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- Movies don't cause crime any more than prison wardens cause crime. It has been charged against the motion picture industry that we take a sympathetic attitude toward gangsters, thugs, racketeers and criminals. I deny that. After the things that have happened to me and my fellow screen heavies, I don't see how they can say that. So many criminals get killed in The Maltese Falcon that there's a special announcement at the end of the film saying, "If any persons are alive in this picture, it is purely coincidental."
There are groups that would like us to show the criminal always outmatched, poorly armed, and all policemen a good six inches taller, armed with tear gas and tommy guns, while the poor, dear, miserable rat of a gangster has to fight it out alone with only one measly little pistol. The object would be to de-glamorize the gangster.
That's all right, but it seems to me they are asking us to go about it in the wrong way. It seems to me that disarming the gangster tends to add glamour rather than to remove it and, in some instances, even makes him seem gallant. What these critics forget is that the sympathies of the crowd are always with the underdog.
It is better, I think, to deglamorize His Excellency the Rat as we do it at Warners, by showing him well-armed, with an up-to-date arsenal, with smokescreens for his automobile, expensive short-wave radios and other good equipment for the art of murder and arson. When we show a criminal on the screen like that, there is no doubt in the mind of the weakest low-grade moron who the hero is. The hero is unquestionably your friend and mine, the cop.
- Humphrey Bogart, “Censorship: Jimmy Walker Never Heard of a Book Seducing a Dame but Bluenoses are Still on the Trail of our Films”, Hollywood Reporter, (Oct 1941); republished in “When Humphrey Bogart Tackled Movie Censorship in 1941”, Hollywood Reporter, (2/27/2018).
- The fact that Carradine has brought up Zen philosophy is interesting in and of itself. Not because of his classic stint as the metaphysically-minded Kane from 1972 until 1975, but more because many of the villains that he's portrayed in film over the years have been instilled with an unnerving sense of calm. Carradine's baddies are not maniacally crazed individuals, but rather reserved and introspective, bequeathed with an eerie sense of serenity which ultimately makes them not only creepy, but more resolutely evil, more menacing. "Have you ever met one of those?" he queries about the maniacal, crazed villain. "I mean serial killers tend to be [normal]. Some of the most villainous people that we've ever heard of are sophisticated and charming, you know? I mean, take a guy like Hitler. How the hell could he talk millions of people into taking his terrible, horrible, horrendous trip. There must have been a lot of charisma there. And considering that he was a funny, ugly lookin' little guy, how the f@#k did he do that? When I started playing villains I thought, 'Villains don't think they're villains. They think they're good guys.' So I figured, 'let the story take care of that part.' It will be obvious in the story this guy is bad. He's gonna do something, he's gonna slit some girl's throat or shoot some guy down or cheat somebody at cards or whatever. So he'll do that. But in the meantime, if he's trying to be charming, which they all do, you know, the used car salesman [that's trying to win you over]. And I thought, 'That's the way to go.' And it seems to work."
- I’ll tell you a minor secret of playing villains. Mine are usually polite and almost invariably charming. Nobody likes a nasty villain.
- Harvey Dent/Two Face: You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
- Heroes and villains should experience conflict emotions well toward the beginning of stories. The heroes, how ever, should overcome these emotions in the end. Fur thermore, the leading character in a screen story must never be depicted as feeling too much fear, jealousy, hatred, or even rage, lest he lose, once and for all, the sympathy of the audience. His emotions must be kept, for the most part, normal and pleasant. On the other hand, no combination of unpleasant emotions is too extreme for the villain. He may show extreme fear, hidden hatred, devastating cruelty, and virulent rage, to the delight of the audience. For the villain stands for the obstacles which the hero must overcome in order to achieve success.
Characterizations should be subtly depicted. The villain, as a rule, should make a good appearance. He should cover his unpleasant emotions, revealing them only in moments when he is alone with his audience. The good old rules of the days of the ten-cent melodrama, with respect to the villain's villainy, have not greatly changed. When he is permitted to show too many of the pleasant emotions, he frequently elicits greater sympathy from the audience than does the hero himself, thereby ruining the average screen story.
- Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!
- Jean-Luc Picard: We think we've come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, is all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again.
- Worf: I believed her. I... helped her. I did not see her for what she was.
- Jean-Luc Picard: Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.
- Worf: I think... after yesterday people will not be so ready to trust her.
- Jean-Luc Picard: Maybe. But she, or someone like her, will always be with us. Waiting for the right climate in which to flourish, spreading fear in the name of righteousness. [...] Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continually pay.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 419.
- Now I will show myself
To have more of the serpent than the dove;
That is—more knave than fool.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act II, scene 3.
- Zeno first started that doctrine, that knavery is the best defence against a knave.
- Plutarch, Moralia (2d century), Volume I. Of Bashfulness.
- There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark
But he's an arrant knave.
- A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats.
- His nunc præmium est qui recta prava faciunt.
- Knavery's now its own reward.
- Terence, Phormio (c. 161 BC), V, 1, 6.