Ayn Rand gives me the creeps. I can’t bear even the thought of reading either of her books… Atlas Shrugged must be the most sold and least read of any novel in existence, including Moby Dick and Crime and Punishment. I know her ideas from reading about them, and her novels from their film versions. Now there is a new docudrama about her life and ideas.
My husband and I watched The Fountainhead on DVD last week. Preachy, pompous, absolutely without humor or charm. The wooden characters were mouthpieces for trite aphorisms. Even Gary Cooper could not make it enjoyable.
Political influences have dragged Rand into the public eye again. I confess that I am always curious about current ideas and events, so I watched Fountainhead rather than read the book. Apparently I am not alone.
Today the NYTimes republished a review by Bosley Crowther from 1949: THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; Gary Cooper Plays an Idealistic Architect in Film Version of ‘The Fountainhead’ The review begins:
A long-winded, complicated preachment on the rights of the individual in society—and also upon the privilege of a lady to change her mind—has been put on the screen with more fervor than compelling conviction, it seems, in the Warner Brothers’ film version of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountain-head.” Wordy, involved and pretentious, it came to the Strand yesterday. And a more curious lot of high-priced twaddle we haven’t seen for a long, long time.
The review is much more entertaining than the film… for sheer bitchiness and blunt skewing of artistic and intellectual pretense, it is a great read. Our current movie reviews should be this much fun. They aren’t.
Here is Roger Ebert reviewing part one of the new film Atlas Shrugged, released in 2011. Despite terrible box office and reviews, the second part of the trilogy is supposed to come out in October. Here is the trailer for part one.
And here is the trailer for another new film, called Ayn Rand: the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged.