Kael, Pauline

Kael, Pauline

(kāl), 1919–2001, American film critic, b. Petaluma, Calif. Possessed of extremely strong opinions about movies and a feisty, pop-inflected style, Kael was noted for her provocative, passionate, and tough-minded film criticism. She first attracted attention for her attack on the auteurauteur
, in film criticism, a director who so dominates the film-making process that it is appropriate to call the director the auteur, or author, of the motion picture.
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 theory, and later went on to champion the work of such filmmakers as Francis CoppolaCoppola, Francis Ford
, 1939–, American film director, b. Detroit. Coppola began his career directing low-budget films and working on screenplays for other directors.
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, Robert AltmanAltman, Robert,
1925–2006, American film director, b. Kansas City, Mo. One of the most original talents in late-20th-century American filmmaking, he created complex, often loosely plotted movies marked by brilliant and often huge ensemble casting, sharply delineated
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, Martin ScorseseScorsese, Martin
, 1942–, American film director; b. Queens, N.Y. A major figure in contemporary cinema, he grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy, attended film school at New York Univ.
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, and Steven SpielbergSpielberg, Steven,
1946–, American film director, b. Cincinnati, Ohio. Spielberg began his career as a television director, admired for his understanding portrayal of human character.
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. After having written for the Partisan Review, New Republic, McCall's, and other journals in the 1950s and 60s, she became (1968–91) movie critic for the New Yorker. Her reviews did much to shape the views of the era's sophisticated moviegoers and the tone of American film criticism. Kael's books, mostly collections of reviews and essays, include I Lost It at the Movies (1965), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (1968), The Citizen Kane Book (1971), 5001 Nights at the Movies (1982), and For Keeps: 30 Years at the Movies (1994).

Bibliography

See S. Schwartz, ed., The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael (2011); W. Brantley, ed., Conversations with Pauline Kael (1996) and F. Davis, Afterglow: A Last Conversation with Pauline Kael (2002); biography by B. Kellow (2011); W. J. Slattery, The Kael Index: A Guide to a Movie Critic's Work, 1954–1991 (1993).

Kael, Pauline

(1919–  ) film critic, writer; born in Petaluma, Calif. She studied philosophy at the University of California: Berkeley (1936–40) before working at a variety of jobs, including writing movie reviews. She moved to New York City (1965) and worked for Life magazine. Beginning in 1968, she reviewed movies for the New Yorker; she left briefly to work for Paramount Pictures in California but returned to review for the New Yorker until her retirement in 1991. Known as a knowledgeable, intelligent, and enthusiastic reviewer of films, she consistently treated movies as a respected art form even when her idiosyncratic or waspish views aroused controversy. Her reviews were unusual in gaining a second life in a series of collections such as When the Lights Go Down (1980).