Orson Welles Quotes

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Quotations by Orson Welles.

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A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

Living in the lap of luxury isn`t bad, except that you never know when luxury is going to stand up

Create your own visual style... let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.

We`re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we`re not alone.

I passionately hate the idea of being with it, I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what`s for lunch.

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.

Gluttony is not a secret vice.

I hate television. I hate it as much as I hate peanuts. But I can`t stop eating peanuts.

(on Edward G. Robinson) An immensely effective actor.

(on Federico Fellini) His films are a small town boy`s dream of a big city. His sophistication works because it is the creation of someone who doesn`t have it. But he shows dangerous signs of being a superlative artist with little to say.

(on Rene Clair) A real master: he invented his own Paris, which is better than recording it.

(on James Cagney) No one was more unreal and stylized, yet there is no moment when he was not true.

I prefer the old masters; by which I mean: John Ford, John Ford and John Ford. - on his favorite directors

If spiritually you`re part of the cat family, you can`t bear to be laughed at. You have to pretend when you fall down that you really wanted to be down there to see what`s under the sofa. The rest of us don`t at all mind being laughed at.

Living in the lap of luxury isn`t bad, except you never know when luxury is going to stand up.

Race hate isn`t human nature; race hate is the abandonment of human nature.

I do not suppose I shall be remembered for anything. But I don`t think about my work in those terms. It is just as vulgar to work for the sake of posterity as to work for the sake of money.

Hollywood is the only industry, even taking in soup companies, which does not have laboratories for the purpose of experimentation.

A good artist should be isolated. If he isn`t isolated, something is wrong.

"Everybody denies that I am genius - but nobody ever called me one".

I`m not rich. Never have been. When you see me in a bad movie as an actor (I hope not as a director), it is because a good movie has not been offered to me. I often make bad films in order to live.

I passionately hate the idea of being with it; I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time.

The word genius was whispered into my ear, the first thing I ever heard, while I was still mewling in my crib. So it never occurred to me that I wasn`t until middle age.

I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting in the back of the theater, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai.

A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

I don`t pray because I don`t want to bore God.

I think it is always a tremendously good formula in any art form to admit the limitations of the form.

I think I`m... I made essentially a mistake staying in movies, because I... but it... it`s the mistake I can`t regret because it`s like saying "I shouldn`t have stayed married to that woman, but I did because I love her." I would have been more successful if I`d left movies immediately. Stayed in the theater, gone into politics, written-- anything. I`ve wasted the greater part of my life looking for money, and trying to get along... trying to make my work from this terribly expensive paint box wich is an... a movie. And I`ve spent too much energy on things that have nothing to do with a movie. It`s about two percent movie making and 98% hustling. It`s no way to spend a life.

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people.

For thirty years people have been asking me how I reconcile X with Y! The truthful answer is that I don`t. Everything about me is a contradiction and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There is a philistine and an aesthete in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don`t reconcile the poles. You just recognize them.

(At RKO Studios working on Heart of Darkness, a film he later abandoned), "This is the biggest electric train set a boy ever had!"

(On Citizen Kane (1941) being colorized) "Keep Ted Turner and his goddamned Crayolas away from my movie."

I hate it when people pray on the screen. It`s not because I hate praying, but whenever I see an actor fold his hands and look up in the spotlight, I`m lost. There`s only one other thing in the movies I hate as much, and that`s sex. You just can`t get in bed or pray to God and convince me on the screen.

If there hadn`t been women we`d still be squatting in a cave eating raw meat, because we made civilization in order to impress our girl friends. And they tolerated it and let us go ahead and play with our toys.

I want to give the audience a hint of a scene. No more than that. Give them too much and they won`t contribute anything themselves. Give them just a suggestion and you get them working with you. That`s what gives the theater meaning: when it becomes a social act.

I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can`t stop eating peanuts.

(on Hollywood in the 1980s) "We live in a snake pit here...I hate it but I just don`t allow myself to face the fact that I hold it in contempt because it keeps on turning out to be the only place to go."

Movie directing is the perfect refuge for the mediocre.

I`m not bitter about Hollywood`s treatment of me, but over its treatment of Griffith, Von Sternberg, Von Stroheim, Buster Keaton and a hundred others.

I started at the top and worked down.

I`m not very fond of movies. I don`t go to them much.

(Commenting on pop idol Donny Osmond) "He has Van Gogh`s ear for music."

Even if the good old days never existed, the fact that we can conceive such a world is, in fact, an affirmation of the human spirit.


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Orson Welles

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