erik lundegaard

Art as Incomplete Communication

In another excerpt from Scott Eyman's “John Wayne: The Life and Legend,” here's Ron Howard on the main lesson he learned making “The Shootist,” Wayne's last film, with Wayne:

“The only thing Duke told me about acting was something he said John Ford had taught him—not to take an emotion to its furthest extreme. Always leave the audience a percentage of the emotion to complete for themselves.”

Cf. with Norman Mailer in 1964:

Art obviously depends upon incomplete communication. A work which is altogether explicit is not art, the audience cannot respond with their own creative act of the imagination, that small leap of the faculties which leaves one an increment more exceptional than when one began.

Feel free to add your own quote on the topic below. 

Ron Howard and John Wayne in "The Shootist"

Why the film wasn't called 'The Straight Shootist.'

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Posted at 05:11 PM on Fri. Jun 06, 2014 in category Quote of the Day  


Daniel wrote:

I lack a pithy quote to share, but I could not resist noting that Plato thought similarly. He wrote dialogues rather than doctrines because he believed that we have a radically different relationship with truths that we arrive at than with truths that we are given. In his case, it might be more: “always leave the audience with a percentage of the idea or truth to complete for themselves,” but the reasons for this incompleteness are, I suspect, deeply similar to what Howard and Mailer are articulating.

Comment posted on Mon. Jun 09, 2014 at 08:27 AM
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