Joan Crawford. 1965:
“I write about 10 to 12 thousand letters a month. I feel if people take the time to write,you should take the time to answer.
We are on a sound stage and never see people except our co-workers. This is our applause (meeting fans).”
“Dick Powell disliked singing. I cant tell you how much he disliked singing.He wanted to do tough guy roles.
He had a great voice,I loved his voice, but he just didn’t like it,(singing). He was delighted to get Murder My Sweet – it started a second career for him.”
Rita Hayworth. 1956:
Describing her new film, Fire Down Below:
“I am portraying the part of a displaced person,a middle European woman….she meets two gentlemen – they have a boat,a sort of fishing boat – they smuggle her from island to island, and they both fall in love with her. But I’m not going to tell you which one she falls in love with!
After this picture, I expect to go back to the United States and do Pal Joey.”
Fay Wray: 1990
On King Kong: “It meant to me a chance to work again with a very talented and visionary man, Merion Cooper.
No one told me what to do. I just had the freedom that I never had in any other role. To just make up my own picture of what Kong is like,how big he was, how frightening he was.
In that year when I was in King Kong,I had a modest number of films to do – only 4 others. But some years I did 12 films in one year.”
Gregory Peck. 1989:
On producing The Big Country:
“I found it difficult to play the leading role and be responsible for the payroll and the logistics of moving hundreds of people and horses about. And a kind of falling out with my director who was also my co-producer,Wiliam Wyler.Such a falling out that we didn’t speak for two years.”
On Twelve O’Clock High:
“Henry King was just the kind of man I admired…….we just had a perfect rapport. He didn’t have to say much to me,just a little hint here and there of where he wanted me to go, or even a little nod of the head after a scene.I had total confidence- he was by the camera and if he said it was alright,it was alright.”
“There was never any friction (with Hitchcock). It’s just that he was not that much interested in the craft of acting. I was still young and not far from the theatre……..what he wanted was instant facial expression or instant body language that would tell the story as he had imagined it. . He really didn’t give a hoot what was going on inside the actors.”
“I had just done The Gunfighter. I was immediately offered High Noon. I thought it was too much like The Gunfighter – it’s a man alone facing the town. So I passed it up. But I think they got the right man – Gary Cooper was marvellous in it.
But in the long run – people have told me The Gunfighter stands up better,less contrived,less artificial,more authentic.”
Boris Karloff. 1965:
” First I’d like to salute the monster who really is the best friend I ever had. He changed the whole course of my life,because up to that time I was just a struggling,unknown actor.
When it happened,I was working on a film at Universal and I was in the commissary for lunch.James Whale – he was to direct the first FRANKENSTEIN – called me over to his table to have q cup of coffee with him. He said he’d like to make a test of the monster for me.
I was delighted at the thought of another job, but I must say my feelings were a little hurt because I had on my best suit! I was under contract to Universal and the film was a great success, and in effect,I haven’t stopped working since.”
“There was The Bride of Frankenstein and The Son of Frankenstein – you’ll observe it’s all in extremely proper order!”
“Billy (Wilder) is like my father and my brother,both.We’ve had our flops,but we’ve had some great ones – Some Like It Hot,The Apartment, Irma La Diuce etc. And Fortune Cookie with Walter (Matthau) who is my favorite actor – he’s my favorite leading lady! Walter’s also my closest friend.”
“Some Like It Hot was just absolute heaven. At the time Billy was making that,the whole industry thought he was crazy – that he was taking a 5 minute burlesque sketch and trying to blow it up into a 2 hour farce.And your cant have your leading men running around in drag for three quarters of the film.
Well, fortunately it did work. But the moment we started,I knew we had something special. Billy was at the height of his powers as a writer and director.
Marilyn was a lovely girl and a very hard worker. Her chronic lateness was not temperament. Whatever the devils were inside her, it really was impossible for her to come onto that set and face it. I don’t know why, but it was a genuine problem for her.”
(All the above audio excerpts are from the BBC Radio Archives.)