John Huston Poster

Quotes (31)

  • I've lived a number of lives. I'm inclined to envy the man who leads one life, with one job, and one wife, in one country, under one God. It may not be a very exciting existence, but at least by the time he's seventy-three he knows how old he is.
  • On remakes: "There is a wilful lemming-like persistance in remaking past successes time after time. They can't make them as good as they are in our memories, but they go on doing them and each time it's a disaster. Why don't we remake some of our bad pictures - I'd love another shot at 'Roots of Heaven' - and make them good?"
  • Half of directing is casting the right actors.
  • I prefer to think that God is not dead, just drunk.
  • The directing of a picture involves coming out of your individual loneliness and taking a controlling part in putting together a small world. A picture is made. You put a frame around it and move on. And one day you die. That is all there is to it.
  • I fail to see any continuity in my work from picture to picture.
  • I don't try to guess what a million people will like. It's hard enough to know what I like.
  • I completely storyboarded The Maltese Falcon (1941) because I didn't want to lose face with the crew: I wanted to give the impression that I knew what I was doing.
  • [from 1984] There is nothing more fascinating -- and more fun -- than making movies. Besides, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.
  • I'm told there is a Huston style; if so I'm not aware of it. I just make the film to its own requirements.
  • [on George C. Scott] One of the best actors alive. But my opinion of him as an actor is much higher than my opinion of him as a man.
  • [on Jack Nicholson] I have great respect for him. Not only as an artist but as an individual. He has a fine eye for good paintings and a good ear for fine music. And he's a lovely man to drink with. A boon companion! I'd like to make more pictures with Jack Nicholson.
  • [on Paul Newman] Paul Newman is full of innovation. He has wonderful immediate ideas. Very often supplements mine, or has something better than my notions. Some action perhaps.
  • [on Robert Mitchum] I think Bob is one of the very great actors and that his resources as an actor have never been fully tapped. He could be a Shakespearean actor. In fact, I think that he could play King Lear.
  • [on Peter Lorre] Peter Lorre was one of the finest and most subtle actors I have ever worked with. Beneath that air of innocence he used to such effect, one sensed a Faustian worldliness. I'd know he was giving a good performance as we put it on film but I wouldn't know how good until I saw him in the rushes.
  • [on Clark Gable] Clark Gable was the only real he-man I've ever known, of all the actors I've met.
  • [on 'Humphrey Bogart' (qv] He was endowed with the greatest gift a man can have -- talent. The whole world came to recognize it. With the years he became increasingly aware of the dignity of his profession - Actor, not Star. Himself he never took seriously -- his work, most seriously. He regarded the somewhat gaudy figure of Bogart, the Star, with amused cynicism; Bogart the actor he held in great respect. He is quite irreplaceable.
  • [on his father Walter Huston] I hate stars. They're not actors. I've been around actors all my life and I like them, but I never had an actor as a friend. Except Dad. And Dad never thought of himself as an actor. But the best actor I ever worked with was Dad. Dad was a man who never tried to sell anybody anything.
  • [on Susannah York] Susannah was the personification of the uninformed arrogance of youth.
  • [on Elisha Cook Jr.] Elisha Cook, Jr. lived alone up in the High Sierra, tied flies and caught golden trout between films. When he was wanted in Hollywood, they sent word up to his mountain cabin by courier. He would come down, do a picture and then withdraw again to his retreat.
  • [on Marlon Brando] Brando was something else entirely. Brando had an explosive thing; you felt something smoldering, dangerous, about to ignite at times. Did you see Julius Caesar (1953)? Christ! I will never forget that; it was like a furnace door opening - the heat came off the screen. I don't know another actor who could do that.
  • I think the worst thing I ever saw Brando do was Apocalypse Now (1979), which was just dreadful - the finish of that picture. The model for it, Heart of Darkness, has no finish either, and the movie-makers just didn't find one either. It's very good for a picture to have an ending before you start shooting!
  • [on Marilyn Monroe] Marilyn wasn't killed by Hollywood. The girl was an addict of sleeping tablets and she was made so by the goddamn doctors.
  • Hollywood doesn't like actors who are British classical actors. They like Michael Caine because he's a sort of English Everyman. But the Laurence Oliviers and the John Gielguds and Richard Burtons are not and can't be an Everyman. They have some quality of aristocratic greatness that Hollywood finds threatening.
  • [on directing Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits (1961)] She went right down into her personal experience for everything, reached down and pulled something out of herself that was unique and extraordinary. She had no techniques. It was all truth, it was only Marilyn. But it was Marilyn plus. She found things, found things about womankind in herself.
  • [on Albert Finney in Under the Volcano (1984)] I think it's the finest performance I have ever witnessed, let alone directed.
  • [On Jack Nicholson] Jack's a virtuoso. He can do the acting scales on one hand.
  • [accepting the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1983] An avuncular figure in my youth passed on a piece of advice his father had given him: 'Don't work at anything simply for the money. Choose your profession as you would choose a wife, for love *and* for money.' I have faithfully abided by the first half of that dictum. Indeed, I have a confession to make: I have been so enamored with my work that I have always had a feeling of guilt about taking money for it. Maybe that's why I always got rid of it so quickly. It was like money you win at the races, not the rewards of honest toil.
  • On Mexico: It's one of the countries I like best in the world.
  • I confess to having made films because they were in countries I wanted to visit.
  • So far as directing the actors and the crew is concerned, well I direct just as little as possible and I get as much from others as I possibly can. Some of the best ideas I've ever had have come from other people.