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Andrej Wajda ANDREJ WAJDA 1926- ; Polish film director
The paradox is that because the American cinema is so commercial, because the pressure of money is so strong, everything in a film has to be the very best. That means the most expensive, but it also means the most authentic, the most honest. No half measures, everything on the edge of excess. ... The amount the Americans are prepared to spend on making their films is in a way a sign of respect for the audience. • quoted in Richard Maltby: Dreams for Sale: Popular culture in the twentieth century, 1989
John Walter JOHN WALTER 1739-1812; Journalist, publisher; founder of The Times
1 A News-Paper ought to be the Register of the times, and faithful recorder of every species of intelligence; it ought not to be engrossed by any particular object; but, like a well covered table, it should contain something suited to every palate. • Editorial in the first issue of The Daily Register, as The Times was first known, 1 January 1785
2 It is no less the interest of the proprietors of News-Papers, than of the public, that every encouragement should be given to advertising correspondents; yet this private interest of the proprietors is frequently sacrificed to the rage for parliamentary debates, to the great injury of trade; for the extreme length of these debates so greatly retards the publication of the News-Papers which are noted for detailed accounts of them, that the advantages are frequently over-balanced by the inconveniences occasioned to people in business by the delay. These inconveniences are great and many; it generally happens that when either House of Parliament has been engaged in the discussion of an important question till after midnight, the papers in which the speeches of the Members are reported at large, cannot be published before noon; nay, they sometimes are not even sent to press so soon; consequently parties interested in sales are essentially injured, as the advertisements, inviting the public to attend them at ten or twelve o'clock, do not appear, on account of a late publication, till some hours after. • Editorial in the first issue of The Daily Register, as The Times was first known, 1 January 1785
3 The inconveniences attending the old and tedious mode of composing with letters taken up singly, first suggested the idea of devising some more expeditious method. The cementing of several letters together, so as that the type of a whole word might be taken up in as short a time as that of a single letter, was the result of much reflection on that subject. But the bare idea of cementing was merely the opening, not the accomplishment or perfection of the improvement. The fount consisted of types of words, and not of letters, was to be so arranged, as that a compositor should be able to find the former with as much facility as he can the latter. This was a work of inconceivable difficulty. I undertook it however, and was fortunate enough, after an infinite number of experiments, and great labour, to bring it to a happy conclusion. The whole English language is now methodically and systematically arranged at my fount: so that printing can now be performed with greater dispatch, and at less expense, than according to the mode hitherto in use. • Editorial in the first issue of The Daily Register, as The Times was first known, 1 January 1785
See also first issue
Harry Warner HARRY M WARNER 1881-1958; American film producer, one of the Warner Bros
Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? • attributed, 1927, the year Warner Bros introduced talkies
Jack Warner JACK L WARNER Jacob Leonard Warner
1892-1978; American film producer, head of the Warner Bros studio.
They [talkies] fail to take into account the international language of the silent pictures, and the unconscious share of each onlooker in creating the play, the action, the plot and the imagined dialogue for himself. • Interview reported by Association Press, Chicago, 3 September 1926
  STANLEY WATKINS 1888-1976; British-born electrical engineer, pioneer of film sound, chief engineer of Western Electric
Two things I remember about him [Thomas Edison]. He said that our sound was very good, and he was extremely deaf. [0025] • about the Western Electric demonstration of its sound-on-disc film system, 1924
Thomas Watson THOMAS J WATSON Sr 1874-1956; President, International Business Machines (IBM)
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
John Watt JOHN WATT Head of Variety, BBC
It is said that there are only six jokes in the world and I assure you we can only broadcast three of them. • 1939, source unknown
Alec Waugh ALEC WAUGH 1898-1981; English novelist
The average boy regards wireless as a means of entertainment simply. He does not care twopence whether he is listening to Cardiff, or Paris, or Berlin, as long as what he hears amuses him. He is no more interested in the technique of the business than are 99 out of every 100 film-goers in the process by which moving pictures are projected on the screen in front of them. • 'Wireless and the Modern Boy' in Radio Times, 1 May 1925
Es gab ein Zeit—und sie liegt noch gar nicht weit zurück—in der man aus dem deutschen Industriefilm ein Bild der deutschen Industrie gewinnen konnte. Nicht aus dem einzelnen, in Thema und Absicht begrenzen Film, wohl aber aus der Summe der Produktionen. Wer etwa ein halbes Hundert deutscher Industriefilm sah, der überblickte ein Mosaik, das sich von selbst zu einem klaren Bild zusammenfügte. Von diesem Gesamtbild her erhielt der einzelne Film als Mosaikteil seine Bedeutung; nicht seinen Gebrauchswert als Instrument des Auftraggebers, wohl aber seinen Wert als Beitrag zum Selbstverständnis einer Industrienation.
[There was a time—and it is not so long ago—when one could gain a picture of German industry from the German industrial film. Not from the individual film, defined by its theme and intention, but rather from the sum of productions. Whoever saw around a half a hundred German industrial films had an overview of a mosaic, which of itself combined into a clear picture. From this composite image the individual film took its meaning as part of the mosaic: not its utility as an instrument of its sponsor, rather its value as a contribution to comprehension of an industrial nation.]
Film im Auftrag, 1973
Harvey Weinstein HARVEY WEINSTEIN 1952- ; Co-chairman, Miramax
You’ll never see Cinema Paradiso dubbed on [US] network television. • Wertheim Schroder/Variety Big Picture Media Conference, April 1994
Orson Welles ORSON WELLES George Orson Welles
1915-1985; American actor and director
1 Time's story on the Hollywood Free World Association v. the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals indicates no editorial preference for either organization but reveals in comic style an anti-Hollywood bias. We film-makers realize our community is a gorgeous subject for satire. We grant, or anyway most of us do, that we are the world's funniest people. You can write more jokes about us than you can about plumbers, undertakers or Fuller brush salesmen.
    Hollywood is guilty of deliberate withdrawal from the living world. It seeks to entertain, and we suspect that the success of the withdrawal is what makes Hollywood funny. But let Time Magazine view with alarm or point with pride, but not laugh off Hollywood's growing recognition of the fact that every movie expresses, or at least reflects, political opinion.
    Moviegoers live all over the world, come from all classes, and add up to the biggest section of human beings ever addressed by any medium of communication. The politics of moviemakers therefore is just exactly what isn't funny about Hollywood.
• Letter to Time magazine, published 6 March 1944
Go to documentMotion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals
2 Everything you need to know about film-making can be learned in two or three days. • source unknown
3 This is part of a theory I once elaborated with Hitchcock in a happy moment. We decided then that in order to have a sweeping success in the highbrow cinemas of the Anglo-Saxon world we should make a film about nothing, in no language at all and with bad photography—but copiously subtitled. We agreed that people would scream their heads off with delight. • interview with Francis Koval, Sight and Sound, December 1950
4 If the home is to become a non-stop movie house, God help the home. • Introduction to a British Council television programme, September 1955; cit. The Listener, 29 September 1955
5 Hollywood is interested in power, not money. People who are interested in money do not go into the film business. • May 1985]
cf Go to Alan Parker Alan Parker 3
  JOSEPH WELTMAN ?-2004; British education programme producer
Of course television can be consistently inoffensive and anodyne. There are many times when manners do take second place. There may be times when it may be right to disturb or shock the viewer, to arouse his anger even. Editorial control, careful judgment should decide when this should be. • 1973
H G Wells H G WELLS Herbert George Wells
1866-1946; British writer
I am reported to be 'pessimistic' about broadcasting. ... The truth is that I have anticipated its complete disappearance—confident that the unfortunate people, who must now subdue themselves to 'listening-in', will soon find a better pastime for their leisure. The Way the World is Going, 1928
Wim Wenders WIM WENDERS 1945- ; German film director
The more impossible and unthinkable wars become, worldwide ones in particular, the more evident worldwide entertainment will appear as the ‘continuation of politics by other means’. Emotion Pictures, 1989
Charles Wheatstone CHARLES WHEATSTONE 1802-1875; British physicist and inventor
Telephones in which musical pipes or free tongues are acted upon by wind. Compressed air or gas is admitted to the pipe by means of a valve acted upon by the magnetised needle of an electromagnet. The alternation of long and short sounds may be grouped in a similar manner to the long and short lines in the alphabet of a Morse's telegraph. • Patent specification no 2462, 1860
Huw Wheldon Sir HUW WHELDON 1916-1986; managing director, BBC Television
To the extent that programmes are manufactured and not made, to the extent that programmes are even under the risk of being manufactured and not made, and to the extent that the stereotype is only a manufacture in disguise, the industry has failed. The entire industry exists only to make hand-make programmes. • Royal Television Society Convention, Cambridge, 1970
E B White E B WHITE Elwyn Brooks White
1899-1985; American writer
1 I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world. In this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall either discover an unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television—of that I am sure. New Yorker, 1938
2 Like radio, television hangs on the questionable theory that whatever happens anywhere should be sensed everywhere. If everyone is going to be able to see everything, in the long run all sights may lose whatever rarity value they once possessed, and it may well turn out that people, being able to see and hear practically everything, will be specially interested in almost nothing. Already you can detect the first faint signs of this apathy. Already manufacturers are trying to anticipate it, by providing the public with combination sets that offer a triple threat: radio, record playing, and television—all three to be turned on at once, we presume. Writings from the New Yorker 1927-1976
Phillip Whitehead PHILLIP WHITEHEAD 1937-2005; British television producer, MP 1970-83, MEP 1994-2005
Television is the only profession in which the word ‘cheat’ is an inseparable part of the vocabulary. • to ‘cheat’ means to adjust the position of props, etc, between scenes to improve the visual composition
Mary Whitehouse MARY WHITEHOUSE 1910-2001; British anti-smut campaigner
1 We object to the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt that the BBC projects into millions of homes through the television screen. • first manifesto of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, 1964
2 Crime, violence, illegitimacy and venereal disease are steadily increasing, yet the BBC employs people whose ideas and advice pander to the lowest in human nature and accompany this with a stream of suggestive and erotic plays which present promiscuity, infidelity and drinking as normal and inevitable. • National Viewers and Listeners Association manifesto, quoted in Cleaning Up TV, 1967
GOUGH WHITLAM Edward Gough Whitlam
1916- ; Australian prime minister 1972-1975
Quite small and ineffectual demonstrations can be made to look like the beginnings of a revolution if the cameraman is in the right place at the right time. • source unknown
Oscar Wilde OSCAR WILDE Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde
1854-1900; Irish writer and wit
1 A publisher is simply a useful middle-man. It is not for him to anticipate the verdict of criticism. • Letter to St James’s Gazette, 28 June 1890
2 The moral life of man forms part of the subject matter of the artist, but the morality of art consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium. The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
3 More than half of modern culture depends upon what one shouldn’t read. The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895
Ellen Wilkinson ELLEN WILKINSON 1891-1947; British Member of Parliament
I should like to help Britain to become a Third Programme country. • 1946. The Third Programme was the BBC's newly launched 'cultural' radio channel, the predecessor of Radio 3
F C Williams F C WILLIAMS Professor Sir Frederic Callan (Freddie) Williams FRS
1911-1977; Pioneer of the electronic computer
A program was inserted and the start switch pressed. Immediately the spots on the display tube entered a mad dance. In early trials it was a dance of death leading to no useful result, and what was worse, without yielding any clue as to what was wrong. But one day it stopped, and there, shining brightly in the expected place, was the expected answer. It was a moment to remember. Nothing was ever the same again. • On the day, Go to Chronomedia 1948 21 June 1948, when a program was first successfully run on the Baby computer at Manchester University
Raymond Williams RAYMOND WILLIAMS 1921-1988; British cultural thinker and sociologist
We are seeking to define and consider one central principle: that is the essential relation, the true interaction, between patterns learned and created in the mind and patterns communicated and made active in relationships, conventions and institutions. Culture is our name for this process and its results. [p89] ...
    While a large part of our economic activity is obviously devoted to supplying known needs, a considerable and increasing part of it goes to ensuring that we consume what industry finds it convenient to produce. As this tendency strengthens, it becomes increasingly obvious that society is not controlling its economic life, but is in part being controlled by it. The weakening of purposive social thinking is a direct consequence of this powerful experience, which seeks to reduce human activity to predictable patterns of demand. [p323]...
    The central point ... is that the concepts of the organised market and the consumer now determine our economic life, and with it much of the rest of our society, and that challenges to them have been so effectively confused that hardly any principled opposition remains. [p331-332]
The Long Revolution, Penguin, 1965
  W E WILLIAMS William Emrys Williams
British educationist and publisher
When the wireless play succumbs to television, we shall have another example of the irresponsibility with which scientific precocity can destroy an aesthetic definition of purpose. The Listener, August 1935
cf Go to Frank Muir Frank Muir
TED WILLIS Lord Edward Henry Willis
1918-1992; British writer
By a strange paradox, most of our film legislation has had an effect which is the precise opposite of its intentions. Far from giving British film producers greater independence and finance, it has weakened them. And far from preventing American dominance of the British film industry, American domination was never so complete and overwhelming as it is today. • House of Lords, debate on American finance in the British film industry, 2 February 1966
Harold Wilson HAROLD WILSON Sir/Lord James Harold Wilson
1916-1997; British Prime Minister 1964-70, 1974-76
1 ‘Export or die’ was a maxim which applied as much to the film industry as to the nation. No film industry in the world, and the British film industry least of all, could afford to organise itself on a basis of producing films solely for the home market. The industry must be so organised and financed that its first aim must be the production of an adequate quantity of first quality films, many of which would cost more than could be expected from home market revenues. • speech as President of Board of Trade, reported in Board of Trade Journal 25 June 1949
See also Towards a National Film Policy
2 I do not believe it is a function of the government to decide or influence the content of the programmes produced on television for the entertainment and instruction of the nation’s viewers. • 1965
3 A man chairing a working party on the stage coach industry just after the introduction of the railways. • on his role as chairman of the Interim Action Committee on the future of the British film industry, June 1977
See also Go to Richard Attenborough Richard Attenborough
4 The cultural invasion through the satellite [will lead to] Radio Luxembourg writ large. ... Broadcasting satellites will be a real force from 1983/84, building up during the 1980s to full saturation. Ministers should be preparing for this very important development. • House of Commons, 5 December 1979
Woodrow Wilson WOODROW WILSON 1856-1924; 28th President of the United States (1913-1921)
It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true. • Spoken at a White House screening of D W Griffith's Birth of a Nation, 18 February 1915. The latter half of the quotation is frequently omitted. Wilson's book History of the American People is quotes in intertitles in the film, which favours the Ku Klux Klan.
See alsoGo to D W Griffith D W Griffith
Langdon Winner LANGDON WINNER One-time continuing editor, Rolling Stone magazine; Professor of Political Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York
The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt Pepper's album was released. In every city in Europe and America the stereo systems and the radio played, 'What would you think if I sang out of tune. . . Woke up, got out of bed... looked much older, and the bag across her the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the . . .' and everyone listened. At the time I happened to be driving across country on Interstate 80. In each city where I stopped for gas or food—Laramie, Ogallala, Moline, South Bend—the melodies wafted in from some far-off transistor radio or portable hi-fi. It was the most amazing thing I've ever heard. For a brief while the irreparably fragmented consciousness of the West was unified, at least in the minds of the young. • 'The Strange Death of Rock and Roll' in Greil Marcus (ed): Rock and Roll Will Stand (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969)
Michael Winner MICHAEL WINNER 1936- ; British film director/producer
The media helped create a climate where video films are glorified as nasty. The tabloid press, which is full of reports of rape and murder, should take a lot of responsibility in this matter. Screen International, 15 April 1994
  R C WINTON ¶ Television engineer?
I doubt whether there is a public requirement for larger pictures in the home. The 17 inch set still constitutes 70 per cent of the market, although the 21 inch tube has been available for three or four years. The latter is less popular, chiefly because of the size of the cabinet and the high price, and I am very doubtful whether it will ever be more popular than the 17 inch tube. • 'Discussion Before the Radio and Telecommunication Section', 19th February 1958
See also Go to Kenneth Baily Kenneth Baily
Tom Wilfe TOM WOLFE 1931- ; American novelist
1 For that matter—the drop-out generations will even get rid of the cars, says McLuhan. They will work at home, connected to the corporation, the boss, not by roads or railroads, but by television. They will relay information by closed-circuit two-way TV and by computer systems. The great massive American rush-hour flow over all that asphalt surface, going to and from work every day, will be over. The hell with all that driving. Even shopping will be done via TV. All those grinding work-a-daddy cars will disappear. The only cars left will be playthings, sports cars. They'll be just like horses are today, a sport. Somebody over at General Motors is saying—What if he is right? • article in New Yorker, 1965
2 The great thing about selling a book to the movies is that nobody blames the author. • 1990, after the disastrous production of his Bonfire of the Vanities
  C B B WOOD Head of BBC Engineering Information
Addressing a rural district council in North Yorkshire, one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles, I said I thought it would be a pity to put a station on the skyline but up spoke one old councillor. ‘Nay, lad,’ he called. ‘Bugger t’moor, let’s have the telly.’ • 1974
Television will have little effect on films, for between television and films there is a vast No Man’s Land. At first sight this may seem odd, because both are viewed on a screen in black and white, and accompanied by sound. There, however, the similarity ends. The ordinary commercial film is not suitable for transmission by television. The reason? Because in television the most important part of any film is lacking: the audience... It is far, far easier to make a crowd of people laugh or cry than to produce the same effect on a solitary person. The Radio Times, 1939
Alexander Woollcott ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT 1887-1943; American critic
This only goes to show, my beamish boy, that the intelligent people were all listening to a dummy and all the dummies were listening to you. • Telegram to Orson Welles following the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast on 30 October 1938
See Go to Chronomedia 30 October 1938 30 October 1938.
  FRANCIS WORSLEY British journalist
The end of ITMA comes as something like a national calamity. ... With his [Tommy Handley's] passing ... our little world, shared weekly by millions of ordinary people, has collapsed as completely as the Third Reich which indirectly brought it into being. • 'A World of Your Own' in the New Statesman, 15 January 1949
See also Go to William HaleySir William Haley 4
Basil Wright BASIL WRIGHT 1907-1987; British documentary film producer
It was no chance that the cinema was chosen as the developing ground for the documentary method. The moving picture—vivid, convincing, lending itself especially to imaginative expression—forms a natural dynamo supplying power and current to other media. Today, for instance, we may note the dynamic impact of television, which overnight will bring to radio the imaginative factors of the film medium. What documentary has done for movies provides television with a springboard of no mean value. • ‘Documentary Today’, in Penguin Film Review 2, January 1947
  KENNETH WRIGHT BBC Head of Music Programmes
Spacious without being pompous; rich in texture, but not glamorous; memorable without being trite, virile without being choppy or a march; melodious but not sacchariny. • On the selection of a theme (Pelléas et Mélisande by Jean Sibelius) for Panorama, 1953
Grace Wyndham Goldie GRACE WYNDHAM GOLDIE née Grace Murrell Nisbet
1900-1986; first Head of BBC Television News and Current Affairs
Television is a bomb about to burst. • 1948, shortly after her appointment
See also Bertrand Russell
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Page updated 10 March 2010
Compilation and notes © David Fisher