Auteur - A film director whose practice accords with the auteur theory.
Auteur Theory - A view of filmmaking in which the director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture.
The first half of the 1970's was marked by the rise of a new breed of motion picture artist and film school graduate inspired by the French New Wave Cinema, which declared that the director was an "auteur", or sole "author" of the movie. At the time the studios were losing money and unable to reach the important baby boomer audience. There was an unprecedented changing of the guard in the studio executive suites. They didn't know what kind of movies to make. Into this void came a new generation of WRITERS, directors, producers, actors and other artists whom came to call the New Hollywood. The twenty five year long decline in movie theatre attendance that began with the arrival of television hit rock bottom as the 1970's arrived. The main studios collectively lost $600 million in 1969-70. In the greatest management upheaval since the buyout of Sound Warehouse by Blockbuster Music (that's another story) new leadership took power at Warner Bros, MGM, United Artist, and Paramount. In 1971, it was conservative Republican President Richard Nixon who heard the pleas of the movie industry for help and arranged a series of special tax breaks to help stimulate business. Seriously. Times have changed. Over the next five years the resulting tax shelters and tax-leveraged investments became hugely important to Hollywood and financed a great number of movies. By the time tax shelters were phased out by Congress in late 1976, two other important revenue sources emerged, pay TV and my favorite invention of my young life...Cable! Both would significantly change the business and the way people saw movies. Desperate to reach the baby boomers, Hollywood gave young filmmakers an usual degree of freedom for the first few years. Since the new directors were young, it was believed that they knew how to reach the youth audience. As a new generation of filmmakers started to connect with the youth audience, the studios acted more like banks than producers. They gave up creative freedom to a group of directors who aspired to be auteurs. A young auteur director, Steven Spielberg, directed the first summer blockbuster "Jaws". Two years later his friend George Lucas released "Star Wars" and the summer blockbuster was born. The auteur theory didn't always work, but at least the first half of the 1970's flowered with quirky, original movies, often with new levels of violence, sex and thought provoking sci-fi(Halloween, Clockwork Orange, Silent Running). For a few brief years the movie business was changed. Where it had always been producer-driven, now it revolved around the cult of the director. Sidebar: Which is why you still see in big letters, THE NEW MOVIE FROM QUENTIN TARANTINO!!!!!. (I love Tarantino). Upon the success of Jaws and Star Wars, the short-lived era of New Hollywood came to an end, accompanied by the failure of many of the auteur-driven movies. The BLOCKBUSTER had become the new Hollywood paradigm. The huge cash generated by the blockbuster attracted more corporations to own and invest in Hollywood, bringing an increased emphasis on marketing and research. This led to the establishment of "franchises" (see Blog Entry #008). Many of the new megamovies were like B movies of the past, but remade with A-movie budgets, production values, and stars. New life was given to genre films eg: classic horror "The Exorcist", gangster drama "The Godfather", romance "Love Story", westerns "The Wild Bunch", thrillers "Jaws", disaster movies "Airport" and science fiction "Star Wars". While the 1970's started on a low note, with production and box office down, the movie industry had successfully revived itself by the second half of the decade. The baby boom generation had fully embraced the medium. There is still some auteurs out there that are still making great movies such as Tarantino, Coen Brothers, and M. Night Shamalama Ding Dong. Unfortunately, Michael Bay will be considered an auteur but that's for another rant. Thanks for reading:)