“I have but one plea for the public. Please ask the picture lovers to remember that they have never yet witnessed a Von Stroheim picture! They have only seen the mutilated, hacked, cut and slashed remains. If you had given all of your strength, sacrificed years of your life to the creation of a beautiful, exquisite painting, would you like to have some one say, ‘Oh, you do not need this or that touch, or splash of color; you do not need this or that object,’ until there was nothing left of your painting but the crude, bare outlines of the idea of your picture? Would you want it to be exhibited in an art gallery as your painting? Would you go to that art gallery and look on that painting with pride and be glad to have people say, ‘Well, why did she make such a fuss about it? I don’t see anything but the most ordinary picture which anyone might paint? Why should the price be so high on such a picture?’ No, you would not go! So it is I have not seen ‘Greed’ as it is and never will! If I had to sit through ‘Greed’ as it is today I shall die! I know I should!” – Erich von Stroheim
Source: Doris Denbo (1925)
“It’s a miracle we didn’t kill him down there! What we suffered no one knows but those with us. I would have liked to smash him down – so! And then I’d probably lift him up again – so! Funny to feel both ways about him, isn’t it? But I do.” — Gibson Gowland
Photo: Von Stroheim showing Gowland how to play his scene with Zazu Pitts in Greed.
When you go into a scene with Von Stroheim, you know you are going to do a living, monumental piece of work – he somehow puts it into you….We lived through hell on that picture!” — Jean Hersholt
“The public? Bah! They are not given a chance to know what they want! The exhibitors and producers decide what they shall have and then they say, ‘That is what the dear public want and they will take nothing else.’ I tell you it is not so.” — Erich Von Stroheim
Blind Husbands (1919). Co-starring Francelia Billington.
“Now to you, please.
Gravediggers, buzzards, scavengers!
That’s what you are!
Dealing with dead and old stuff.
Here’s to you. All of you.” – Erich von Stroheim’s toast to the British Film Institute in 1954.
Source: Arthur Lennig’s book, Stroheim
Photo: Foolish Wives (1922)
“And yet because of my attempt at sincerity I have been condemned, hooted at, reviled; filthy rumors have been circulated about me, not about my characterizations but about me personally, my private self.” — Erich von Stroheim