Alla Nazimova

Alla Nazimova – photos & quotes

Posted on Posted in Famous Visitors, Silent Film Stars

“It is not so difficult, your language. But your slang is impossible. Never can I understand the American humor.”Alla Nazimova

Alla Nazimova 1908“The history of the stage, within a very few years, will be written, not by erudite mechanician. Instead of reading in books the impressions of some perhaps prejudiced or overly enthusiastic critic, the coming generation will see on the screen of the Moving Picture theater what the stage figures of the present really did, instead of reading about it. They will see, not hear; and seeing is believing.”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

Photo: 1908

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Alla Nazimova 1908“Mark me, in an incredibly short time every stage artist, no matter of what renown or position, will be appearing before the lens and shutter, for they will realize that only by doing so will they be able to make any enduring mark upon the artistic scrolls of their time. I am crazy to appear before the machines myself. I want to perpetuate whatever art I have; I want to be known to generations yet to come, as well as to this. Just think what it will mean!”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

Photo: 1908

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Alla Nazimova“As the greatest operatic art of the world is now preserved for all time by the phonograph, so will the dramatic art be handed down by that marvelously potential little machine which spins through its messages of entertainment and instruction. Oh, what a prospect it unfolds! What a thing to dream of! The immortality of the painter is secure in his painting; he can lay down his brush with the knowledge that his name will ring through the succeeding centuries; and its ultimate development, the invention of your wonderful Mr. Edison, will bring equal fame to the great player.”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

 

Alla Nazimova“Take the young actor or actress, whose artistic schooling is just in progress. Could the principles of the pantomime, the value of action as opposed to dialogue, which is so hard to learn that many actors never know it at all, ever be brought home as conclusively in any other way?”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

 

Alla Nazimova“A prominent critic on one of your interior cities wrote of Madame Bernhardt, on her last tour of America, that to watch the movements of her fingers in one scene would be a liberal education to the ordinary actress. With the photographic lens these movements could be caught, and with them, the countless others which so glorify a Bernhardt impersonation, and they could be a factor in the training of generations of actresses. Bernhardt, supreme genius that she is, recognizes this, and she has already posed for the ‘little pictures.’ She is perfecting her title to immortality, so that when, for the last time, she ennobles her art in life, it will live for ages after her. Rejane, too, has glimpsed the future, and several of her most famous impersonations have been preserved to posterity by the celluloid films.”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

“Another direction in which the new movement – for it soon will be that – will be tremendously beneficial, will be that of self-study and improvement. As the mirror is so essential to obtaining the proper effects in makeup, adornment, and the like, so will the pictures be in framing the visualization of an important role. When an effect in makeup does not please us, we can change it, and keep on trying until we secure the result we wish; but we can tell nothing about the acting picture we present to our audiences – not, at least, until the next day, and then it is often too late. To see yourself as your audiences sees you – what a wonderful help it will be!”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

“Acting is sometimes considered impulsive and spontaneous, and the more it partakes of these qualities, the more it is real acting; but an effect seemingly natural is oftentimes the result of long and careful thought, and even then it might seem wrong or uncompleted if we could see it ourselves.”Alla Nazimova 

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

“We hear a good deal about a lack of dignity that would be entailed in the appearance of the foremost people of the stage before the camera. All what you call ‘moonshine.’ What a difference is there, ethically, between acting into a lens and singing into a funnel? Haven’t Caruso and all of the other great operatic stars of the world been doing the latter for years? And what one has suffered in dignity or public regard? Rather has their art been given a distribution to the most remote sections of the country, where it could never have penetrated otherwise. The music-loving cowboy on the plains of the West, the miner in frozen Skagway, or the orange grower on his porch, in Riverside, can enjoy Caruso’s golden notes simultaneously with the millionaire in his box at the Metropolitan Opera House. And so, too, it will be with the great artists of the dramatic stage, for it will not be long until the individual Moving Picture machine will be found in as many home as the phonograph is today.” — Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

“People do not go to the opera to see the dramatic exposition of the great roles, except in the case of Mary Garden; they go to hear them sung, and it is for that, solely, that they buy their phonograph records; with the artists of the drama, they will buy their picture reels to see them act, and the dialogue will be of as little consequence as it is in the Moving Picture theater of today. I shall be doing it soon, and while I may be the first in a prominent position, in America, to do it, I surely will not be the last. All the others will follow.”Alla Nazimova

Source: R.L. Giffen (1912)

 Photo
Alla Nazimova

“Five years ago, a certain well-known producer of motion pictures asked me to visit his studio and see how the work was done. I had always been interested in this new art, and accepted his invitation. It was all very fascinating. Then I saw some of the films that were turned out at his plant. I was impressed, but only with the possibilities – not with the achievements….I saw then as I see now, that if the actor or actress hopes to live beyond the little span of years in which they appear on the stage, they must place their art upon the screen. It is the only way that we can be saved from oblivion.”Alla Nazimova

Source: Randolph Bartlett (1916)
Photo: Hoover Art Co.

“It is my devilish ambition that has urged me on and on….Don’t you understand, it is because I love my work for itself, not for whatever glory it may bring me; not for self-aggrandizement, but for the joy of achievement. I am happy because I’m doing the work I love and there is always something more to do. It is the thing beyond that is the most fascinating. A role that is the most unsuited to me is the one I love the best. I throw myself into that character, I make myself be that character. I live another life. For instance, I have just been rehearsing ‘ Hedda Gabler.’ I make everybody miserable, and the more miserable I make them, the happier I am, for Hedda was meant to be a perfect cat, understand – yes?”Alla Nazimova

Source: Hazel Simpson Taylor (1918)

 

Alla Nazimova War Brides 1916

“See, I can express sadness, or anger, but if I do not feel it in here, then it is nothing but acting. One must live the part to make the picture audience feel it. Many people say, ‘But, my dear, how can one live her part in the movies, there are so many interruptions? The lights must be fixed, or it is wart, for the camera or for something else to be adjusted.’ But, after all, these interruptions are no worse than the technical difficulties encountered on the speaking stage, and no real artist would think of losing inspiration and just grimacing through her part because a light went out or a book fell down when it shouldn’t. Like everything else, the movies must be treated with sincerity. I love them…Then again, in pictures you can always improve your work, where if a line is once spoken on the stage you cannot go back and do it over. When I am doing a picture, I have a signal….No matter where we are, on location, in the studio, doing a long shot or closeup, that signal means – ‘Stop, and do it all over.’ Whenever I feel that there is one little bit that I can do better, then I do that, and Metro – ah, they are such a splendid company to work for – let me have my own way in that, but they say that I use up more film than anyone they ever had, and, hush! they charge me for it.”Alla Nazimova

Photo: War Brides (1916)

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“There is only one trouble with the movies, and that is the falsity of the stories. One cannot live a story unless it is true to life, to character, to experience, and so long as the stories are false, the actor cannot be blamed for acting the part and not living it. I consider myself especially fortunate in the stories that have been given me.”Alla Nazimova

 

Art Prints

“Ah, my dear, nobody that has once lived here could ever live in Russia. Under the old regime in Russia, I was like another human being. I could not see fun in anything. I had no sense of humor. I did not even appreciate nature. You cannot possibly imagine the despair and depression that weigh on you over there. Out here, I was reborn. I began to wake up. I call America my fountain of youth, for here are joy, freedom and happiness. If sorrow comes, why, some greater joy grows from it. It make you bigger, better; but never, never, whatever you do, let your ambition to accomplish anything make you bitter while you are following its dictates. You must love your work, and then you will be happy and young. For happiness is the secret of youth.”Alla Nazimova

“I am always happy, but some day or hour I may feel depressed or blue, and right away, I know it is my stomach that is out of order or my head that aches, not that I am really sad, and I take a day of rest and then I am well – and cheerful again.”Alla Nazimova

“I love best of all my little country place in Portchester, Westchester County. It is just a small, white stucco house on a six-acre farm. There is a tiny garage, and a duck pond with lilies and ducks and banked by green, green shrubbery. There is a wonderful old orchard, and every kind of flower and vegetable runs riot in the gardens. At one side of the house is a smooth, white tennis court – I do not play tennis myself, but I love to watch other people; and there are dogs and dogs – one of them is expecting babies now, and – I am so worried.”Alla Nazimova

“My dear child, temperament is only another excuse for temper.”  Alla Nazimova

VAMP Collection – Coffee Mug – Alla Nazimova – Salome – Lobby Card Reproduction – art nouveau

 

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