The term ‘auteur’ originates from the French translation of author which means that a director’s film reflects their creative vision, it details the change of cinema from simple entertainment into an art form and a mode of self-expression. The auteur moves cinema away from just the ‘how to’ of filmmaking, the mise-en-scene, to creating deep and intertextual connections between each of their films. These connections are a way for the director, the auteur, to express their view and opinion, which is evident through their use of themes and stylistic qualities of their film. Francois Truffaut, one of the directors that contributed to the introduction of the auteur theory, had said “a true auteur is someone who brings something genuinely personal to his subject instead of producing a tasteful and accurate but lifeless rendering of the original material”.
When it comes to Billy Wilder the audience can recognise that authorship is evident throughout whether it comes from his film noirs to his wacky comedies, he consistently excels at being a versatile filmmaker. Bridging the transition between the studio system and the rise of independent producer-directors, and still active in the ‘New Hollywood’ era, Billy Wilder was a key player in the American cinema throughout the post-war period. A ’30s screenwriter who became a contract director in the ’40s, by 1950 Wilder had come to be regarded as a consummate studio auteur. Producing from the mid-1950s, he and his co-screenwriters were renowned in front office and fan magazine for making money, teasing audience sensibilities, and pleasing the critics. While he often wrote and directed penetrating films about the shallowness of modern life, he was capable of creating equally successful comedies. Often running into criticism for his presentation of taboo topics such as alcoholism and prostitution, the high quality of the films redeemed him in the eyes of both the public and the industry. Perhaps because his films were so popular, and his signature was by design subtle, writer-producer-director Billy Wilder has generally been overlooked in discussions about great directors. Wilder was infuriated by distinctive stylists such as Hitchcock, whom he dismissed as a modernist. Instead, he made “invisible narratives,” seamless stories with superb dialogue and skilfully crafted plots. He aimed to enthral his audiences, drawing them into the story so much that they became all but unaware that they were watching a film.