Jimmy Stewart with his two stepsons (California 1951, photo by Gene Lester)
“I’m beginning to believe that, in films, what everyone is striving for is to produce moments—not a performance, not a characterization, not something where you get into the part—you produce moments that create a feeling of believability to what you’re doing….
I was making a Western in British Columbia and we were on the Columbia Icefields. It was raining and there was heavy mist around, so we couldn’t shoot, so we were all huddled around a fire. Suddenly, out of the mist, came a man, and he was not a young man. He had a beard—it wasn’t exactly a beard, he just hadn’t shaved for a while—and he was a miner type, he was dressed like a miner. He came closer to us and he said, ‘Which one of you is Stewart?’
He came over and looked at me and said, ‘Oh, yeah. Yeah. I recognize ya. Well, I heard you was here, and I thought I’d come up and say hello. I’ve seen a lot of your picture shows, but I think the one I liked best—you were in this room and your girlfriend was in the next room and there were fireflies outside, and you recited a piece of poetry to her. I thought that was a nice thing for you to do.’
And I remembered exactly the moment, exactly the film, who was in it, who directed it, and I also realized that that picture had been released twenty years before. That man made a tremendous impression on me. To think that I had been part of creating a moment that this man had liked and had remembered for twenty years. I’ll never forget it. That’s what I mean by the moment.”
-Stewart, in a 1972 British Film Institute interview (via)