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.
Chicago is a sort of journalistic Yellowstone Park, offering haven to a last herd of fantastic bravos.
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.
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.
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.
The movies are an eruption of trash that has lamed the American mind and retarded Americans from becoming cultured people.
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.
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.
In moderating, not satisfying desires, lies peace.
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.
There's only one law you gotta follow to keep outta trouble.
Do it first, do it yourself, and keep on doin' it.
The rule in the art world is: you cater to the masses or you kowtow to the elite; you can't have both.
In Hollywood, a starlet is the name for any woman under thirty who is not actively employed in a brothel.
Love is a hole in the heart.
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.
I have written a raucous valentine to a poet's dream and agony.
People's sex habits are as well known in Hollywood as their political opinions, and much less criticized.
There's one thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die - their silence.
He was in love with life as an ant on a summer blade of grass.
A movie is never any better than the stupidest man connected with it.
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.
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.
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.
Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing.
Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hollywood held this double lure for me, tremendous sums of money for work that required no more effort than a game of pinochle.
There is nothing as dull as an intellectual ally after a certain age.
Criticism can never instruct or benefit you.
Its chief effect is that of a telegram with dubious news. Praise leaves no glow behind, for it is a writer's habit to remember nothing good of himself. I have usually forgotten those who have admired my work, and seldom anyone who disliked it. Obviously, this is because praise is never enough and censure always too much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Out of the seventy movies I've written some ten of them were not entirely waste product.
Of the things men give each other the greatest is loyalty.
Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety.
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.
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.
Innocent people can get into terrible jams, too. One false move and you're in over your head.
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.
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.
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.
I'm a Hollywood writer, so I put on my sports jacket and take off my brain.