Re: Ayn Rand's essay on subversive films

From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 1998 12:44 PM

Tom Cervo wrote in message <>…
>With all of King Vidor's skills and a dream cast, even HE could not turn "The
>Fountainhead" into anything resembling actual human life.

All of King Vidor's skills were for nought given his lack of understanding as to the principle motivation of the protagonist. Vidor is quoted in several works that he did not understand Cooper/Roark's resorting to dynamite, and with Vidor not grasping that -- Vidor not reading into the event the distortions, frustrations, misrepresentation, envy, etc. that led up to it and brought about an evaluation and plan in the mind of the protagonist (not that Vidor would have to agree with it, but merely see the sequence of emotion and reasoning), he could not communicate that to his cast, nor issue the appropriate instructions to the scenery and lighting people that would bring about the appropriate moods.

Gary Cooper may have seemed to be the lead of "a dream cast" on paper, but Cooper "was always uneasy about his performance in 'The Fountainhead,' " quoting from the biography "Coop" by Stuart Kaminsky (1980; pg. 155). Kaminsky quotes Cooper as saying about his performance in "The Fountainhead," "Boy, did I louse that one up."

It's one thing for good people to be hired for a project, but this does not necessarily translate into top-level work. "The Fountainhead" movie suffered from such misspent efforts.

Mr. Cervo, I'm curious as to why you would raise the objection that you did. You know full well that competent, skilled people don't deliver their best work consistently on every project and over the course of numerous years, yet you immediately took for granted that with the proper personnel in place, the fault for any shortcoming in the drama would have to rest on the original novelist.

>That's because [Rand's] philosophy lacks all [!!] insight into human emotions.

How do you account for the movie version of Rand's "We the Living" -- a very faithful adaptation of the book, covering much more of its source's events than the movie version of "The Fountainhead" does its source -- being more EMOTION-wrenching than almost any other film? When "We the Living" was released in the U.S. during the late 1980s, the reviews from the mainstream media were almost unanimously superlative.

-- David Hayes


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