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Gilbert Adair GILBERT ADAIR 1946- ; film critic and novelist
Slow motion is the short-cut to beauty. • source unknown
See also Go to Robert Altman Robert Altman, Go to Vsevelod Pudovkin Vsevelod I Pudovkin
  KENNETH ADAM CBE 1908-1978; Controller BBC Television 1957-1961, Director of Television 1961-1968
Colour will always be very expensive, and it is quite probable that there will never be more than an average of one to two hours per night. • 1963, source unknown
Phillip Adams PHILLIP ADAMS 1939- ; Australian film director-producer
Adams' first law of television: the weight of the backside is greater than the force of the intellect. • source unknown
Joseph Addison JOSEPH ADDISON 1672-1719; English essayist and politician, founder editor of The Spectator
A true critic ought to dwell rather upon excellencies than imperfections, to discover the concealed beauties of a writer, and communicate to the world such things as are worth their observation. • source unknown
Warren Adler WARREN ADLER 1927- ; American novelist, producer
The development guys are very young. No one's over 30, they have absolutely no life experience, they talk in clichιs and their reference points are other movies • 'Sayings of the Week', The Observer, 14 April 1991
James Agee JAMES AGEE 1909-1955; American writer and critic
1 Several tons of dynamite are set off in this picture—none of it under the right people. • review of John Wayne movie Tycoon, 1947
2 There is not a man working in movies, nor a man who cares for them, who does not owe Griffith more than he owes anyone else. • on D W Griffith
See also Go to D W Griffith D W Griffith
3 Most movies are made in the evident assumption that the audience is passive and wants to remain passive; every effort is made to do all the work—the seeing, the explaining, the understanding, even the feeling. • Life, 1950
Spiro T Agnew SPIRO T AGNEW 1918-1996; US Vice President 1969-73
The purpose of my remarks tonight is to focus your attention on this little group of men who not only enjoy right of instant rebuttal to every Presidential address, but, more importantly, wield a free hand in selecting, presenting and interpreting the great issues in our nation. ... They decide what 40 to 50 million Americans will learn of the day’s events in the nation and the world. We cannot measure this power and influence by the traditional democratic standards, for these men can create national issues overnight. ... They can elevate men from obscurity to national prominence within a week. ... The American people would rightly not tolerate the concentration of power in government. Is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny enclosed fraternity of privileged men elected by no one? • speech on broadcasting, Des Moines, Iowa, 13 November 1969; the speech was broadcast live on all three main television networks.
See also Go to Frank Stanton Frank Stanton 1969
Fred Allen FRED ALLEN 1894-1956; US comedian
1 Television—a device that permits people who haven’t anything to do to watch people who can’t do anything. • source unknown
2 Television is a new medium. It's called a medium because nothing is well-done. • The Big Show radio show, 17 December 1950
3 Ed Sullivan will be around as long as someone else has talent. • TV Guide, 21 June 1958
4 You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a fruit fly, and still have room for three caraway seeds and a producer's heart. • quoted in John Robert Colombo: Popcorn in Paradise, 1980
Gracie Allen GRACIE ALLEN 1895-1964; American comedienne, wife and stage partner of George Burns
They laughed at Joan of Arc but she went right ahead and built it. • source unknown
Woody Allen WOODY ALLEN Allen Stewart Konigsberg
1935- ; American comedian, writer and film-maker
1 Life does not imitate art. It imitates bad television. • quoted in The Guardian, 31 December 2000
2 I don't work hard compared to [sic] a taxi driver or a policeman. People think making a film every year is overwhelming. It's not. Once you have the money and the script, how long does it take? It's not that big a deal. Making films is not difficult. The problem is making good films, that's the hard part.
    If I get an idea in my bedroom, and I love what I write, and I make the film, once in a while I think: 'This is perfect, I made exactly what I set out to make.' More times than not, I finish it and have a negative feeling. I think: 'Oh my God, I had such a great idea and look what I did with it.' . . . Once in a while, you think it's what you wanted, and then the public has to like it or not.
• quoted in Time Out magazine, 17 September 2013
Robert Altman ROBERT ALTMAN 1922- ; US film director
When I’m sitting on a plane watching the in-flight movie and it goes into slow motion I usually try to get off the plane. • cit. The Independent 7 July 1990
See also Go to Gilbert Adair  Gilbert Adair, Go to Vsevelod Pudovkin Vsevelod I Pudovkin
Linday Anderson LINDSAY ANDERSON Ά 1923-1994; British film and theatre director
1 As film-makers we believe that: No film can be too personal. The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments. Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim. An attitude means a style. A style an attitude. • Statement of Free Cinema beliefs, 1956
2 The British cinema has always been, and still is, conformist and class-bound to a degree. This means that it is practically impossible to extend the range of British films beyond the limits of what is, to the middle-class mind, orthodox, respectable and ‘nice’. ...
    The notion that the British public will not accept good, serious films is used not only to prevent such films being made, but also to frustrate them when they are. Two documentaries with which I have been concerned have achieved some measure of international success—Thursday’s Children (Academy Award 1955) and Every Day Except Christmas (Venice Grand Prix 1957). In neither case could we find a British distributor willing to take the film: in each case it was an American company who eventually accepted the picture for distribution. Even then, neither succeeded in getting shown on any of the big circuits.
    The present stagnation of the British cinema I would therefore attribute in roughly equal parts to (a) a reactionary social attitude and (b) a total lack of showmanship and ‘flair’ on the part of almost everyone concerned with it.
• Robert Hughes (ed): Film: Book I, New York, 1959
3 The two things I would do if I were dictator would be to abolish television and insist that every child in this country had a classical education. • August 1974
4 Endlessly one is asked, ‘Where is our Godard?’ Don’t ask me where ‘our Godard’ is; ask the French where their Anderson is. • May 1982
Marc Andreessen MARC ANDREESSEN 1971- ; Chief technology officer, Netscape
There is always a lot of Utopianism around any new piece of technology. I think when television was invented people talked a lot about how it would promote universal peace. But what do we have? A lot of sitcoms and game shows. • June 1998
The [television] equipment at our disposal would enable us at present to make an exploitation quite as intensive as the British, but the composition of the programmes would, in the beginning, have to be different; as they would have to include a large proportion of tele-cinema. • ‘The present state of television in France’, February 1947
Aristotle ARISTOTLE 382-322 BC; Greek philosopher
Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing. • source unknown
Matthew Arnold MATTHEW ARNOLD 1822-1888; English educationist and philosopher
1 The men of culture are the true apostles of equality. • Culture and Anarchy, 1869
2 The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light. ... He who works for sweetness and light united, works to make reason and the will of God prevail. • Culture and Anarchy, 1869
3 Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit. • Literature and Dogma, 1873
Alexandre Astruc ALEXANDRE ASTRUC 1923- ; French film director and critic
After having been successively a fairground attraction, an amusement analogous to boulevard theatre, or a means of preserving the images of an era, it [film] is gradually becoming a language. By a language, I mean a form in which and by which an artist can express his thought, however abstract it may be, or translate his obsessions, exactly as he does in the contemporary essay or novel. That is why I would like to call this new age of cinema the age of camιra-stylo [camera-pen].
    The film will gradually break free from the tyranny of what is visual, from the image for its own sake, from the immediate and concrete, to become a means of writing as flexible and supple as written language.
• 'Naissance d'une nouvelle avant-garde: la camιra-stylo' (Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Camιra-Stylo) in L'Ecran Franηais, 30 March 1948
David Attenborough DAVID ATTENBOROUGH Sir David Frederick Attenborough
1926- ; British television executive and natural history programme maker
1 One of the things that worries me, which you can’t very well say if you are a Director of Programmes, is that people watch television too much. The average man spends more time watching TV than any other activity except his work and sleeping. • on resigning as BBC Television’s Director of Programmes, December 1972
2 Most of the animals that appeared on British television screens in 1950 did so sitting on door-mats. • The Zoo Quest Expeditions, 1982
3 There are a lot of areas in what you would call serious broadcasting that the BBC doesn't do much of. • quoted in Sunday Times, 25 August 2002
Richard Attenborough RICHARD ATTENBOROUGH Sir/Lord Richard Samuel Attenborough
1923- ; British film actor, producer and director
There has been, in my opinion, only one minister who—no, two in fact, but one very evidently so—who has ever actually taken on board the value, artistically, socially, commercially, of British cinema, and that's Harold Wilson. Harold set up the Eady Fund and created a possible banking situation for British cinema. ...
    The only other person who ever did anything was Geoffrey Howe at the time of Chariots of Fire and Gandhi, when we were doing quite well in terms of capital allowances. ... I remember going to Geoffrey when he was Chancellor [of the Exchequer], and his very clearly saying, 'Look, I don't favour capital allowances for everything, but I do see that it would cripple the film industry to lose them at a stroke and I will reduce them slowly over a period of five, six or seven years.' When he left, Nigel Lawson came in and said, as he was perfectly entitled to, 'I'm not having any exceptions; capital allowances are out.' Within three months the whole of the funding of British cinema from the City disappeared.
• Interview in Brian McFarlane: An Autobiography of British Cinema, 1996
See also Go to Harold Wilson Harold Wilson
James Aubrey JAMES (Thomas) AUBREY Jr 1918-1994; CBS Network president 1959-1965; President, MGM 1969-73
The bottom has fallen out of the film business. • 1973
W H Auden W H AUDEN Wystan Hugh AUDEN
1907-1973; English poet
What the mass media offer is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten and replaced by a new dish. • The Poet and the City, 1962
Alfred Austin ALFRED AUSTIN 1835-1913; Poet Laureate
Along the electric wire the message came:
He is not better—he is much the same.
• poem on the illness of the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII
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Page updated 10 March 2010
Compilation and notes © David Fisher