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- No man can be a genius in slapshoes and a flat hat.
- Think slow, act fast.
- The first thing I did in the studio was to want to tear that camera to pieces. I had to know how that film got into the cutting room, what you did to it in there, how you projected it, how you finally got the picture together, how you made things match. The technical part of pictures is what interested me. Material was the last thing in the world I thought about. You only had to turn me loose on the set and I'd have material in two minutes, because I'd been doing it all my life.
- A comedian does funny things. A good comedian does things funny.
- Because of the way I looked on the stage and screen, the public naturally assumed I felt hopeless and unloved in my personal life. Nothing could be farther from the fact. As long back as I can remember, I have considered myself a fabulously lucky man.
- I don't act, anyway. The stuff is all injected as we go along. My pictures are made without script or written directions of any kind.
- I gotta do some sad scenes. Why, I never tried to make anybody cry in my life! And I go 'round all the time dolled up in kippie clothes-wear everything but a corset! Can't stub my toe in this picture nor anything! Just imagine having to play-act all the time without ever getting hit with anything!
- I said, "how am I gonna keep from flinching?" He said, "Look away from me. When I say turn, it'll be there." He put my head where my feet were!
- Recounting how Fatty Arbuckle taught him to take a sack of flour in the face.
- If they're going to like anything of mine, they'll like The General.
- In 1928, I made the worst mistake of my career. Against my better judgment I let Joe Schenck talk me into giving up my own studio to make pictures at the booming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot in Culver City . . . they were picking stories and material without consulting me and I couldn't argue 'em out of it. I'd only argue about so far and then let it go. They'd say, "This is funny," and I'd say, "It stinks." It didn't make any difference. We did it anyhow.
- Schenck was supposed to be my producer but he never knew when or what I was shooting. He just turned me loose.
- About Joe Schenck
- The camera can't catch my blushes!
- The moment you give me a locomotive and things like that to play with, as a rule I find some way of getting laughs with it.
- Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.