Pauline at the bitch
Over the years, several friends and acquaintances have made it quite obvious that they’ve no use for Pauline Kael. Often using “Raising Kane” as a weapon against its author, they mercilessly condemn her views and writing. On that last count the argument seems ridiculous. She’s one of the very few film critics who can hold my attention from start to finish. If it weren’t for her, I seriously doubt that I’d be writing at all: this blog entry, this blog, my website…anything. Kael showed me that personality and opinion needn’t be stifled by rules or popular opinion. As someone with aspirations of being a writer, reading her work was perhaps the most liberating and educational experience I’ve ever had.
But those friends and acquaintances usually waffle when criticizing Kael’s art with words, and it’s soon evident that their real issue has to do with her opinions and disregard for accepted norms. Here again I believe it’s a misunderstanding on their part — though the walls are now too high and dense to change anyone’s mind.
In any event, the thoughtful folks at If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger… are offering an mp3 that’s nearly an hour long, of Ms. Kael (circa 1963) going on about Andrew Sarris, the auteur theory, Andrew Sarris, Raoul Walsh, Andrew Sarris, Howard Hawks, Andrew Sarris, and…Andrew Sarris. Direct your attention here and fasten your seatbelt.