Winning the War: Hurst, Film and Propaganda
Film Screening of The Lion Has Wings
Special Introduction and Screening of The Lion Has Wings on Wednesday 4th September at 1.40pm
Screening will begin at 2.00pm (73 mins duration)
Alderman Marion Smith and Bob Hurst, great nephew and great niece of Ulster’s greatest film director Brian Desmond Hurst will introduce his film The Lion Has Wings. 80 years ago on 4 September 1939 the cameras were there to capture footage of the new force, the RAF, launching its first raid on the Kiel docks in Germany. The film propelled recruitment into the RAF. Marion and Bob will explain Hurst’s East Belfast roots, his journey to Hollywood via Gallipoli (with the Royal Irish Rifles) and then his prolific war film output and how the RAF went on to save the UK in its hour of need in September 1940.
In the days before the outbreak of the second world war Alexander Korda gathered three of the UK’s top film directors, including Belfast’s Brian Desmond Hurst, and secret plans were laid to prove that Britain could match Hitler on the big screen. The film was The Lion Has Wings and it propelled recruitment into the Royal Air Force and helped keep cinemas open when air-raids threatened their closure.
Filming commenced on 4 September 1939 the day after war was declared and Korda promised Churchill that he would ensure the rapid delivery of his film which proclaimed ‘This is Britain where we believe in freedom’. The film was released exactly 2 months after the declaration of war on 3 November 1939. Cinemas remained open and the RAF recruitment proved itself a year later in the Battle of Britain.
To mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of war, the Northern Ireland War Memorial will screen The Lion Has Wings (73 mins approx) throughout the week beginning 2nd September.
- Free event
- Tea and coffee will be served
- Booking not required, but do let us know if you plan to bring a group
This is the first of a series of events over the next 5 years profiling Hurst’s films and propaganda and how his films played a part in the Second World War. This was a subject close to Hurst’s heart after the cruel slaughter of his Royal Irish Rifles comrades at Gallipoli in 1915. Hurst survived and war was the spark for this former linen workers creative genius which was later honed by the legendary John Ford in Hollywood.
The Northern Ireland War Memorial will also screen the film on:
Monday 2nd September at 2.00pm
Tuesday 3rd September at 2.30pm
Thursday 5th September at 2.00pm
Friday 6th September at 2.00pm
Northern Ireland War Memorial
21 Talbot Street / Belfast / BT1 2LD