The second in some way articulates the reasoning behind my 1947 project:
Film history is both films in history and the history of films... For every I Was a Fugitive From the Chain Gang and Our Daily Bread, there were a score of "Thou Swell" romances in which money was no object. Yet the escapism of the thirties was as much a reflection of the Great Depression as any topical film on unemployment.By now, thanks in large part to auteurism, the situation has changed: the Thou Swell romances may still be forgotten, but even the topical dramas are overlooked in favor of more canonical, auteur-directed genre films. The experience of the late 40s shows that for every Out of the Past or Best Years of Our Lives are dozens of forgotten - or I should say near-forgotten, since there are film buffs out there who have seen them - genre pictures. While I do deem topical filmmaking an interesting and significant development of the postwar years in particular, I want to see what exactly the "times" were - both the history of films and the films in history.
In our haste to make Sarris a straw man we overlook the wonderfully inductive thinking behind his project. It seems worth rethinking how central a film historical project is in the heart of auteurist criticism.