www.youtube.com/watch?v=EajK16OnjXI 
North Down Exhibition 2014  

North Down Flyer


an exciting year lies ahead with the launch of the memoirs (see below) and several significant screening and other legacy events. Further news will appear here. In the meantime legacy short films screened in recent years are now available on youtube:


Revisiting A Letter From Ulster screened at Aspects Irish Arts Festival and Queens Film Theatre, Belfast


Revisiting Theirs is the Glory


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