Five or six quotes on film-making


I found these quotes while clearing out some old project files. They’re worth sharing, I think.

Preston Sturges

I think the picture is going to have quite a lot of schmaltz, a good deal of schmerz, and just enough schmut to make it good office.

(To the producer of his film Lady Eve.)

Ned Tanen

Stars have two things which actors lack: charisma, and the ability to sell tickets.

(Quoted in Naked Hollywood.)

Michael Powell

I did not think a sales manager [of a distribution company] would like my idea. I knew them too well. Anything unusual, anything different, anything with no stars in it, in fact anything that requires selling, is death to a sales manager.

(In Edge of the World.)

John Boorman

In film, I find that I don’t want the writing to be too prominent, or too clever. I like it to be subservient. I rather subscribe to what Hitchcock said–the story should be told by the camera and dialogue should be part of the atmosphere.

Evelyn Waugh

They ruin your stories. They trample on your pride. They massacre your ideas. And what do you get for it? A fortune.


Herman Mankiewicz

Will you accept three hundred per week to work for Paramount Pictures. All expenses paid. The three hundred is peanuts. Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don’t let this get around.

(Telegram inviting Ben Hecht to work in Hollywood, 1925.)

The image at the top of the post is by Achim Raschka and is published under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons.



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