Kael, Pauline

Kael, Pauline kāl [key], 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 auteur theory, and later went on to champion the work of such filmmakers as Francis Coppola, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg. 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).

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).

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