Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.

— Ben Hecht

The most courageous Ben Hecht quotes that will inspire your inner self

The honors Hollywood has for the writer are as dubious as tissue-paper cuff links.

53

Chicago is a sort of journalistic Yellowstone Park, offering haven to a last herd of fantastic bravos.

29

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.

19

Bad writing is not easier than good writing.

It's just as hard to make a toilet seat as it is a castle window. Only the view is different.

17

The movies are an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming cultured people.

14

When you overpay small people you frighten them.

They know that their merits or activities entitle them to no such sums as they are receiving. As a result their boss soars out of economic into magic significance.

14

Much more frequent in Hollywood than the emergence of Cinderella is her sudden vanishing. At our party, even in those glowing days, the clock was always striking twelve for someone at the height of greatness; and there was never a prince to fetch her back to the happy scene.

14

Television excites me because it seems to be the last stamping ground of poetry, the last place where I hear women's hair rhapsodically described, women's faces acclaimed in odelike language.

13

In moderating, not satisfying desires, lies peace.

12

I know that a man who shows me his wealth is like the beggar who shows me his poverty; they are both looking for alms from me, the rich man for the alms of my envy, the poor man for the alms of my guilt.

11

There's only one law you gotta follow to keep outta trouble.

Do it first, do it yourself, and keep on doin' it.

10

The rule in the art world is: you cater to the masses or you kowtow to the elite; you can't have both.

8

About Ben Hecht

Quotes 56 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

Love is a hole in the heart.

7

Immorality, perversion, infidelity, cannibalism, etc.

, are unassailable by church and civic league if you dress them up in the togas and talliths of the Good Book.

7

In Hollywood, a starlet is the name for any woman under thirty who is not actively employed in a brothel.

7

I have written a raucous valentine to a poet's dream and agony.

6

There's one thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die - their silence.

5

People's sex habits are as well known in Hollywood as their political opinions, and much less criticized.

5

There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South.

Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.

4

A movie is never any better than the stupidest man connected with it.

4

He was in love with life as an ant on a summer blade of grass.

4

I have known a handful of producers who actually were equal or superior to the writers with whom they worked. These producers were a new kind of nonwriting writer hatched by the movies - as Australia produced wingless birds. They wrote without pencils or even words. Using a sort of mime-like talent, they could make up things like writers.

4

In the court of the movie Owner, none criticized, none doubted.

And none dared speak of art. In the Owner's mind art was a synonym for bankruptcy. The movie Owners are the only troupe in the history of entertainment that has never been seduced by the adventure of the entertainment world.

3

Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing.

3

Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.

3

H.L.Mencken's war aims, according to the handful of observers who deigned to notice his conflict, were the overthrow of American Democracy, the Christian religion, and the YMCA. He was also credited with trying to wipe out poets and luncheon orators.

3

Movies are one of the bad habits that have corrupted our century.

They have slipped into the American mind more misinformation in one evening than the Dark Ages could muster in a decade.

2

Socially, a journalist ranks somewhere between the madam of a whorehouse and a bartender. but spiritually he ranks with Galileo, for he knows the world is round.

2

Listen, little boy. In this business, there's only one law you gotta follow to keep outta trouble. Do it first, do it yourself, and keep on doin' it.

1

Writing a good movie brings a writer about as much fame as steering a bicycle.

It gets him, however, more jobs. If his movie is bad it will attract only critical tut-tut for him. The producer, director and stars are the geniuses who get the hosannas when it's a hit. Theirs are also the heads that are mounted on spears when it's a flop.

1

Three years ago, the white hope of the theatre.

Today, a mug. That's New York for you. Puts you on a Christmas tree, and then - the alley.

1

I see a lot of fog and a few lights. I like it when life's hidden. It gives you a chance to imagine nice things, nicer than they are.

1

They're a symbol of the whole town, pretending to fight, love, weep and laugh all the time - and they're phonies, all of them. And I head the list...their phony hearts were dripping with the milk of human kindness.

1

There is nothing as dull as an intellectual ally after a certain age.

0

Movies are one of the bad habits that corrupted our century.

Of their many sins, I offer as the worst their effect on the intellectual side of the nation. It is chiefly from that viewpoint I write of them -- as an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming a cultured people.

0

I discovered early in my movie work that a movie is never any better than the stupidest man connected with it. There are times when this distinction may be given to the writer or director. Most often it belongs to the producer.

0

The factors that laid low so whooping and puissant an empire as the old Hollywood are many. I can think of a score, including the barbarian hordes of Television. But there is one that stands out for me in the post-mortem.... The factor had to do with the basis of movie-making: 'Who shall be in charge of telling the story.'

0

Out of the thousand writers huffing and puffing through movieland there are scarcely fifty men and women of wit or talent. The rest of the fraternity is deadwood. Yet, in a curious way, there is not much difference between the product of a good writer and a bad one. They both have to toe the same mark.

0

A man nearly always loves for other reasons than he thinks.

A lover is apt to be as full of secrets from himself as is the object of his love from him.

0

Love's the only thing I've thought of or read about since I was knee-high.

That's what I always dreamed of, of meeting somebody and falling in love. And when that remarkable thing happened, I was going to recite poetry to her for hours about how her heart's an angel's wing and her hair the strings of a heavenly harp. Instead I got drunk and hollered at her and called her a harpy.

0

Of the things men give each other the greatest is loyalty.

0

A wise man will always allow a fool to rob him of ideas without yelling “Thief.” If he is wise he has not been impoverished. Nor has the fool been enriched. The thief flatters us by stealing. We flatter him by complaining.

0

Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety.

0

I haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls and bookshops. I ran everywhere in the city like a fly buzzing in the works of a clock, tasted more than any fit belly could hold, learned not to sleep, and buried myself in a tick-tock of whirling hours that still echo in me.

0

Innocent people can get into terrible jams, too. One false move and you're in over your head.

0

I'm a Hollywood writer, so I put on my sports jacket and take off my brain.

0

Like the actor, authority has faith in its false whiskers.

But its deepest faith is in the human illusion. People will hang on to illusion as eagerly as life itself.

0

Out of the seventy movies I've written some ten of them were not entirely waste product.

0

When you overpay small people you frighten them.

They know that their merits or activities entitle them to no such sums as they are receiving. As a result their boss soars out of economic into magic significance. He becomes a source of blessings rather than wages. Criticism is sacrilege, doubt is heresy.

0