William Wyler Poster

Quotes (18)

  • I'm here to make good pictures. If I don't see it, I won't touch it. I may not make a good picture, but I still gotta believe in it!
  • Stills belong in the lobby, not on the screen.
  • It's 80% script and 20% you get great actors. There's nothing else to it.
  • It's a miserable life in Hollywood. You're up at five or six o'clock in the morning to be ready to start shooting at nine. The working hours aren't arranged to suit the artists and the directors; they're for the convenience of the technicians. If you go to a party at night, you'll never find anyone there who's shooting a picture; they're all home in bed.
  • If anybody doubts my loyalty to my country, I'll punch him in the nose, and I don't care how old he is.
  • I made over 40 westerns. I used to lie awake nights trying to think up new ways of getting on and off a horse.
  • [on why he turned down the offer to direct The Sound of Music (1965)] I just can't bear to make a picture about all those nice Nazis.
  • [responding to co-stars' complaints about the imperious behavior of star Barbra Streisand--with whom he had had his own clashes--and her habit of telling other actors what to do and how to act on the set of Funny Girl (1968), her very first film] You'll have to forgive Barbra; this is the first picture she's ever directed.
  • [on cinematographer Gregg Toland] A great and happy influence on my work. Usually photography doesn't influence direction, but Toland's deep focus work did because we were able to let the audience do its own cutting. But if the photography allows you to see all four actors in one shot and in sharp focus, reacting to each other within the same shot, you've gained the opportunity to use a big close-up at the most important point. In this way Toland improved upon my direction.
  • [on Preston Sturges] I could never make a good film without a good writer, but neither could Preston Sturges. Only he had one with him all the time. He was a true auteur, the complete creator of his own films.
  • [on Laurence Olivier] Sir Laurence Olivier is one of the most disciplined, prepared, able and intelligent and cooperative actors I have ever worked with. This may well be because he is also a director and a very good one.
  • [on Humphrey Bogart] I found him very professional, very easy. His acting was never hammy, it was very simple -- in fact he underplayed and I think that's the reason why his films stand up so well today. As an actor he obviously had limitations -- his range was not that great, but within his range he was the best around.
  • It is always a great pleasure to work with an actress who is so professional. She is eager to do a good job; you never have to tell her what a scene was about -- you just have to calm her down once in a while and keep her from becoming over-enthusiastic.
  • [on Jean Simmons] The first thing you look for is talent and this girl is full of it. She can play comedy and drama with equal facility.
  • [on Frances Farmer] The nicest thing I can say about Frances Farmer is that she is unbearable.
  • [on Ben-Hur (1959)] It took a Jew to make a really good movie about Christ.
  • They asked me to do Ben-Hur (1959). It was really not the kind of picture I...I been making. But, I felt it would be intriguing to see if I could make a Cecil B. DeMille picture.
  • [on accepting the director's chair on Ben-Hur (1959)] Also, I thought that this picture would make lots of money and, you know, maybe I'll get some of it. Which I did!