“Acting is not the memorizing of a text while wearing a disguise, nor the facility to simulate anything at a moments notice, but the reconstruction of motives that are the cause of action and words.  This is not easy, easy though it may be for the actor to forget his own suffering by shouldering that of another.  At his best he is not only an interpreter, not only a carrier of ideas originating in others, but can invest his impersonation with a depth of understanding beyond the playwright’s knowledge.  He can be a superb mechanic and take the written word plus the director’s instructions to combine the two with the components of his own person, and thus give fluency and cohesion to thoughts that would not float over the footlights without his skill.  He can impress us with the meaning of the simplest word though we may have heard it a thousand times before without recognizing its significance.  It is not when he spouts Shakespeare without slurring a syllable that he wins his spurs, not when he has absorbed Kabuki or Stanislavsky in order to read a television commercial, but when he has learned to muffle his flamboyance, and so to control what he does that he can combine both actor and commentator.  He then can make us feel compassion, not for himself but for the one whose history we witness.”

-Josef Von Sternberg