A genteel and eloquent voice that will be missed. Some thought him old-fashioned. One wag deemed him "the thinking man's Bosley Crowther." Not true. He was one of the first to celebrate the cinema modernism of the 1960s, especially the work of Michelangelo Antonioni. I recall the attention-getting lead of one piece: "With RED DESERT the art of film advances."
He had an erudite television interview program in the 1960s, "The Art of Film." It was probably seen only in New York in those pre-PBS days. I recall interviews with production designer Richard Sylbert; costumer designer Edith Head; a semi-comatose Peter O'Toole (obviously smashed); and a modest Elmer Bernstein, who was somewhat dismissive of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN as merely functional music as opposed to his more personal efforts. Nominated at the time for three Oscars, he joked that the nominations gave him three chances to lose.
Reviewing SUPERMAN, Kauffmann added a cruel but probably accurate jab. Hehad written some radio scripts for that hero in his early days, and while he could not recall a thing about them, he was pretty sure they made more sense than the story of the multimillion-dollar screen version.
Like so many critics, he was no friend of openly expressive film music. I recall him praising a scene from THE GREAT SANTINI but then pausing to say that the emotive music (Bernstein again) came in to spoil the effect.