Anthony Perkins in The Trial (1962, dir. Orson Welles)
Q. A critic who admires your work very much said that, in The Trial, you were repeating yourself…
Welles: Exactly, I repeated myself. I believe we do it all the time. We always take up certain elements again. How can it be avoided? An actor’s voice always has the same timbre and, consequently, he repeats himself. It is the same for a singer, a painter…There are always certain things that come back, for they are part of one’s personality, of one’s style. If these things didn’t come into play, a personality would be so complex that it would become impossible to identify it.
It is not my intention to repeat myself, but in my work there should certainly be references to what I have done in the past. Say what you will, but The Trial is the best film I ever made…I have never been so happy as when I made this film.”
-excerpted from Orson Welles: Interviews
Margaret Hamilton in publicity still for The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming) (photo by Virgil Apger)
“I was in a need of money at the time, and my agent called. I said, ‘Yes?’ and he said ‘Maggie, they want you to play a part on the Wizard.’ I said to myself, ‘Oh Boy, The Wizard of Oz! That has been my favorite book since I was four.’ And I asked him what part, and he said ‘The Witch’ and I said ‘The Witch?!’ and he said ‘What else?’”
Richie Andrusco inLittle Fugitive (1953, dir. Ray Ashley, Ruth Orkin, & Morris Engel)
“The title character is a 7-yr-old boy who runs away from his Brooklyn neighborhood to the Coney Island amusement park after his older brother plays a cruel prank on him. Anticipating the advances in lightweight camera equipment that would propel cinéma-vérité documentary a few years later, Engel did the cinematography with a small, portable 35mm camera he helped design.
[Little Fugitive] made a big impression on other aspiring filmmakers who wanted to follow their own instincts outside Hollywood’s orbit. They included John Cassavetes & Martin Scorsese, who began setting stories against vivid New York City backgrounds a few years later. François Truffaut was inspired by the picture’s childhood subject and spontaneous production style when he created his prize-winning debut feature, The 400 Blows, in 1959. ‘Our New Wave would never have come into being,’ he told an interviewer years later, ‘if it hadn’t been for the young American Morris Engel, who showed us the way to independent production with [this] fine movie.’”
Catherine Hessling in publicity still for Nana (1926, dir. Jean Renoir) (via)
“She is a girl descended from four or five generations of drunkards, her blood tainted by an accumulated inheritance of poverty and drink, which in her case had taken the form of a nervous derangement of the sexual instinct. She had grown up in the slums, in the gutters of Paris; and now, tall and beautiful, and as well made as a plant nurtured on a dungheap, she was avenging the paupers and outcasts of whom she was the product.
With her, the rottenness that was allowed to ferment among the lower classes was rising to the surface and rotting the aristocracy. She had become a force of nature, a ferment of destruction, unwittingly corrupting and disorganizing Paris between her snow-white thighs.”
-Emile Zola, Nana (1880)