Commercial filmmaking, which accounts for most of the films—European and world as well as American—shown in cinemas and reviewed in print, as well as most of the material made for television, is justifiably seen as a collaborative activity, involving the skills and talents of many different film workers.
Does a film need to have an author? The international success of these nouvelle vague films drew attention to their directors' critical pasts, helping ideas about authorship, and new ways of thinking about popular cinema, become matters of debate in Britain and the United States at more or less the same moment.
Much more clearly, here was the director—though in this case also the performer—as artist. As in Cahiers, both the Movie critics and Sarris aimed to be provocative, to stir things up—though more in the arena of critical attitudes than in filmmaking itself.
In the early s Hawks was taken up by auteurist critics in the United States like Andrew Sarris and in the United Kingdom by Movie magazine and Robin Wood, who took Hawks as a supreme example of the understated artistry possible within the Hollywood system.
But other arts can pose considerable problems for straightforward identification of authorship. If US cinema was produced in factorylike conditions for mass consumption and entertainment, European cinema was seen much more in relation to, and as the equal of, the other arts.
New ed. These objections were recognized, if not paid much attention to, by early Movie writers and Sarris's writing. In a further shift, Wollen put the auteur directors' names in inverted commas—"Hitchcock," "Ford," "Hawks"—to distinguish the real people and creative personalities Hitchcock, Ford, and Hawks from the structures or retrospective critical constructs—the auteur codes—named after them.
The radical changes in film studies brought about by auteurism's insistence on exact attention to just what was occurring in the film brought in its train a number of very important later developments in film criticism and film theory.