Re: Gary Cooper (The Fountainhead) / alleged rape

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Wednesday, December 17, 1997 9:55 PM (RalphBener) wrote in article <>:
>…Though Rand was
>adamant that hero-architect Howard Roark wasn't modeled after maverick Frank
>Lloyd Wright, readers and viewers of "The Fountainhead" can't escape
>similarities… .
>And surely when she penned the screenplay, and saw the artists' concepts of
>Roark's architecture, which include a rip-off of the masterpiece Fallingwater…

You can't credit or blame the screenwriter for set design, drawings, sketches, miniature sets, 3D models, and buildings. Writers when they "pen the screenplay" don't put in those details, nor are their opinions solicited. Rand was disappointed with architectural designs created by Warner Bros.' in-house set designers.
>…or listened to Gary Cooper approximating Wright's
>voice and its cadence, she had to recognize that she couldn't go on fooling anyone.

Actors choose cadence, sometimes guided by the director.
>An erotic madness swirls throughout; while the novel is arguably a glory to
>macho sex -- rape as prelude to love…

Rand commented, "if it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation." A look at the interactions between Roark (Cooper) and Dominique (Patricia Neal) shows the groundwork for this collision of their paths that both foresaw.

When Dominique tells Roark (one among many working in her father's quarry) that she has noticed that Roark knows her name, he responds, "You've been advertising it loudly enough." When she tells him that she might regard this as insubordination, he offers to bring over the supervisor to fire him. She tells him that such is unnecessary, but that further comments of this nature "might be misunderstood." "I don't think so," says the self-assured Roark.

She intentionally cracks the marble base of her fireplace to have a pretense to bring him to her room for the repair work. He lets her know that he realizes she had this ulterior motive. Both then enact in a veneer of innocuous conversation, with both slyly aware of their double-entendres.

Roark, talking first about the marble he'll need to replace the damaged piece, remarks that marble is formed from elements, "heat and pressure," then with caution in his voice, adds: "pressure is a powerful factor--it can lead to consequences which, once started, cannot be controlled." Dominique's aroused eyebrows tell us that she knows that he's no longer talking about limestone but about testosterone. He's telling her that if she knowingly encourages his glands to well up, she may not be able to stop him from acting on them. He's telling her also that he wants her to know that this could happen, giving her the chance to alter the course they're on.

Dominique continues the vein of conversation: "What consequences?"

Roark's response: "The infiltration of foreign elements from the surrounding soil." There's no second-guessing here; he's talking about semen, and thus necessarily about the process by which that fluid is delivered.

As for the "rape" itself, the book describes what is seen in the movie: "…she made no sound. She did not call for help… ."

And then (not in the movie): "She thought she must take a bath… . She saw the purple bruises left on her body by his mouth… . She knew that she would not take a bath. She knew that she wanted to keep the feeling of his body…" By assuming our knowledge that a woman who had genuinely been raped would have experienced a dire urge to wash off the physical traces and the memory, the author communicates that the opposite has taken place.

(These excerpts are easy enough to confirm. As someone once told me, this is the passage that every copy in a public library will open to.)

-- David Hayes


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