“I know of no elite and no tribunal which can take upon itself to judge what a film will unleash in its immeasurable course. The only jurisdiction to which a film should be subject concerns its style and its expressive power. The rest is a mystery and will always remain so.”
– Jean Cocteau
My latest post for TCM’s Movie Morlocks is a compilation of quotes from Jean Cocteau about classic films and their stars. From my post:
“When Jean Cocteau’s name surfaces most of us think of the visionary artist, poet and director who made films such as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1946), BLOOD OF A POET (1930), LES PARENTS TERRIBLES (1948) and ORPHEUS (1949). Cocteau is all these things and more but he also happens to be one of my favorite film critics. I hesitate calling Cocteau a critic because it’s a term I’m not particularly fond of. Cocteau was first and foremost a film fan. A genuine cinephile and a champion of the cinematic arts. His affection for the medium and the people who made the movies he loved is self-evident in the many journals and letters he left behind. He wasn’t ashamed of expressing his outright devotion to the cinema. His passions and prejudices shine like beacons on the printed page pointing readers towards great films and great performances. Cocteau is one of a handful of writers that inspired me to start writing about film and I often return to his work for inspiration.
Today I thought I’d let Jean Cocteau takeover and share some of his most insightful and interesting comments about classic films and their stars. These quotes were compiled from various sources including Past Tense: The Cocteau Diaries Volume One, Opium: The Diary of a Cure and the essential Art of Cinema.”
Make your way over to the Morlocks to read Cocteau’s thoughts on films like Orson Welles’ MACBETH and Robert Wiene’s THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI as well as many actors including James Dean and Bridgette Bardot.