Humorous Quotes from
My Autobiography By Charlie Chaplin
Mother said, guests were like cakes; if kept too long they became stale and unpalatable.
A few Boer farmers in the African Transvaal were warring unfairly, shooting our red-coated soldiers – excellent targets – from behind boulders and rocks.
Joseph Conrad wrote to a friend to this effect that life made him feel like a cornered blind rat waiting to be clubbed. This simile could well describe the appalling circumstances of us all; nevertheless, some of us are struck with good luck, and that is what happened to me.
I gave up trying to see anything and sat down, resigned to viewing the backsides of those in front of me.
A most formidable element in optimism is youth, for it instinctively feels that adversity is pro tem and that a continual run of ill luck is just as implausible as the straight and narrow path of righteousness. Both eventually must deviate.
Quebec from the boat looked like the ramparts where Hamlet’s ghost might have walked.
When we got off the streetcar at Times Square, it was somewhat of a letdown. Newspapers were blowing about the road and pavement, and Broadway looked seedy, like a slovenly woman just out of bed.
There is a fraternity of those who passionately want to know. I was one of them. But my motives were not so pure; I wanted to know, not for the love of knowledge but as a defense against the world’s contempt for the ignorant.
Little as I knew about movies, I knew that nothing transcended personality.
All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.
I like friends as I like music – when I am in the mood.
The moment she (Pavlova) made her entrance no matter how gay or winsome she was, I wanted to weep, for she personified the tragedy of perfection.
In those days I disliked brilliant young men – especially after-dinner speakers.
Favorite Extract/ Long Quote...
Paderewski had great charm, but there was something bourgeois about him, an overemphasis of dignity. He was impressive with his long hair, severe, slanting mustache and the small tuft of hair under his lower lip, which I thought revealed some form of mystic vanity. At his recitals, with house lights lowered and the atmosphere somber and awesome when he was about to sit on the piano stool, I always felt someone should pull it from under him.
In this book I do not intend to give a blow-by-blow description of a sex bout: I find them inartistic, clinical and unpoetic. The circumstances that lead up to sex I find more interesting.
Because of Tom (Harrington) I read Boswell’s Life of Johnson – “that’s something to put you to sleep at night,” he giggled.
Mildred was no mental heavy-weight. I had no desire to marry an encyclopedia – I would get all my intellectual stimulus from a library.
Babies and dogs are the best actors in movies. Put a twelve-month-old baby in a bathtub with a bar of soap, and when he tries to pick it up he will create a riot of laughter.
I could never reach her mind. It was cluttered with pink-ribboned foolishness.
Like playing the violin or the piano, thinking needs everyday practice.
(In Hollywood Big Budget movies) The hero can outjump, outclimb, outshoot, outfight and outlove anyone in the picture. In fact, every human problem is solved by these methods- except thinking.
I cannot pretend to enjoy Shakespeare in the theatre. My feeling is too contemporary.
In my pursuit of bread and cheese, honor was seldom trafficked in. I cannot identify myself with a prince’s problems. Hamlet’s mother could have slept with everyone at court and I would still feel indifferent to the hurt it would have inflicted on Hamlet.
No matter how frenzied the scene, the technician within the actor should be calm and relaxed, editing and guiding the rise and fall of his emotions – the outer man excited and the inner controlled.
My own method (of being relaxed for a scene) is rather personal: before going on the stage, I am always extremely nervous and excited, and in this state I get so exhausted that by the time I make my entrance I am relaxed.
Offstage he (Sam Bernard) was a philosopher. When Ford Sterling went to him weeping about his wife having double-crossed him, said Sam, “So what? They double-crossed Napolean!”
To help a friend in need is easy, but to give him your time is not always opportune.
At Calais a large crowd greeted us. “Vive Charlot!” they cried as I came down the gangplank. We had had a rough crossing, and half of me had been left in the Channel; nevertheless, I waved and smiled weakly.
Vanderbilt sent me a series of picture postcards showing Hitler making a speech. The face was obscenely comic – a bad imitation of me, with its absurd mustache, unruly, stringy hair and disgusting, thin little mouth.
The salute (Hitler's) with the hand thrown back over the shoulder, the palm upward, made me want to put a tray of dirty dishes on it.
There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.
Favorite Extract/ Long Quote...
He (Douglas Fairbanks) built a ten-acre set for Robin Hood, a castle with enormous ramparts and draw bridges, far bigger than any castle that ever existed. With great pride Douglas showed me the drawbridge. “Magnificent,” I said. “What a wonderful opening for one of my comedies: the drawbridge comes down, and I put out the cat and take in the milk.”
It is a mistake to dally long in the public’s adulation; like a soufflé, if left standing, it bogs down.
How can one tolerate patriotism when six million Jews were murdered in its name? Some might say that was in Germany; nevertheless, those murderous cells lie dormant in every nation.
I went to Venice. It was autumn and the place was deserted. I like it better when the tourists are there, because they give warmth and vitality to what could easily be a graveyard without them.
As H. G. Wells said: “There comes a moment in the day when you have written your pages in the morning, attended to your correspondence in the afternoon, and have nothing further to do. Then comes that hour when you are bored; that’s the time for sex.”
Painters are a bore because most of them would have you believe they are philosophers more than painters.
He (Herbert Hoover) had spoken from a loose manuscript, about four inches high, lifting off page after page as he read. After an hour and a half, everyone watched those pages wistfully. After two hours the pages were evenly divided. Sometimes he skipped a dozen or more and laid them aside. Those, indeed, were gracious moments.
A young New York scion asked me in a benign way why I was so anti-Nazi. I said because they were anti-people.
Miss (Joan) Barry was a big handsome woman of twenty-two, well built, with upper regional domes immensely expansive and made alluring by an extremely low décolleté summer dress.
In this mood I had a realization of perfect happiness – something very near to sadness.
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