Pauline Kael

Pauline Kael’s Rousing, Visionary Review that Helped Bring the French New Wave to America
November 25, 2014

Her passionate, wild writing launched careers—including her own.

TNR Film Classic: Movie Brutalists (1966)
March 24, 2012

The basic ideas among young American film-makers are simple: the big movies we grew up on are either corrupt, obsolete or dead, or are beyond our reach (we can’t get a chance to make Hollywood films)—so we’ll make films of our own, cheap films that we can make in our own way.

TNR Film Classic: ‘A Man for all Seasons’ (February 25, 1967)
September 24, 2011

A Man for All Seasons is tasteful and moderately enjoyable; Robert Bolt’s dialogue is crisp, lucid, and well-spoken; the actors are generally efficient. Fred Zinnemann’s direction is placed at the service of Bolt’s material—in the manner of a good, modest stage director who does not attempt more than a faithful, respectful interpretation of the play. It’s pleasant to see a movie made with integrity and sensibility: A Man for All Seasons wasn’t that easy to do and it wasn’t “safe”—though it appears to have turned out well for all concerned. But that’s really just about all I can say for it.

The Best Film Critic of the '60s on the Best Filmmaker of the '60s
The New-Wave classic 'Band of Outsiders' turns 50
August 19, 2011

The New-Wave classic 'Band of Outsiders' turns 50

TNR Film Classic: ‘The Bible’ (1966)
July 30, 2011

When the announcement was made that Norman Mailer’s An American Dream was to be made into a movie, my reaction was that John Huston was the only man who could do it. And what a script it could be for him! But Huston was working on The Bible.  A quarter of a century had passed since The Maltese Falcon, it was a long time since San Pietro and The Treasure of Sierra Madre and The Red Badge of Courage and The African Queen.

TNR Film Classic: 'Masculine Feminine' (1966)
May 21, 2011

Masculine Feminine is that rare movie achievement: a work of grace and beauty in a contemporary setting. Godard has liberated his feeling for modem youth from the American gangster-movie framework which limited his expressiveness and his relevance to the non-movie centered world. He has taken up the strands of what was most original in his best films—the life of the uncomprehending heroine, the blank-eyed career-happy little opportunist-betrayer from Breathless, and the hully-gully, the dance of sexual isolation, from Band of Outsiders.

TNR Film Classics: 'Fahrenheit 451' (1966)
March 26, 2011

There are some rather dumb—but in a way brilliant—gimmicks that have a strong, and it would almost seem a perennial, public appeal. Books or plays or movies based on them don’t even have to be especially well done to be popular: readers and audiences respond to the gimmick. Sometimes this kind of trick idea is so primitive that it’s particularly attractive to educated people—perhaps because they’re puzzled by why they’re drawn to it and so take it to be a much more complex idea than it is. Frankenstein is one of these fantastic, lucrative “ideas”; The Pawnbroker is almost one.

Tourist in the City of Youth
September 23, 2010

Some years ago I attended an evening of mime by Marcel Marceau, an elaborate exercise in aesthetic purification during which the audience kept applaud

TNR Film Classics: ‘Falstaff’ (1967)
June 24, 1967

What makes movies a great popular art form is that certain artists can, at moments in their lives, reach out and unify the audience—educated and uneducated—in a shared response. The tragedy in the history of movies is that those who have this capacity are usually prevented from doing so. The mass audience gets its big empty movies full of meaningless action; the arthouse audience gets its studies of small action and large inaction loaded with meaning. Almost everyone who cares about movies knows that Orson Welles is such an artist.

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