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The Empress of Ireland: A Chronicle of an Unusual Friendship
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The Empress of Ireland: A Chronicle of an Unusual Friendship

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Christopher Robbins was a down-at-the-heels freelance journalist in London when a "friend"—an expat American drug dealer who masqueraded as a count—linked him up with an elderly gay Irishman, purportedly the "greatest Irish filmmaker ever"—which turned out to be the case. Brian Desmond Hurst had made some thirty films in his eighty years (including A Christmas Carol, Tom B ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 27th 2005 by Da Capo Press
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Brian Desmond Hurst was a soldier (a veteran of the Gallipoli campaign), a film director (his best remembered effort being the Alistair Sim version of "A Christmas Carol"), and, in the end, equal parts dreamer, grifter and raconteur.

We meet up with Hurst well into his twilight years. Journalist Christopher Robbins is sent to meet the openly gay (and still quite frisky) Hurst, who is searching for a fresh young talent to pen a screenplay about the events leading up to the birth of Christ. A chan
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Last year I read the wonderful MacRobertsonland, a rich biography of a once-renowned Melburnian chocolatier and entrepreneur whose name now only rings the scarcest of bells: his Willy Wonka-like empire has dwindled to a trio of chocolate bars and a high school named in his honour. In The Empress of Ireland, a ripping novelesque biography of filmmaker Brian Desmond Hurst, I again found myself marvelling at how a larger-than-life, pro
Apr 24, 2007 joe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: irish, gays, screenwriters, gluttons
This is a great memoir about someone completely different from the author. It is not often that biographies are so subjective. Pretty unique.

UNIQUE. what a word.

The Empress of Ireland reminded me of a diverse array of other books. The perspective and protagonist are very much like Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories; it is not surprising then, when the man who inspired Mr Norris (i think that's his name) of Berlin Stories appears in Empress.

The abundance of openly homosexual content was a mi
Christopher Robbins account of his long friendship with Brian Desmond Hurst, a gay eccentric East Belfastman who directed 30 films which included Scrooge and The Malta Story with Alec Guinness. Hurst was a colourful character - a great read.
too much emphasis on his sexual orientation. really a pointless book.
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Christopher Robbins began his career in journalism at the age of sixteen when he started writing jazz criticism for the Daily Telegraph. Since then he has written for numerous newspapers and magazines in Britain, Europe and the USA.

The Empress of Ireland won the Saga Award for wit, along with exceptional critical acclaim. In Search of Kazakhstan was short-listed for the Authors’ Club Best Travel B
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