Film criticAndrew Sarris, best known as a major champion of the auteur theory of filmmaking died yesterday.
His book The American Cinema was a landmark of film criticism. He not only articulated the auteur theory (and most people misunderstand what that means), but rated American directors and put them in categories, depending on how well they achieved a personal vision in their films. The book created reputations for a lot of directors who were previously considered hacks (e.g., Edward G. Ullmer) and pointed out weaknesses in some top names.* It’s my go-to guide to find the best work of the directors.
The book changed the way film critics looked at movies. Even when they specifically rejected auteurism, you can see his influence. He was one of the giants of film criticism.
*The book was published in 1969, so it only covers those working up to that point.