“Tinker with the whole, bring in one inharmonious element and the entire conception goes by the board. A Zulu chief is a magnificent object—but you must not exchange his gum-ring for Charlie Chaplin’s derby hat.” [via]
“IN this connection let us observe how the Russian Ballet gets its splendid effect of art. There is a true and tried artist for the scenery, another for the arrangement of the dance, another for the music, another for the costumes, and so on. All conspire, all contribute, the one careful never to impede the work of the others. The result is an artistic unity.” [via]
“See the wealthy New York man of fashion, dressing for a dinner at Mrs. De Peyster Stuyvesant’s! See how deftly he shoots on his detachable cuffs and snaps on his elastic tie. See how charmingly he wears his derby hat with his evening coat. He even retains it, possibly fearing that it may be stolen in Mrs. Stuyvesant’s drawing room, which is, of course, furnished in the manner of the gentlemen’s lounge on a Fall River boat.” [via]
“It has often been said that the worst author knows his business better than the best critic, just as the feeblest father will beget more children than the biggest naval gun. But in the movies we have men who are such atrociously bad critics that they permit the most choking solecisms in almost every scene.” [via]
“SUPPOSE that I make up my mind that one of Charles Condor’s painted women on a fan lacks distinctness? Do I call in Zuloaga to put a new head on her? Zuloaga will paint me in a fine head, no doubt; but he is certain to throw out the rest of Condor’s picture. In the realm of painting I much prefer Gauguin to John Lavery, but I should not ask the former to pain a Samoan head on the shoulders of the portrait of ‘Lady Platagenet-Tudor’ by the latter. Consider the diffident reverence with which a great artist like Sir A. Quiller-Couch finished a novel by Stevenson—and always from the master’s notes.” [via]
“One could go on for hours describing the fatuity of the movie men. It is not that their ideas are necessarily wrong in themselves, but that they are inappropriate—and in bad taste. They forget that the author has thought out all his contrasts and values, and even a better author could not alter them without destroying them utterly.” [via]
“And so, alas, it all came about.
These two master minds could not foresee that everyone who had read Hugo’s great story would leave the theatre foaming at the mouth, raving for blood.
Similarly with ‘Hedda Gabler.’ They had to improve on Ibsen’s great curtain, and bring in George Tesman to confront Brack, who faints on hearing the pistol shot, and asks, ‘Why should you faint at my wife’s death?’ with all the air of one who proposes an amusing riddle!” [via]
“SOME months back two wealthy gentlemen where lunching at the Knickerbocker Hotel, in New York, where all movie magnates seem to make a habit of foregathering. They were trying to think of a book to ‘film.’ A pause. One suggested Victor Hugo’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame.’ ‘A grand sweet story! Some story! Some Punch! Some pep!’ A longer pause. ‘Say, why, in out film, shouldn’t that hunchback marry the beautiful gipsy chicken?’ ‘But, say, we can’t have that little pippin tied to a hunchback.’ ‘I got it, bo, we’ll get a Johns Hopkins guy to straighten him out on the operating table.’ ‘Say, you’re some artist, Al.'” [via]
“These preposterous people do not understand that they insult the public and make themselves ridiculous in the the bargain when they offer to ‘improve’ Victor Hugo; to bring Dumas ‘up-to-date’; to put ‘punch’ into Ibsen; or to ‘alter’ history a bit in order to give Joan of Arc an earthly lover.” [via]
“In the first place, the wretches in power, when they get a perfectly competent author—say a novelist of great repute—will not trust him at all. The great writer’s story has always been a ‘movie’—on the screen of the author’s mind. It was complete in every picture before he ever put pen to paper. But the producing wretches do not know that. They do not realize that he has done the thing right. They do not even realize this in the case of a famous novel—or play—where a long success has proved it.” [via]