Thursday, February 19, 2009

William Hurt


Ginsburg reading.








When I was critical of Season 2 of Damages last week, someone commented, "But what about Hurt's performance?" And that's true. It's a knockout.
William Hurt has chosen to play difficult, weak, diffident men over the years. Look at his characters in Broadcast News, Accidental Tourist, The Big Chill, Altered States or my favorite Body Heat. Has any other actor chose more thorny roles? He's rarely played an heroic figure.
What's your favorite Hurt role-- if you admire him too?

20 comments:

Lisa said...

The first thing I thought of was Kiss of the Spider Woman. I haven't seen it in years. I wonder how it holds up.

Paul Brazill said...

Smoke, smoke, smoke , smoke.....

Iren said...

I always think of Dark City when I think of him.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed watching him even in what was arguably his weakest performance in the Travolta flick "Michael."
John McAuley.

P.S.- Re; Alan Ginsberg. His book of poems, HOWL, has remained one of the most influential pieces of writing I've ever encountered. Ginsberg was the first writer I read who transformed the black and white of the printed page into neon. I was in my early teens first time I picked it up.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Patti, I missed your comment last week, but I think Damages is one of the best things on TV, absolutely great, even better this season than last, and Hurt is amazing, as is Marcia Gay Hardin (well, really the whole cast, accept for that SNL guy who seems grossly out of place). Unfortunately, my RCN service lost FX in the middle of last night's show. Damn it!

Frank Loose said...

Body Heat is flat out a great noir movie. I remember the scene where the Hurt character understands that he has been played for a sucker, it's a close-up of his face which captures the emotion of the discovery. Great movie, great cast, great heat!

Dave Zeltserman said...

My favorite performance of Hurt's Is "The Accidental Tourist". Great movie.

pattinase (abbott) said...

KISS was terrific. Perfect casting and I miss Raul Julio. He died so you.
Yes, DARK CITY. Going through his list on IMDB you are amazed at the sheer number of films. Even a remake of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH set in Amsterdam on the street where we lived for a year.
MICHAEL was one strange flick so he's right at home in it.
I must read HOWL. A terrible omission.
Okay, back to DAMAGES. Maybe I was distracted and won't be now.
THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST-ANNE TYLER's best book and it just flat out works as a movie.

George said...

I liked William Hurt in the underrated GORKY PARK. And, even though it was a minor role, Hurt was excellent as Duke Leto Atreides in DUNE.

Charles Gramlich said...

I thought Body Heat was a great character acting job by both Hurt and Kathleen Turner

Juri said...

The writer in SMOKE.

pattinase (abbott) said...

The real question might be did Hurt ever play the average Joe other than LOST IN SPACE.

Martin Edwards said...

He was brilliant in Body Heat - more like a seedy lawyer than a real life seedy lawyer!

Travis Erwin said...

I have a post up for forgotten book Friday this week.

Chuck said...

The fact that over the years, I have repeatedly watched the Big Chill and Body Heat shows that those two are my favoite Hurt films. However, I did like him as the philandering professor father in One True Thing. Hummmmm?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, I'd forgotten ONE TRUE THING. He can play anyone of dubious character to perfection.

Dana King said...

BODY HEAT is the one that comes to mnd right away, folowed closely by SPIDER WOMAN. I didn't fully appreciate the performance in GORKY PARK until I read another Renko book (POLAR STAR?) and saw how well Hurt had captured him.

A performance no one has mentioned that also caught my eye was the brief appearance near the end of A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE. Creepy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Dana-That's the first one my husband mentioned. I'd forgotten it. He was pretty creepy in that one with Kevin Costner too-MR. BROOKS?

Anonymous said...

I've always liked Hurt's performance in Children of a Lesser God. Also thought he was great in Altered States

pattinase (abbott) said...

Again, a difficult part-Marlee Maitlin got all the attention, didn't she? And she was radiant and perfect in the role.