Revisiting A Letter From Ulster and other news – Brian Desmond Hurst : Northern Ireland’s Greatest Film Director : Allan Esler Smith

I wanted to share something to celebrate the 1st Anniversary of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness opening the magnificent Hurst Sound Stage at Titanic Studios in October 2012. The previous news on this event is here

Having just secured the consent of the BFI National Film Archive I can now put ‘Revisiting A Letter From Ulster’ on youtube.  We screened this a few years back at Queens Film Theatre and at the Aspects Arts Festival and the short 15 minute documentary takes you back to when the first of 300,000 US troops came to Northern Ireland in 1942. There are some lovely then and now scenes of Tynan Abbey, Carrickfergus, Derry/Londonderry, Strabane, Bellarena, Cultra and St Marys in Belfast.  The ‘stars’ are men from the US 34th ‘Red Bull’ Division who, at the time, were not to know what lay ahead of them at Anzio.

  I don’t have any ‘marketing machine’ so just rely on folk to take and interest and pass this on to anyone who they think might be interested.  So see what you can do and you never know… we may get a few more views or even some likes/comments.

If you are interested my youtube channel (allan esler smith) also contains some work we have done on Brian’s Arnhem epic Theirs is the Glory (something much bigger is happening next year on the 70th anniversary of the battle and more on this next year).

I also hope to stream Brian’s Riders to The Sea (1935) on my youtube channel before the end of the year– I think it’s an awesome piece as the mother copes with losing her sons to the sea and this film deserves a wider audience.  I am also trying to locate though a network of film buffs in the USA a full copy of Irish Hearts (1934) (US release Norah O’Neale) which the academics tell me is probably Ireland’s first feature length talkie and, hopefully, in time for its 80th anniversary next year.  At the moment the only copy that the Irish Film Institute and we have is partial and I do want to know how it ends!!   So if you or any contacts have ideas on how we can find this please let me know.  Ohh and then there’s the publication of Brian’s memoirs as well… so plenty to keep us busy.

Finally if you have not hear the RTE Radio 1 documentary An Irishman Chained to the Truth  (we couldn’t use the title The Life of Brian for some strange reason…) which we did in 2011 it can be heard again here:

Best wishes


Administrator of the Brian Desmond Hurst Estate


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