One of the most prolific directors in the history of the cinema, Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz.
Notorious for his broken english, he supposedly invented the term “I know fuck all.” The story goes that while filming ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade,’ he wanted some rider-less horses galloping in the background during the final charge. His instructions were to “bring on the empty horses.” David Niven and Errol Flynn, upon hearing that, started cracking up. Curtiz’ response was “You think you know fuck everything and I know fuck nothing. Well let me tell you, I know fuck all!” Niven later made this “curtizism” immortal by naming his autobiography “Bring on the Empty Horses.”
Michael Curtiz, director, arranging a scene during ‘Casablanca’: Wery nice, but I vant a poodle.
Prop master: But you never asked for one. We don’t have one!
Curtiz: Vell, get one.
Prop master: What color?
Curtiz: Dark, you idiot, we’re not shooting in color!
[A few minutes later, Curtiz is called out to see a standard poodle.]
Curtiz: Vat do I vant with this goddam dog!
Prop master: You said you wanted a poodle, Mr. Curtiz.
Curtiz: I vanted a poodle in the street! A poodle. A poodle of water! The next time I want some dumb son of a bitch to do something, I’ll do it myself.
The essentials: 5 of Michael Curtiz’s greatest films.