Olivia de Havilland Quotes

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Quotations by Olivia de Havilland.

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(on Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)): It was full of traps; it was a delicate tightrope assignment. I found that very interesting. Robert Aldrich gave it a very special style, a kind of dark, glittering style which fascinated me.

The TV business is soul crushing, talent destroying and human being destroying. These men in their black towers don`t know what they are doing. It`s slave labour. There is no elegance left in anybody. They have no taste. Movies are being financed by conglomerates, which take a writeoff if they don`t work. The only people who fight for what the public deserves are artists.

(on the continuing appeal of Gone with the Wind (1939)) It will go on forever, and how thrilling that is. It has this universal life, this continuing life. Every nation has experienced war - and defeat and renaissance. So all people can identify with the characters. Not only that, it`s terribly well constructed. Something happens every three minutes, and it keeps you on your toes and the edge of your seat, which is quite a feat, I must say.

(on Michael Curtiz) He was a tyrant, he was abusive, he was cruel. Oh, he was just a villain but I guess he was pretty good. We didn`t believe it then, but he clearly was. He knew what he was doing. He knew how to tell a story very clearly and he knew how to keep things going.

(speaking in June 2006) I`ll be 90 on July 1. I can`t wait to be 90! Another victory!

(speaking in 2003) I know this is not a popular thing to say at the moment, but I love living among the French. They are very independent, intelligent, well educated and creative. They are a people full of feeling, which they express. They`re a vivacious people. Well, they`re Celts, you see.

(speaking in 2004) There certainly is such a thing as screen chemistry, although I don`t believe you find it frequently. There was a definite on-screen chemistry between Errol (Errol Flynn) and me. Before us, the most potent example was Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell in the `20s and `30s. People should not be surprised by screen chemistry because, after all, life is chemistry.

The overwhelming majority of people who make up the liberal and progressive groups of this country believe in democracy, and NOT in communism. We believe that the two cannot be reconciled here in the United States, and we believe that every effort should be exerted to make democracy work, and to extend its benefits to every person in every community throughout the land.

(when asked during 2006 interview whether or not she missed acting) Not at all. Life is too full of events of great importance. That is more absorbing and enriching than a fantasy life. I don`t need a fantasy life as once I did. That is the life of the imagination that I had a great need for. Films were the perfect means for satisfying that need.

(on Bette Davis) The great lesson I learned from Bette was her absolute dedication to getting everything just right. She used to spend hours studying the character she was going to play, then hours in make-up ensuring that her physical appearance was right for the part. I have always tried to put the same amount of work into everything I`ve done.

(on Clark Gable) Clark Gable was highly professional. He was a bigger star than we can create today. I was just a mini-star when we did "Gone With the Wind." I was afraid to talk to him. People can`t understand it now, but we were in awe. Clark Gable didn`t open supermarkets.

(on Errol Flynn) I had a very big crush on Errol Flynn during "Captain Blood." I thought he was absolutely smashing for three solid years, but he never guessed. Then he had one on me but nothing came of it. I`m not going to regret that; it could have ruined my life.

(speaking in 1997) I have taken a long vacation, but I wouldn`t object to a fascinating part in a first-rate project, something I felt I could do well or would understand and interpret in an effective way. Then I would say, `Yes`. The offers still come, but not what I`m looking for.

Playing good girls in the `30s was difficult, when the fad was to play bad girls. Actually I think playing bad girls is a bore; I have always had more luck with good girl roles because they require more from an actress.

(After winning her second Oscar in 1950) When I won the first award in 1947, I was terribly thrilled. But this time I felt solemn, very serious and . . . shocked. Yes, shocked! It`s a great responsibility to win the award twice.

We were like a stock company at Warners. We didn`t know any of the stars from the other studios.

The one thing that you simply have to remember all the time that you are there is that Hollywood is an oriental city. As long as you do that, you might survive. If you try to equate it with anything else, you`ll perish.

(on Hollywood`s reaction to her landmark court victory against Warner Bros.) I was told I would never work again, if I lost or won. When I won, they were impressed and didn`t bear a grudge.

Famous people feel that they must perpetually be on the crest of the wave, not realising that it is against all the rules of life. You can`t be on top all the time; it isn`t natural.


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Olivia de Havilland

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