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).)
My fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide, and, altogether beyond his hopes, meet with the good hap to be murdered.
(Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), U.S. author. "The Custom-House," introduction, The Scarlet Letter (1850).
Hawthorne was here relating the loss of his job as a customs surveyor in Salem, Massachusetts, as a result of political maneuvering; the blow was mitigated by his "previous weariness of office, and vague thoughts of resignation.")