magnificent, prolific, versatile with a distinctively regal, sandpaper voice, looking back at the late John Hurt’s numerous credits, it’s astonishing how many of his film projects I was exposed to in my formative youth – alien, watership down, the elephant man, the plague dogs, the animated lord of the rings, 1984, scandal – it felt like i grew up with him, the somewhat dissolute, craggyfaced uncle with a razorsharp wit and a heightened sense of his own mortality. from the late 60’s up until the present, hurt worked consistently on film, television and the stage consistently working with interesting directors and never seemed to age. his lived in, somewhat frail physicality always made him seem old or older than he was thus he never seemed to age. there were few better actors at conveying weariness, wisdom, venality, suffering, eccentricity, quiet intelligence, gentle defiance from his breakthough in 1966 with A Man for All Seasons up until his recent supporting role alongside natalie portman in Pablo Lorrain’s Jackie in 2016. he will be missed. Continue reading →
I cannot claim to have been an avid fan of Mr Cocker’s music but his distinct belter of a voice became familiar to myself through movies and television, namely his soulful version of The Beatles ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ from 1968 used as the de facto theme song for the hit television series ‘The Wonder Years’ which aired from the late 80’s to the early 90’s, his Oscar-winning FM staple ‘Up Where We Belong’ with Jennifer Warnes for the Richard Gere -Debra Winger romance An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and for this scene from the under-rated Brian De Palma-Al Pacino
re-teaming Carlito’s Way (1993) which uses one of Cocker’s most popular songs, the tender ballad ‘You Are So Beautiful’ to quite romantic effect. Co – incidentally, the song was co-written by the late Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, whom one could easily imagine singing this tune in a similarly soulful rough hued style on say Pacific Ocean Blue.