Oh yes, children often commit murders. And quite clever ones, too. Some murderers, particularly the distinguished ones who are going to make great names for themselves, start amazingly early.... Like mathematicians and musicians. Poets develop later.
(John Lee Mahin (1902-1984), U.S. screenwriter, and novel by William March. Mervyn Le Roy. Reginald Tasker (Gage Clarke), The Bad Seed, answering Mrs. Penmark's question over cocktails (1956).)
The newspaper has debauched the American until he is a slavish, simpering, and angerless citizen; it has taught him to be a lump mass-man toward fraud, simony, murder, and lunacies more vile than those of Commodus or Caracalla.
(Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977), U.S. author, critic. "Peopleless Fiction," Alms for Oblivion (1964).)
For most of the guys killings got to be accepted. Murder was the only way everybody stayed in line. You got out of line, you got whacked. Everybody knew the rules.
(Nicholas Pileggi, U.S. screenwriter, and Martin Scorsese. Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), GoodFellas, voiceover as Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Conway (Robert DeNiro) finish killing Billy Batts (Frank Vincent) (1990).)
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshedthey produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!
(Orson Welles (1915-84), U.S. filmmaker, actor. The Third Man (1949).
contributed by Welles to Graham Greene's screenplay of the film in which Welles starred. Welles later claimed that the speech was based on a fragment of an old Hungarian play.)
What do you know what goes on inside a man's mind? Outside he may look like a gentleman, but inside ' e may 'ave the 'ankering for murder.
(Lester Cole (1904-1985), U.S. screenwriter, and Kurt Siodmak (1902-1988), German. Joe May. Chauffeur, The Invisible Man Returns, to the butler, who is sure Sir Geoffrey is innocent (1940).
Story by Kurt Siodmak (1902-1988) and Joe May (1880-1954).)
He said that private practice in medicine ought to be put down by law. When I asked him why, he said that private doctors were ignorant licensed murders.
(George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. (First produced 1906). Jennifer Dubedate, paraphrasing Dr. Blenkinsop, in The Doctor's Dilemma, act 5, The Bodley Head Bernard Shaw: Collected Plays with their Prefaces, vol. 3, ed. Dan H. Laurence (1971).)
My chance, when it came, was due, literally, to the fact that I was slender.... You cannot make an opera audience believe that a man will endanger his soul, and commit robbery and murder for a very stout lady's sake.
(Maria Jeritza (1887-1982), Austrian opera singer. Sunlight and Song, ch. 21 (1924).
Explaining why she was selected to sing the role of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love.)
The horror of Gandhi's murder lies not in the political motives behind it or in its consequences for Indian policy or for the future of non-violence; the horror lies simply in the fact that any man could look into the face of this extraordinary person and deliberately pull a trigger.
(Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. On the Contrary (1961). "Gandhi," pt. 1, first publ. (1949).)
A curious thing about atrocity stories is that they mirror, instead of the events they purport to describe, the extent of the hatred of the people that tell them.
Still, you can't listen unmoved to tales of misery and murder.
(John Dos Passos (1896-1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter. Journeys Between Wars, "Introduction to Civil War 1916-1937," Harcourt Brace and Company (1938).)