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  William Girdler: "Other people learned how to make movies in film schools. I learned by doing it. Nobody saw Billy Friedkin's or Steven Spielberg's mistakes, but all my mistakes were right up there on the screen for everybody to see." (1)
(Louisville Times, 1977)

"I don't know how I'll feel in 10 years, but right now I'm not trying to win an Academy Award or make message films. All I want to do is entertain people and make a profit for my investors. If I do win one and start getting good reviews, that's fine, too. But the approval that means the most right now is the approval the public gives me when they pay $30 million to see one of my pictures. Their approval is what counts."
(Louisville Times, 1977, 1978)

"The main thing is, I can make a living doing what I want. Most people can't."
(Louisville Times, 1977)

"(The Kentucky Investors) backed me when nobody else would. They made it possible for me to keep doing what I wanted to do. I was damned sure they'd get their money back someday." (2)
(Louisville Times, 1977)

"I'm in the business to make money. Why kid yourself? Nobody wants to lose money. We haven't and never will get into the art stuff. I'm not out to give messages to the world. We look at scripts for their commercialism. Art is not the object of my films, but we try to put as much art into them as possible."
(Courier Journal)

"(Mid-America) will never become MGM, but then I don't want it to. I think we'll be moderately successful. I never expect anything, so I'm never disappointed. I don't claim to be a businessman. All I want to do is make films."
(Courier Journal)

"I don't have a tremendous respect for critics. I agree with Hitchcock, who said the definition of a critic is one who criticizes. That's all they do. They know nothing about picture-making. Critics don't buy tickets, so I don't care."
(Courier Journal)

"When I was first called a (rip-off artist), I got really offended. But everybody who makes a film is a rip-off artist. Ripping off an audience is a much more serious thing than ripping off a story."
(Courier Journal)

"I know what my other pictures were. I know what was bad about them. I also know that they were pretty good when you consider how inexpensively they were made. Anybody should be able to make a good movie if they spend $20 million the way they did on 'The Exorcist.' Comparatively speaking, for what we spent on it, 'Abby' was probably a better picture than 'The Exorcist.'
(Louisville Times, 1977)

"I classify myself as an action director. I like period pictures like 'Chinatown.' I'd be comfortable with almost any type of film except comedy. Hitchcock is my idol. He's great; he's the only director whose pictures people will go see just off his name alone - because they know they'll be entertained."
(Lexington Herald-Leader, 9/28/75)

When I'm making a film, I can turn the lights on for day and off for night. I can tell people what to do and say, and in 90 to 100 minutes, I have complete control of a character. That's a strange trip. I guess everybody would like to have godliness, but directors and producers get wrapped up in that easier than most."
(Courier Journal)

"I'm constantly called an ego-manic, but you have to have an ego to survive. I don't pretend to be anything I'm not. I don't think I'll ever be a D.W. Griffith."
(Courier Journal)

"We made all our pictures fast and cheap. Now we can start making them better and a little more carefully. 'Manitou' will be a good picture. Not great, but good. I'm proud of 'The Manitou.'''
(Louisville Times, 1977)

"Manitou was something that had never been done before. So I did it. It's a cross between 'The Exorcist' and 'Star Wars.' It has a lot of shock in it as well. I'm a director who believes a lot in the instant shock theory, as well as build-up shock. Under the Hitchcock theory, it's better to build an audience up, then get them to relax, then hit them over the head with everything you've got. This keeps them constantly tense."
(STARLOG Issue 13, 1978)

"I love making movies so much that hard work doesn't bother me. I work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Some days, I'm so excited about what we're doing I can't wait to get out of bed the next morning and start again. If I were an attorney or running a factory, I'd probably die or spend all my time on a golf course. I would have been miserable and ended up an alcoholic by the time I was 30."
(Louisville Times, 1977, 1978)

Footnotes
1. William Girdler did not live to see 1941, Steven Spielberg's colossal onscreen mistake.
2. Girdler signed over the rights to Asylum of Satan and Three on a Meathook to his original investors. Both films were successful in the video market during the eighties.

Plot Summaries