Author: Andrew Sarris
Original publication date: 1968
Auteur theory grew out of France's undying love for American westerns, gangster pictures, and other genre stuff. The stylistic ticks that survived in the face of cookie-cutter motion pictures, that was the mark of the auteur.
Andrew Sarris, a critic from Brooklyn, popularized auteur theory in the U.S. of A. with this book. Organized by director, The American Cinema is the sound of a gavel striking wood. It announces that, from now on, the director will be the author. This useful half-truth has shaped the popular discourse on cinema more than any other theory, and to understand the impetus, you must go back to Sarris. —RS