The Fountainhead [Import]
Exhibiting a darker edge to his hero persona, the strapping Gary Cooper has the (Frank Lloyd) Wright stuff as architect Harold Roark, a "fool visionary" who refuses to conform his artistic ideas to popular taste. His inflexibility makes enemies out of a tabloid architecture critic and a tycoon (Raymond Massey), who proclaims, "All men can be bought... there are no men of integrity." Keating (Kent Smith), a former classmate, urges Roark to take "the middle of the road so it's sure to please everybody." But Roark will not compromise, and when one of his building designs is radically altered without his consent, he resorts to drastic measures. Adapted for the screen by Ayn Rand from her towering and controversial bestseller, The Fountainhead is about as subtle as that phallic drill Roark wields so impressively, which catches the frenzied eye of the formidable Dominique Francon (Patricia Neal in her film debut). She recognizes Roark's nobility, but fears he has no chance "in a world where beauty, genius and greatness have no chance." Rand did little to dilute her polemics for the screen, resulting in melodramatic scenes that border on high camp, such as Roark and Francon's rather sexually charged discussion about limestone. Rand practiced what she preached. According to a bonus featurette about the making of the film, she refused to trim Roark's then-unprecedented six-minute courtroom speech in which he defends his actions. Even for those who don't adhere to her philosophy, The Fountainhead does offer something rarely seen on screens these days, a man of unshakable principles. And Hollywood could sure note Rand's object lesson about the perils of mediocrity and catering to "the mob." For Cooper fans, The Fountainhead is an essential addition to your movie library. --Donald Liebenson
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, her writing and the film adaptation of her book "The Fountainhead" makes it clear that she did believe this. The way people talk is ridiculous. Nearly everything that came out of the mouths of the "bad guys" was something like: "What hope can one man have to stand against the will of the majority? In an age such as ours we can not afford to have individuals who dare hold their own vision." The dialogue is really that silly.
Rand called her style of writing Romantic Realism. Romantic because it dealt with people not as they are, but as they should be. Realism because her stories were set in the real world. Since the good guys (like the supreme egoist and hero of the film Howard Roark) embody her Romantic ideal, I am only left to believe that she put the bad guys (the conformists and collectivists) into the realism column. That is absurd. I'm sorry Ms. Rand, but people don't talk like that, and very very few people think like that.
That is the main flaw of this film and Ayn Rand's fiction in general -- it is not set in the real world. Her message would have been countless times more effective had it strived to show the more subtle ways that people are made to conform and compromise.Read more ›
And it's all crap. But MAGNIFICENT crap.
See EVIL ARCHITECTS CONSPIRE AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL!
See SPIRIT OF MAN TRIUMP OVER MEDIO...MEDIORCH... DULLNESS!
See PATRICIA NEAL WHIP COOPER (literally) UNTIL HE RAPES HER (her idea)!
See RIOTS IN THE STREET OVER A BUILDING! Yep.
See SETS WITHOUT WALLS! Very cool effect
See AN OFFICE THE SIZE OF CONNETICUT! So big the ceiling is a matte painting.
See EVERYONE SHOVE THEIR JAWS FORWARD! They must've all had their retainers in upside down.
See THE HOMO-EROTIC QUARRY! Really, it's creepy... those distant explosions...
Finally a movie that shows ARCHITECTURE the way it really is.
WHY CAN'T I GIVE THIS FILM TEN STARS?!!! You goddam Collectivists!
The problem is dramatic; Pat Neal is mesmerizing as Dominique, and Vidor moves the movie along with brilliant momentum.
Then we have Gary Cooper, who seems embarrassed - as well he should - by the cartoonish dialogue. All right, Rand wants to ram her objectivist views down every available throat. But surely someone with a sense of good dialogue was near the set? Her screenplay is riddled with sentiments expressed as subtly as the 'Ka-POWS!' in the Batman TV show. Herds of sheeplike businessmen say 'But what's the good in originality?', or, 'Look here, old man, one mustn't fight popular opinion!'. It's really that banal.
Too bad. I don't much care about the philosophy Rand espouses, either way. What bothers me is that a ridiculously clumsy trumpeting of it ruins what good have been a classic film.
You can argue about film versus book until the cows come home. You could say, "Let’s make this with Helen Mirren and Mel Gibson." You can even have Turner colonize it. Well folks, it is not going to happen; so do not waste your time wishing, and look at this movie.
This is a pretty faithful summary (as opposed to adaptation). In that, you get the essence of the book with a few saved speeches. All the actors get their point over to you: this includes Gary Cooper as Howard Roark (he purposely looks stoic and amused) and Patricia Neal as Dominique (looking frustrated and aloof.)
The scenes, black and white with exaggerated camera angles, portray the story very well. The Frank Lloyd Wright architecture adds to the time period. The tone of the movie gives the impression that this was copied from a stage play where one person at a time talks and no one overlaps until the first person is finished.
All in all, the entire movie is worth the viewing. And reviewing for the details.
Most recent customer reviews
Although it caught all of Rands' philosophy, if I hadn't read the book, a lot would have been missed. Also, so much of the book was cut out!!Published 5 months ago by Marty
Although this film espousing the philosophy of Ayn Rand is quite dated now and the acting more than a bit over the top, this film is top of the list for fans of Patricia Neal. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Elizabeth Leslie
I read the book a long time ago and it affected me a great deal. I read all I could get of this author and I still like her and the movie depicted the story very closelyPublished on July 21 2013 by Lofflerova
A great movie, romantic and stuck to the essence of the book. Ayn Rand personally wrote the condensed script for the movie. Read morePublished on April 29 2011 by Shane
While it was based on Ayn Rand's book, Ayn Rand personally altered the story to adapt it to film. It is a great movie that really makes the viewer think about many things... Read morePublished on March 7 2004 by Eric Kassan
As an Architect, my opinion is biased by actual experience in this field, but, this movie made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, it became one of my all time favorites. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2004 by Victor A Smith
Ayn Rand's masterpiece novel loses none of its plot and pace in this, somewhat shorter, film production. The theme of the film is: the individual verses the collective. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2003