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  RICHARD S LAMBERT 1894-?; author, founding editor The Listener 1929-1939
Today, the BBC holds—in the field of art, intellect and politics—the power once exercised by the Court. It has become the main indirect organ of Government, all the more potent because its influence is indirect. ... No doubt the tendency is inevitable—and we are doomed, in this twentieth century, to see individualism in art, music, drama, literature and journalism disappear and in its place a kind of corporative system, within which the formerly independent thinker, writer, performer will have to seek absorption. Ariel and all his Quality—An impression of the BBC from within, 1940
Norman Lamont NORMAN LAMONT Norman Stewart Hughson Lamont
1942- ; British politician
The archaic legislative framework of the film industry ... would be better off without the tiresome bureaucratic restraints of registering every film and licensing every distributor and exhibitor. • Moving the second reading of the Films Bill as Minister of State for Industry, House of Commons, November 1984
Edwin Land Dr EDWIN H LAND 1922-1985; American inventor of Polaroid instant photography
If you can state a problem—any problem—and it is important enough, then the problem can be solved. • source unknown
Henri Langlois HENRI LANGLOIS 1914-1977; co-founder and director, Cinémathèque Française 1936-1977, co-founder International Federation of Film Archives 1938
Having no tradition, no fixed prejudices, having learned their technique beforehand by watching other people's films, without being troubled or cramped by established routine, the Italian directors of the years preceding the [First World] war took to the camera like ducks to water. • source unknown
Philip Larkin PHILIP LARKIN CH CBE 1909-1991; English poet and librarian
Where's the porn? I thought they said TV was full of sex. All it seems to be is quiz shows and sport. • On acquiring his first television set, quoted by Sir Tom Courtenay; reported in The Daily Telegraph Peterborough column, 16 June 2001
Frank Launder FRANK LAUNDER 1906-1997; British film producer/director
The outpourings of nausea so essential to the commercial well-being of the cinema are frequently only on nodding acquaintance with truth. It must be so, for it would hardly be good business for film companies to allow it to get about that Miss X., who may warm the hearts of millions, is really a most unpleasant young woman, or that Mr Y., dream-lover of every shop-girl, is in fact slightly effeminate. • ‘Faults in Film Actors’, in Penguin Film Review 2, January 1947
FRANK LAUNDER and VAL VALENTINE Val Valentine: 1895-1971; British screenwriter
Surely you have heard of the British film crisis? What with television to the left of us, Hollywood to the right of us and the government behind us, our industry—laughable term!—is for ever on the brink. • Speech delivered by Alistair Sim as a failing film producer in Lady Godiva Rides Again, 1951
  D G C LAWRENCE Under Secretary, Broadcasting Department, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
If [video]cassettes were commonly available and were frequently used by enough people, plainly they would be looking not at the broadcast programmes of the BBC and the ITA [Independent Television Authority], but at recorded material. This would obviously have an important effect both for the BBC and for the ITA, and perhaps rather more for the ITA, since the ITA depend in the end upon the size of audiences for the size of their income. As to ... whether this is a matter that falls within the scope of broadcasting policy, the Minister’s powers are directed to the regulation of the uses of wireless telegraphy and the uses of wire transmission systems. The manufacture and distribution of cassettes is analogous to the manufacture and distribution of books. This is something which anyone could undertake and anyone could buy, just as one might buy films and choose to look at them on the screen. Many people do so. [sic!] The answer then is two-fold: first it does not lie within the Minister’s powers to regulate these; secondly, it seems perhaps questionable whether a thing which is analogous in many ways to publishing material should lie within the Minister’s powers. • Evidence to the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries (Sub-Committee B), 8 December 1971; cf, Video Recordings Act 1984: ‘An Act to make provision for regulating the distribution of video recordings...’
Stephen Leacock STEPHEN LEACOCK Stephen Butler Leacock
1869-1944; Canadian academic and humorist
Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. The Garden of Folly, 1924
David Lean DAVID LEAN 1908-1991; British film director
My first face-to-face encounter with a censor was in England some ten years ago. ... Taking advantage of this interview, I ... asked why it was forbidden to show platonic scenes between a screen husband and wife in a double bed together. He smiled again. ... 'You can pretend they are husband and wife, but the audience knows very well they are not really married. On further reflection you will realise you are asking me why you are forbidden to show an unmarried actor and actress in bed together.’ ... That is a true story and the gentleman concerned in no longer with the British Board of Film Censors because he died. • Robert Hughes (ed): Film: Book I, New York, 1959
Fran Lebowitz FRAN LEBOWITZ 1950- ; US journalist
Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up and dance around with royal-blue chickens. Metropolitan Life, 1978
David Lee DAVID LEE British jingles composer
A good [advertising] jingle is like an orgasm without the lovemaking. • 1975, quoted in Campaign
Jim Lehrer JIM LEHRER 1934- ; US television current affairs presenter
If somebody wants to be entertained, they ought to go to the circus. They ought to go to the movies. Or they ought to go to the ballgame. I didn't sign on to entertain people for 90 minutes three times. • On his role as moderator of the US presidential election debates, October 2000; quoted in The New York Times, 18 October 2000
Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller JERRY LEIBER and MIKE STOLLER both 1933- ; American songwriters
1 I flopped down in my easy chair and I turned on channel two. ...
Commercial came on, so I got up to get myself a snack.
• 'Along Came Jones', a hit for the Coasters, 1959
2 I got so bugged I turned it off and I turned it on to another show.
But there was the same old shoot 'em up, the same old rodeo.
• 'Along Came Jones', a hit for the Coasters, 1959
C A Lejeune C A LEJEUNE Caroline Alice Lejeune
1897-1973; British film critic
The millions of picture-goers who are willing to pay for personality have discovered a new way of getting value for money.. • On the talkies, The Observer, December 1928
Lenin VLADIMIR ILLICH LENIN 1870-1924; Russian revolutionary leader
The cinema is for us the most important instrument of all the arts. • 27 August 1919; cit V I Pudovkin: Film Technique and Film Acting 1949; trans Ivor Montagu
See also Go to Benito MussoliniBenito Mussolini
Jay Leno JAY LENO 1950- ; US comedian and television chat show host
Bill Gates is not necessarily so different from the rest of us. I went into his den and his VCR is still flashing 12:00. • 1995; introducing the Microsoft founder at the launch of Windows 95
See also William H Gates III and George Bush.
W R LETHABY 1857-1931; English architect and designer of the Arts & Crafts movement
1 Art is not a special sauce applied to ordinary cooking; it is the cooking itself if it is good. Form in Civilisation, 1922
2 Art is thoughtful workmanship. Form in Civilisation, 1922
William Lever, Viscount Leverhulme Lord LEVERHULME William Hesketh Lever, Viscount Leverhulme
1851-1925; British soap manufacturer (Lever Bros) and philanthropist
I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half. • source unknown
See also Charles Saatchi
Bernard Levin BERNARD LEVIN 1928- ; British print and television journalist and humorous columnist
I feel neither depraved nor uplifted by what I have seen. ... Certainly the advertising has been entirely innocuous. I have already forgotten the name of the toothpaste. Manchester Guardian, 23 September 1955, following the opening night of Independent Television
Alain Levy ALAIN LEVY 1946- ; Chairman of Polygram; Chairman/CEO, EMI Recorded Music
As a producer you don’t get anywhere unless you also control distribution and the costs of marketing. • European Audiovisual Conference, July 1994
C A LEWIS 1898-1997; first BBC Organiser of Programmes
What then is the general policy on which our programme organisation is run? Broadly speaking, I think it is to keep on the upper side of public taste, and to cater for the majority, 75 per cent of the time, the remainder being definitely set apart for certain important minorities. What is meant by the ‘upper side’ of public taste? Well, we strive, as far as possible, to avoid certain things, desirable or undesirable, according to the point of view, which are as readily and more fully obtained elsewhere. Such things, for instance, as sensational murder details, or unsavoury divorce cases. ... Children may always be listening, and there seems no point in blurting out things of this kind to the young unnecessarily. Apart from this, what justification is there for dragging into prominence the seamy side of private life? Is any one the better for it? Broadcasting from Within, 1924
Arthur Loew ARTHUR M LOEW 1896-1980; son of Marcus Loew; MGM vice-president 1927-1955, president 1955-1956
Dialog shortcomings will be totally discounted when a previously accepted American star is shown making a dialectic effort to parley-vous in the lingo of that particular country. • quoted in Variety, 23 April 1930
Marcus Loew MARCUS LOEW 1870-1927; founder, Loews Theatres (1904) and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Not even on the horizon can I see even the nucleus of a British film producing industry. • speech at a dinner, Cinematograph Exhibitors Association annual conference, Regent Cinema restaurant, Brighton, 15 June 1926
John D Loudermilk JOHN D LOUDERMILK 1934- ; American songwriter
Just sittin' in the balcony,
Just watching the movie …
On the very last row.
I'll hold your hand and I'll kiss you too;
The feature's over but we're not through.
We may stop loving to watch Bugs Bunny
But he can't take the place of my honey.
Sittin' in the Balcony, a hit for Eddie Cochran, 1957
Ernst Lubitsch ERNST LUBITSCH 1892-1947; Film director
Perhaps the greatest point about American camerawork is that it is truly artistic. It is beautiful, it is distinctive, but it doesn't call attention to itself. This is greatness in art, that it is great yet not obviously great. For when art begins to be apparent, to show itself as a definite studied effort to be artistic, it ceases to be art, for true art needs no label. To me that explains the greatness of American cinematography. • interview with William Stull ASC in American Cinematographer, November 1929
  E V LUCAS Edward Verrall Lucas
1868–1938; British humorist and essayist
1 One of the cinema's most precious gifts is its ability to leap backwards and forwards into time and instantaneously construct either a significant early environment or illustrate a dark foreboding or happy hope. It can show with the utmost vividness what is in every character's mind: it can almost draw pictures of abstract ideas! And not the least interesting of its peculiar advantages is that it can appeal to all the world at the same moment with almost equal force—for I take it that Tokyo is hardly less familiar with Mary Pickford than is Tooting or Turin. Judicious films might then be very federating things, and I advise the League of Nations to think of this. The Times, 1 August 1923
2 When it comes to the education of the young the cinema's duties are simple. There might very well be children's cinemas, where mixed programmes of entertainment and instruction would be arranged, and nothing would be shown that was unsuitable. It is deplorable that children should be repsent at cinema performances where emphasis is laid upon lawlessness and what is sordid or hectic. There are too many cases where the parents are thoughtless or cynical and here the State ought to step in and assume control. The Times, 1 August 1923
3 The films will probably never improve so long as they make the effort to appeal to every one indiscriminately. They will have to specialise more. The Times, 1 August 1923
4 Broadcasting is the death of conversation and repose. • 1924
5 Even more I am impressed, coming into London by any line that intersects mean streets, by the number of ‘the poor’ who can afford wireless sets. It goes to show what a lot of rubbish is talked about these very fortunate people. • September 1924
  JULIEN LUCHAIRE 1876-1950?; Inspector General of Public Education, France; Director, International Institute, League of Nations' Committee on Intellectual Co-operation
The mere possibility that the cinema might become a great new universal art should earn it the attention of all who have the intellectual future of humanity at heart. [0038] Relations of the Cinematograph to Intellectual Life. Memorandum submitted to the International Committee for Intellectual Co-operation, 28 July 1924
Lucretius LUCRETIUS Titus Lucretius Carus
c99-55 BC; Roman poet and philosopher
When the first image passes off, and a second is afterwards produced in another position, the former then seems to have changed its gesture. De rerum natura.
Erich Ludendorff ERICH LUDENDORFF Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff
1865-1937; German soldier, General Quartermaster (Second Chief of the General Staff) 1916-1918
The war has demonstrated the paramount power of images and of film and means of enlightenment and influence. It is absolutely imperative that film be employed with the greatest force in all places where German influence is still possible. • c1916, cited in Chapman: Cinemas of the World [0069]
Sidney Lumet SIDNEY LUMET 1924- ; American film director, producer and occasional actor
The essence of any dramatic piece is people, and it is symptomatic that Hollywood finds a way of photographing people directly opposite to the way people are built. CinemaScope makes no sense until people are fatter than they are taller. • Cit. John Belton: ‘Technology and invention’ in Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (ed): The Oxford History of World Cinema, 1996
Antoine Lumiere ANTOINE LUMIERE 1840-1911; French businessman (A Lumière et ses Fils), father of the co-inventors of the Cinématographe
My machine is a big secret and I do not wish to sell it. I want to exploit it myself. • 1895/96
Auguste Lumiere AUGUSTE LUMIERE 1862-1954; co-inventor of the Cinématographe
Young man, you should thank me. This invention will ruin you. It can be exploited for a while as a scientific curiosity; beyond that it had no commercial future. • refusing Georges Méliès permission to use the Cinématographe, 1896
This stance may be disingenuous. The Lumières refused to sell copies of their equipment (see Antoine Lumière, above)
Louis Lumiere LOUIS LUMIERE 1864-1948; co-inventor of the Cinématographe, pioneer film-maker
Our first patent, taken out on 13 February 1895, did not adopt any particular name. In that patent we referred to ‘an apparatus for obtaining and showing chronophotographic prints’. It was not until several weeks afterwards that we selected the name of Cinématographe. However, my father, Antoine Lumière, thought the word Cinématographe was impossible. He was persuaded to adopt for our apparatus the name Domitor by his friend Lechère, the representative of the Moët et Chandon champagnes. ... It was probably derived from the verb ‘to dominate’—dominator—domitor. This name was never accepted by my brother or by myself, and we have never used it. • interview by Georges Sadoul on French television, filmed January 1948, transmitted March 1948; transcription published in Sight and Sound, Summer 1948 shortly after his death.
GO to Chronomedia 1894 This story is seriously undermined by the fact that Antoine Lumière acquired Léon Bouly's patent for a device called the cinématographe.
Rick Lyman RICK LYMAN Richard Lyman
1954- ; American journalist, joint Pulitzer Prize winner 1981, New York Times film critic
The consensus is that, on average, Hollywood studio movies have gotten demonstrably worse in recent years—safer, more predictable, more like to be sequels, franchise, or some other form of risk-averse pabulum. • 'Moviegoers are flocking to forget their troubles', New York Times, 21 June 2002
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Page updated 5 October 2012
Compilation and notes © David Fisher