The Complete History of American Film Criticism (Hardcover)

By Jerry Roberts

Santa Monica Press, 9781595800497, 480pp.

Publication Date: February 19, 2010



From the first published movie review in the late 1800s to the 21st-century era of the great movie critics' wake, this chronicle reviews the nature, scope, and controversies in American film criticism. Moving through the silent era, the pre- and postwar years, the golden age of the 1970s, and the eventual decline of the 1980s and 1990s, this exhaustive overview includes biographical information on some of the most influential film critics--including Leonard Maltin, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, and James Agee--as well as a historical record and critical assessment of their work. Illuminating various past controversies, this invaluable reference documents the battles between auteur theorists and their opposing critics as well as between the critics and studios, filmmakers, and even themselves. Little-known aspects of film criticism lore are also related, such as the epic battles waged in print by Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, the studio boycotts of the New York Times and New York Herald Tribune over unflattering press, and the critics barred from attending premieres by studios for writing negative reviews. Honoring those who shed light on the artistic visions, storytelling sensibilities, and the emotional intent inherent on the big screen, this authoritative guide is a must-have for industry professionals, film historians, and movie buffs.

About the Author

Jerry Roberts is an acquisitions editor for Arcadia Publishing. He was a film critic and columnist for Copley Los Angeles Newspapers, Copley News Service, and the former Cinemania Web site, and has contributed to Daily Variety, DGA Magazine, and The Hollywood Reporter. He is a past coordinator of film programs for the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and is the author of the Encyclopedia of Television Film Directors, The Great American Playwrights on the Screen, Mitchum: In His Own Words, and Movie Talk from the Front Lines. He lives in Carson, California.