The greatest films are those which show how society shapes man. The greatest plays are those which show how man shapes society.
The buttocks are the most aesthetically pleasing part of the body because they are nonfunctional. Although they conceal an essential orifice, these pointless globes are as near as the human form can ever come to abstract art.
A neurosis is a secret that you don't know you are keeping.
Art is a private thing, the artist makes it for himself; a comprehensible work is the product of a journalist. We need works that are strong, straight, precise, and forever beyond understanding.
No theater could sanely flourish until there was an umbilical connection between what was happening on the stage and what was happening in the world.
I just stopped playing bitches on wheels and peoples' mothers. I have only a few more years to kick up my heels!
Coming to New York from the muted mistiness of London, as I regularly do, is like travelling from a monochrome antique shop to a technicolor bazaar.
I doubt if there are very many rational people in this world to whom the word fuck is particularly diabolical or revolting or totally forbidden.
When a society has doubts about its future, it tends to produce spokesmen whose main appeal is to the emotions, who argue from intuitions, and whose claim to be truth-bearers rests solely on intense personal feeling.
Every speech, for Olivier, is like a mass of marble at which the sculptor chips away until its essential form and meaning are revealed. No matter how ignoble the character he plays, the result is always noble as a work of art.
A good drama critic is one who perceives what is happening in the theatre of his time. A great drama critic also perceives what is not happening.
In most writers, style is a welcome, an invitation, a letting down of the drawbridge between the artist and the world. Shaw had no time for such ruses. Unlike most of his countrymen, he abominated charm, which he regarded as evidence of chronic temperamental weakness.
A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
The man who reacts to the universe with a cry of impotent anguish is acceptable as an artist only if he can persuade us that he has sanely considered the other possible reactions and found them inadequate.
All writing is an antisocial act, since the writer is a man who can speak freely only when alone; to be himself he must lock himself up, to communicate he must cut himself off from all communication; and in this there is something always a little mad.