Such sad news to hear the passing of the wonderfully talented actor, the irreplaceable John Hurt. Just like anyone of my age, he just seemed to be there throughout my teenage years and beyond. Whether it was Max in Midnight Express, the voice of Hazel on Watership Down, the iconic scene in Alien as Kane with his chest bursting open, or his beautifully pained and sad performance as John Merrick in The Elephant Man. Add to that he showed us the bleak totalitarian future in George Orwell’s 1984. All these films have always been there, part of my growing up. Mr Hurt has done so many more incredible films but those are the ones closest to me.
There is another though, one that is very underrated and maybe not so well known. One I have rewatched today as a little homage to the great man. The film is The Hit from 1984 and stars Terence Stamp as ex-gangster and grass Willie Parker who becomes “The Hit” of the title. Turning his back on England he hides out in a quiet little village in Spain.
Tagline – Willie Parker grassed… ten years later they came for their revenge
In enters two hitmen, who are ordered to kidnap Willie and escort him to Paris to stand trial with the gangsters who put the hit out. This is where our John Hurt appears as one of the hitmen, the cool Mr Braddock with his shades and pale suited demeanor. Looking mean, thoughtful and with his moments of silence you never know where you stand with him. His partner, is the angry and unprofessional Myron, a guy who really can’t keep his mouth shut. Myron is played by a very young Tim Roth, in I believe his debut major film role but he did star as the terrifying skinhead Trevor in the TV movie by Alan Clarke called Made In Britain in 1982.
What unravels is a road trip across the country as Willie Parker realises his number is up and makes things as difficult and as fun as he can with little quips and comments to play and put the guys off their game.
Coming along for the journey is the gorgeously beautiful Spanish honey Laura Del Sol as Maggie. She adds a few more problems for our two hitmen.
Tagline – Even Bad Guys Have Bad Days
It’s an exceptional movie written by Peter Prince and directed by Stephen Frears who has a superb list of films to his name, The Grifters, High Fidelity, Dangerous Liaisons and a couple of UK classics which were big at the time, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and My Beautiful Laundrette.
If you haven’t seen it I really recommend you get on it and give it a go, I know you won’t be disappointed.
Rest in peace John Hurt, thanks for all the amazing films.
Further Reading Links