No film is ever really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

 

 Orson Welles

A long-playing full shot is what always separates the men from the boys. Anybody can make movies with a pair of scissors and a two-inch lens.

Orson Welles

There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.

Frank Capra

A film should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order

Jean-Luc Godard

The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.

Orson Welles

A tip from Lubitsch. Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.

Billy Wilder

Cinema is vice. I love it intimately.

Fritz Lang

A film that can be described in words is not really a film.

 

Michelangelo Antonioni

There's nothing that says more about the creator than the work itself.

Akira Kurosawa

For ten years we had all been told to go out and die for freedom and democracy, but now the war was over. The Red Shoes told us to go out and die for art.

Michael Powell

When the last dime is gone I'll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook and start the whole thing over again.

Preston Sturges

Most Recent Blog Posts

“Acting is a ridiculous profession…” —notes on Peter Lorre

This post is part of the 2014 What a Character! blogathon. To see more, click graphic (above).  “Acting is a ridiculous profession unless it is part of your very soul.”  —Peter Lorre Even people who have never seen Peter Lorre in a movie know his nasal, dreamy voice...

In Their Own Words: Joseph Cotten on Tallulah, The Third Man, Citizen Kane, and his friendship with Orson Welles

Cotten as Holly Martins in The Third Man (1949) Joseph Cotten, who was born May 15, 1905, appeared in some of the best films of the 1940s, including Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, Shadow of a Doubt, Gaslight, Portrait of Jennie, Lydia, and The Third Man. In...

Blogathons

“Acting is a ridiculous profession…” —notes on Peter Lorre

This post is part of the 2014 What a Character! blogathon. To see more, click graphic (above).  “Acting is a ridiculous profession unless it is part of your very soul.”  —Peter Lorre Even people who have never seen Peter Lorre in a movie know his nasal, dreamy voice...

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch Grand Hotel (1932)

“Grand Hotel…always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.” courtesy Pre-Code.com Grand Hotel took home the Best Picture Oscar for MGM in 1933, beating another MGM release, The Champ, as well as Samuel Goldwyn’s Arrowsmith, Fox’s Bad Girl, First...

Day 6: Order in the Court! The Classic Courtroom Movie Blogathon concludes (in extra innings)…

Oyez, oyez! Welcome to Day 6, the final day of our courtroom extravaganza! In the first five days we saw, among others, posts on Hitchcock worth knowing better (The Paradine Case), lynching (Fritz Lang’s Fury), Louise Brooks’s Lulu in Pandora’s Box, Kramer vs. Kramer,...

Disembodied: Waldo Lydecker, the Voice in the Dark in Laura (1944)

“McPherson, if you know anything about faces, look at mine. How singularly innocent I look this morning. Have you ever seen such candid eyes?” “Laura considered me the wisest, the wittiest, the most interesting man she’d ever met. I was in complete accord with her on...

Anatomy of a scorcher: Mary Astor on Filming the Steamy Kiss in Red Dust

Mary Astor’s memoir A Life on Film is fantastic—she’s a wonderful writer, and her sharp observations on the industry and what went on behind the cameras are fascinating and incredibly useful to anyone who writes about classic film. Astor writes of being asked by a...

Rising from the Ashes: Buster Keaton’s Most Amazing Stunt

Remember: If it bends, it’s funny. If it breaks, it isn’t. —Lester (Alan Alda), Crimes and Misdemeanors There was nothing funny about it when Buster Keaton broke. Keaton’s fall is legendary. Most of the time it’s told sketchily, and too often as if it were the end. As...

Elizabeth Taylor’s Best Actress Oscars: BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Elizabeth Taylor won two Best Actress Oscars, for BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). The first she perhaps rightly dismissed as a pity vote. The second she won fair and square, and I hope it meant something to her. Until fairly recently I...

A Viewer’s Guide: How to Watch The Gang’s All Here (1943)

sten  your seat belts. The Gang’s All Here is too much. It’s the thrill ride of Hollywood musicals. If you’ve not seen it but have seen other Busby Berkeley movies you’re thinking, Yeah, got it. But all the fabulous excesses of Berkeley in black-and-white pale in...

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend! Welcome to the You Must Remember This…A Kiss Is Just a Kiss blogathon!

We’re live! Welcome to the You Must Remember This… Blogathon! Kisses blistering and chilled, delirious and hard-boiled, Judas kisses, cartoon kisses, and of course the kiss-off… Here’s our Valentine’s Day celebration of screen kisses. New entries will be posted as...

Dickie Moore (1925-2015), Lost and Found

Where all parents are strong and wise and capable, and all children are happy and beloved… —H.I., Raising Arizona It’s an intense little face. The Cupid’s Bow mouth and tiny, turned-up nose sit beneath large, dark, deeply serious eyes. Dickie wasn’t just cute, he was...

Newsreels of the Early 1930s: Two Huge Stories About the Two-Way Mirror Between Fact and Fiction

Real life and entertainment, politics and policy. The Bonus Army—Herbert Hoover, FDR, and William Randolph Hearst, Gabriel Over the White House; Busby Berkeley and “Remember My Forgotten Man” in Gold Diggers of 1933 The movie industry’s successful smear campaign...

Strangers in a Strange Land Pt II: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express (1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Part II Deceit, Desire, and Survival: Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg’s Shanghai Express(1932) and The Scarlet Empress (1934) A missionary wins the heart of a poetic warlord, a woman of mystery wins back her untrusting lover, and a promiscuous princess wins...

Strangers in a Strange Land: The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1932), Shanghai Express (1932), and The Scarlet Empress (1934)

Here are three pre-Code films about women from the West who find themselves in dangerous situations in exotic lands (China in two, Russia in the other). The women are thrown upon their own resources, their ability to adapt and survive, with little or no support or...