Although he lived in the United States for more than 30 years he never quite mastered the english language.The combination of this slaughtering of the english language and his heated temperament delivered some funny lines:
Taken from the website"Poodle"
Poodles or puddles
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!
Bring on the empty horses
On the set of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', when,
wanting to see stray horses wandering through the battle, Curtiz directed the
wranglers to "Bring on the empty horses". When Niven and Flynn cracked up
laughing, he responded with:'You people, you think I know fuck nothing; I tell you: I know fuck all"
David Niven later made this "curtizism" immortal by naming his autobiography:"Bring on the empty horses."
Taken from the laughs on Hollywood
The incomparable director Michael Curtiz was preparing to direct a film at Warner Brothers. Richard Webb was asked to
assist Curtiz in screen tests. The director was to choose one of seven nine-year-old boys for a certain role. For the test scene,
each boy was to take his position in front of the camera, Webb was to stand next to the camera and (on cue) step in, play the
scene with the boy, then return to his position next to the camera.
When all was in readiness, the boy and Webb rehearsed. The sound man said "okay." Mike Curtiz clapped his hands. "Let's
go," he said. "Let's go. Everything is silver!" The assistant director called, "Roll 'em!" The camera operator snapped the camera
on and said, "Rolling." A moment later, Mike ordered, "Action!"
When the nine-year-old boy commenced his test, Webb glanced into the little glass window of the film magazine, just at eye
level, through which one sees the sprocket that turns as film is fed through the camera. The sprocket, Webb observed, was not
No one else seemed to notice; the operator was looking through the camera aperture; the head cameraman was watching the
scene; the sound people continued doing their busy things. When he heard his cue, Webb entered the scene, played it out with
the boy, then returned to his position. He looked again into the aperture. The camera definitely was not running.
The scene completed, Mike Curtiz called, "Cut! Print!" Then he beckoned the boy to him. "That was fine," he said to the lad.
"Just fine. You tell your mother and father you are a good actor. Who knows, you may get the part."
Going to the cameraman, Webb said, "The damn camera wasn't going." "That's right," the cameraman replied with a sly smile.
"Didn't you hear Mike call, 'Everything is Silver?'" "Yes, I heard it." "That means everything works, but nothing works,"
explained the cameraman. "If Mike doesn't happen to like someone the front office has sent down to test, he won't waste film."
"Everything is Silver" happened with three of the seven boys.
a statement by Julius Epstein for the Commitee on the Judiciary("I am here to discuss the impact of the copyright term legislation on a group of American authors and
creators who created motion pictures during the so-called "Golden Age.")
.....And there then was Mike Curtiz. Curtiz directed The Charge of the Light Brigade, The Adventures of
Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca and Mildred Pierce. He was Hungarian and uniquely
slaughtered the English language. On one occasion, he was directing a western and was about to shoot a
scene in which wild, riderless horses would gallop furiously away. "Bring in the empty horses," he
shouted to his assistant. He never lived that down. Years later, David Niven would title his novel about
Hollywood, "Bring in the Empty Horses." My brother Phil and I did four pictures, including Casablanca,
with Curtiz. In those days we received our weekly paychecks on Wednesday and when we had
arguments with Curtiz, and they were many, he would invariably call us "Wednesday Bums." I confess
that there are times now when I wish I was a "Wednesday Bum" again.
Other notorious "curtizisms" are(I've seen people use these as e-mail quotes):
"The scenario in't the exact truth, but we have the facts to prove it"
"It's dull from beginning to end. But it's loaded
"Don't talk to me while I'm interrupting."
"The next time I want some dumb son of a bitch to do something, I'll do it myself."
I doubt that these quotes that are attributed to Curtiz are all fact but there are a lot of "curtizisms" outthere so...