Adapting the argument of French critics that the director is the author of a film, Sarris proposed that all American cinema, too, could be defined through the men with the megaphones. The Galileo of film critics, he constructed a Hollywood cosmology of 200 directors, who were listed with titles either honorific (Pantheon for Howard Hawks) or proscriptive (Less than Meets the Eye for John Huston, Strained Seriousness for Stanley Kubrick). If The American Cinema‘s readers came for the stats, they stayed for the insights, rendered in epigrams (“Billy Wilder is too cynical to believe even his own cynicism”) and in declarations of love. A romantic poet whose subject happened to be cinema, Sarris believed that “the world [could] be remade in the moonbeams of a movie projector.” As his masterwork proved, the film world could also be enlightened by one man’s passion and eloquence.
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The American Cinema
Autobiography / Memoir
Self-Help / Instructional