The auteur theory, of which film criticAndrew Sarris was the leading American proponent, holds that artistry in cinema can be largely attributed to film directors, who, while often working against the strictures of studios, producers, and scriptwriters, manage to infuse each film in their oeuvre with their personal style. Sarris's The American Cinema, the bible of auteur studies, is a history of American film in the form of a lively guide to the work of two hundred film directors, from Griffith, Chaplin, and von Sternberg to Mike Nichols, Stanley Kubrick, and Jerry Lewis. In addition, the book includes a chrology of the most important American films, an alphabetical list of over 6000 films with their directors and years of release, and the seminal essays Toward a Theory of Film History and The Auteur Theory Revisited. Over twenty-five years after its initial publication, The American Cinema remains perhaps the most influential book ever written on the subject.
Andrew Sarris is film critic for theNew York Observer and professor of cinema at Columbia University. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. Mr. Sarris has been the film citic for the Village Voice, editor-in-chief of Cahiers du Cinema in English, and an associate editor of Film Culture. He is the author of The Films of Josef von Sternberg, Interviews with Film Directors, The Film, Confessions of a Cultist, The Primal Screen, The John Ford Movie Mystery, and Politics and Cinema.