Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, & Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain (1952, dir. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
Anna Karina & Jean-Luc Godard, 1964
[Karina & Godard] set off for Switzerland to start work on Le petit soldat, which turned out to be one of the longest productions of his fast-moving career, “at least three months”. During this time, the chemistry developed: “I guess we were in love, but we were kind of looking at each other like animals…” She hesitates, amends: “Sweet animals.”
“At that time I was with somebody else, a painter. So one night, a friend was giving a party in Lausanne, not very far away from Geneva where we were filming, so we went there, me with my painter and all the crew, and we sat there and had dinner, and suddenly on my knee, there’s a hand. It was Jean-Luc. And he gives me a piece of paper in my hand, and he leaves the room. Well, I wanna see what’s in the paper, and I go into the next room, and there it’s written: ‘I love you, rendez-vous à minuit au Café de la Paix.’ Then my painter came into the room and said: ‘Give me it! He gave you something under the table, I saw it,’ and he starts to break my hand.”
She broke away, demanded to be driven back to Geneva, where she packed her bags. Her painter pleaded with her – “Why are you doing this to me?” “Because I love him…”. “I couldn’t help it, like. Totally hypnotised. It was like a coup de foudre… in slow motion. So I went to the café, and he was sitting there reading – I mean, pretending to read the newspaper – at midnight, you know! And after a while he said, ‘Ah, here you are. Shall we go?’ And we went to the hotel…” The next morning, Godard had vanished, but he came back shortly afterwards carrying a dress – the dress she was to wear in the film. “It was like a wedding dress…”
Band of Outsiders (1964, dir. Jean-Luc Godard, scene online here)
Arthur watches his feet, but thinks of Odile’s mouth and her romantic kisses.
“I know I’m vulgar, but would you have me any other way?”
Orson Welles on the set of Macbeth (1948, dir. Orson Welles)
“You could write all the ideas of all the movies, mine included, on the head of a pin. It’s not a form in which ideas are very fecund. It’s a form that may grip you or take you into a world or involve you emotionally—but ideas are not the subject of films. I have this terrible sense that film is dead, that it’s a piece of film in a machine that will be run off and shown to people. That is why, I think, my films are theatrical, and strongly stated, because I can’t believe that anybody won’t fall asleep unless they are. There’s an awful lot of Bergman and Antonioni that I’d rather be dead than sit through.
For myself, unless a film is hallucinatory, unless it becomes that kind of an experience, it doesn’t come alive. I know that directors find serious and sensitive audiences for films where people sit around peeling potatoes in the peasant houses—but I can’t read that kind of novel either. Somebody has to be knocking at the door—I figure that is the way Shakespeare thought, so I can’t be in bad company!”
Faye Dunaway & Warren Beatty in Bonnie & Clyde (1967, dir. Arthur Penn)
You’ve heard the story of Jesse James
Of how he lived and died;
If you’re still in need
Of something to read
Here’s the story of Bonnie and Clyde…
Serge Gainsbourg & Bridget Bardot - Bonnie & Clyde (via Initials B.B., 1968)
English translation here.
The Art of Making an Entrance: Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)
“That summer, Paramount released Jaws in hundreds of theaters across the nation, an unheard-of practice. It also unleashed a massive - and expensive - national TV ad campaign, also unprecedented. Jaws went on to earn a then-staggering $129 million. The summer thrill-ride blockbuster was born.
Jaws changed the business forever, as the studios discovered the value of wide breaks - the number of theaters would rise to one thousand, two thousand, and more by the next decade - and massive TV advertising, both of which increased the cost of marketing and distribution, diminishing the importance of print reviews, making it virtually impossible for a film to build slowly, finding its audience by dint of mere quality. As costs mounted, the willingness to take risks diminished proportionately. Moreover, Jaws whet corporate appetites for big profits quickly, which is to say, studios wanted every film to be Jaws.
In a sense, Spielberg was the Trojan horse through which the studios began to reassert their power. As Spielberg admits, ‘My influences, in a very perverse way, were executives like Sid Sheinberg, and producers like Zanuck and Brown, rather than my contemporaries in my circle in the 70s. I was truly more of a child of the establishment than I was a product of USC or NYU or the Francis Coppola protege clique.’”
-Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
Rudolph Valentino (1923)
“I hate Valentino! All men hate Valentino. I hate his oriental optics; I hate his classic nose; I hate his Roman face; I hate his smile; I hate his glistening teeth; I hate his patent leather hair; I hate his Svengali glare; I hate him because he dances too well; I hate him because he’s a slicker; I hate him because he’s the great lover of the screen; I hate him because he’s an embezzler of hearts; I hate him because he’s too apt in the art of osculation; I hate him because he’s leading man for Gloria Swanson; I hate him because he’s too good-looking.
Ever since he came galloping in with the “Four Horseman” he has been the cause of more home cooked battle royals than they can print in the papers. The women are all dizzy over him. The men have formed a secret order (of which I am running for president and chief executioner as you may notice) to loathe, hate and despise him for obvious reasons.
What! Me jealous?—Oh, no—I just hate him.”
-Player Hater/Journalist Richard Dorgan (Photoplay magazine, 1922), expressing the general dislike American men felt towards the alarmingly metrosexual & androgynous Valentino.
(Not surprisingly, Valentino was not a fan of Dorgan’s opinions and threatened to kill Dorgan if he ever set foot on the studio lot again)