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From the Archive: 'New Yorker' Film Critic Pauline Kael

Daniel Hautzinger

During Women's History Month, we're opening the WTTW archives to feature clips of remarkable women – writers, executives, athletes, and more – speaking about their work and lives.

How would Pauline Kael, film critic for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1991, have reacted to the Best Picture debacle at the Academy Awards? It's hard to say, but it is certain that she would have done so in her signature witty manner. One of the most significant critics of all time, Kael was known for idiosyncratic opinions and a sharp, individual writing style. Roger Ebert wrote that she "had a more positive influence on the climate for film in America than any other single person over the last three decades" upon her death in 2001. She not only influenced numerous critics, but such filmmakers as Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson have claimed her as an inspiration.

In 1980, Kael was interviewed by John Callaway for the WTTW show Callaway Interview. In this clip, she discusses the process of writing a review and the hatred she must absorb as a woman writing criticism.