Friday Video: The Hurt

Taking a moment to appreciate William Hurt

We lost William Hurt this week. During his long career, Hurt acted in a number of good, near-great, and great films, I think my favorite role of his is writer Paul Benjamin in SMOKE, written by Paul Auster and directed by William Wang.

It’s great film with a fantastic cast and centers on the lives of people who frequent a Brooklyn smoke shop run by Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel). In this scene, Paul Benjamin drops in for some smokes and tells Auggie and the others in the shop the tale of how Sir Walter Raleigh figured out a way to weigh… smoke.

This is just one of the stories that Hurt’s character tells in the course of the film, and I marvel at how spellbinding Hurt could be just using his voice and low-key understating acting. It’s scenes like this one, Paul’s growing friendship with Auggie, and all the unlikely connections the characters make with each other in spIte Of Themselves That Make Smoke A Great Film. He Will Be Missed.