Re: RARA-AVIS: Pauline Kael and Pancake

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 02 Oct 2003

Alan, nice summary of the auteur theory, but picking up on miker's specific question about Kael and Citizen Kane: Andrew Sarris imported the theory to the US in an article in Film Culture which he later expanded into the very influential book American Cinema. Pauline Kael took great umbrage at the valorization of the director alone and wrote a book about Citizen Kane, which most credit entirely to Welles, to
"prove" that everything in the movie is in Herman J Mankiewicz's shooting script, making him the true auteur, or at least deserving of equal credit. Continuing that line of thought, Richard Corliss wrote the book Talking Pictures: Screenwriter in American Cinema, which attempted to do for screenwriters what Sarris had done for directors; and he got Sarris to write the preface.


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