From 1986 A.F.I. Lifetime Achievement Awards ceremony.
This is a rarity: I.A.L. "Izzy" Diamond speaking to honor his longtime writing partner Billy Wilder. Some of their shared movie credits include Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Apartment (1960).
You can see Diamond's wit all the way through his speech, but even as in here, where he uses the Comedy Rule of Three, there is insight into the craft:
"Billy is fond of quoting a line from Voltaire. When's the last time you heard that name at a movie function? [laughter] The line goes, 'The best is the enemy of the good.' Time and again, we would finish a scene to my satisfaction, and Billy would say, 'All right, we've got that in the bank. Now let's see if we can't find a better way to do it.'
Another line I heard constantly over 25 years was, 'Don't give me logic. Give me emotion.'
And sooner or later in the course of any argument, I would hear, 'I think you're secretly in the pay of Joe Mankiewicz and are out to sabotage me.'"
The last one is a punch line. The first two are great pieces of writing advice about scenes:
- Always be thinking of a better way to write it.
- Always zero in on the emotion of the moment.
It's fun, too, to watch the clip and play spot the stars: Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, and for a brief moment Mr. Wilder himself.
I've featured this video below before, but it's a funny bit of business of the duo at 'work' (start at 1:40 in the clip):
An amazing creative partnership: Wilder and Diamond.