On January 25, 2017 we lost an icon in the entertainment industry, Sir John Hurt. I originally had another plan for the next time I would bring you the EwTube feature, but in light of this sad news, I wanted to pay tribute to a truly wonderful actor.
John Hurt began acting in 1962 and was working even up until he passed away. He was 77 years old when he unfortunately passed away mere days after his birthday. In honour of this truly wonderful and gifted actor, I am going to share with you a few of my favourite roles that he played throughout his illustrious career.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
John Hurt was naturally involved in one of the truly greatest movie franchises of all time. He portrayed the character of Garrick Ollivander who ran the greatest wand shop in the whole of England. His role was small, but important to the Harry Potter mythos. He was in the first film, but did not return until the two part finale where he reprised his role of Ollivander.
The scene I have chosen is from the first film where Harry has to purchase his wand and finds out a very important bit of information.
In 2013, John Hurt joined one of the longest running and most loved sci-fi series of all time, Doctor Who. We first see John in the episode ‘The Name of the Doctor’ in the seventh series. He then returned for a special webisode entitled ‘Night of the Doctor’, where Doctor Who fans were finally given the regeneration involving the eighth Doctor. Paul McGann returned and we saw him regenerate into John Hurt‘s War Doctor. His final appearance was during the 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. This brought together David Tennant, Matt Smith (who was the current Doctor at the time) and John Hurt in a very special episode.
For this part, I found a video that has pieced together many scenes of Sir John Hurt as the War Doctor. I felt this was appropriate in this tribute to him.
Going through John Hurt‘s IMDB profile is like going through a who’s who of movies. It’s almost like if there was a good movie in any decade from the 1960’s to the 2010’s, John was in one. Going back to 1979 we find him playing Kane in the beginning of the Alien franchise. Kane is actually the first on-screen kill of the entire franchise.
Naturally, I had to go with Hurt‘s death scene from Alien, sometimes referred to as the Chestburster scene.
I have to add a little nod at this point to Mel Brooks. In the wonderful spoof comedy, Spaceballs, John Hurt spoofs the famous death scene at the space diner that Barf and Lonestar go to near the end of the film. The great part of the scene is the line uttered by John, “Oh no, not again”.
V For Vendetta
This next film has John Hurt portraying a very Hitler-esque character, High Chancellor Sutler. This role is a very different one to most roles for an actor. The character only truly appears on a television screen for most of the film. Finally, at the end of the film, we see the character in person moments before his demise.
The scene I have chosen here is one of the first times Chancellor Sutler appears to us, the audience. Even though we only see him on a TV screen, the power he holds comes through with Hurt‘s performance.
The final film I chose is the 2004 movie Hellboy which starred Ron Perlman as the titular character. In this movie, John Hurt is the character of Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm, who is the human ‘father’ of Hellboy. He also helps to run the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. This is just another in a long line of credits where John shows just how great of an actor he is.
I could not find any scenes with John Hurt for this one, so I have just chosen the trailer to the movie.
There are, of course, several movies I have missed that I know are great films and great roles for the late great John Hurt. These are just some of my favourites and I know they may not mesh with everyone else’s. From Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons to John Merrick in The Elephant Man to James Morton in The Commissioner and many many more, John Hurt has given us a lifetime of great roles. It is sad to know he will no longer be able to entertain and treat us with more. He had a voice that was as recognizable as he was, and he will be truly missed in the entertainment world.