The first post in this thread will be # 13,515.
The ghost of Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias reminds you to link your films, to excel in everything you do, and remember that NOT everyone is warmly welcomed.
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Does she do any stunts in the nude?
Aren't you the same guy who asked Newt Ginghrich if he wanted an open marriage?
And he was a total asshole about it.
The Fountainhead (1949)
The individual's right to exist for his own sake and a refusal to join the cult of self sacrifice. The censors had a problem with the film's message because it's contrary to Christian dogma but Hollywood took a chance on it and the film did quite well. Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay from her own novel which probably explains the stiffness in the lines. The characters don't speak like real humans but as archetypes. King Vidor's visual style lends a lot to the film. Max Steiner's score is overblown at times and dates a film that otherwise seems more contemporary or even timeless.
I love this movie, but it's almost unimaginably overblown shit.
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
The situations are preposterously over-the-top, with characters haranguing each other, constantly pontificating, or -- like the unctuous Ellsworth Toohey, spouting enigmatic asides at people who don't pick up his evil vibes. It's out-fucking-rageous. The fault, dear fellow Bruti, is in the screenplay, which is -- like most Ayn Rand material -- pretentious elitist egoism and sexual hysteria masquerading as philosophy .
Patricia Neal -- who really was having an affair with Gary Cooper at the time -- is desperately in love with him on screen. Her large sensuous mouth trembles with ill-repressed desire as she contemplates his sweaty, sinewy arms working a jackhammer. She collapses at his feet in pathetic submission to him. She grovels, she writhes, she whimpers with tears, yet articulates her willingness to degrade herself, so long as he sacrifices his own mad ambition to be an architect of integrity. Nevertheless, she marries another, rather than see Cooper destroyed by a world that can't appreciate his beauty?!?
That's right. This howler is everything I say it is. And few final moments on film match the gaudy eroticism of Neal looking upward at Her Man, standing in wind-blown magnificence atop the Biggest Phallic Symbol on earth. That image is also in Rand's book.
Do you dismiss all the film's messages as elitist egoism? As a creative person I found the Howard Rourke character inspiring and identified with his situation. I admired the way he didn't give a damn what other people thought of him and his work. Is wanting to be true to yourself egoism? Would it have been better if Beethoven had conformed to his teacher Haydn's style when the latter criticized him for being original?
Do you dismiss all the film's messages as elitist egoism?
Pretty much, yes -- though there are some "messages" in the film which, of course, I can't simply toss off.
Because she's such a facile writer Rand appeals to the young idealist in all of us -- the hunger to believe we're creative and special and meant to stand up for our ideas against the oppressive conformity of the "lesser" masses. It is an adolescent's dream, almost never -- except in the case of almost superhuman assholes like Richard Wagner -- exhibited in the adult world in the way Howard Roark does it in The Fountainhead. Singleness of purpose is lovely to contemplate, and some measure of it -- (we may refer to it less grandly as stick-to-itiveness) -- is essential for any sort of success in life. But Lee Harvey Oswald is as much a representative of it as Beethoven.
Incidentally, your anecdote of Beethoven is not really relevant to the world of Howard Roark, is it? Before Ludwig made a name for himself and developed the romantic scowl and aloofness we associate with his status as a musical hero, he spent plenty of time on his knees, licking ass for a commission, not only willing, but desperate, to write music to please his noble patrons. And is there anyone in The Fountainhead who approximates Joseph Haydn?
You give the impression that Papa Haydn was a glum, old-fashioned ignoramus, a man incapable of appreciating his student's genius and willing to suppress it for its very originality. We both know that Haydn was himself one of the creative giants of musical history -- in many ways more original, more creative, than Beethoven. He virtually invented the string quartet, composed over a hundred symphonies that are surely no more static and unoriginal than those of his friend, Mozart. Aren't their names, along with Schubert's and Beethoven's, identified as the titans of the First Viennese School?
Now compare this with Rand. Nowhere, in all her books, nor in The Fountainhead itself, is there an antagonist for her hero who has any talent that comes close to his. Maybe Hank Reardan in Atlas Shrugged, but even he comes over from the Dark Side and into the glorious light of Rand-ian rhetoric long before the book is over. Virtually all those who contradict the Roarks are no-talent jackoffs, straw-men with straw-arguments, who run the world by the very aggressiveness of their ignorance and envy.
Howard Roark's emblematic, "I will not live for another man's sake nor ask any man to live for mine" is actually an emotional rejection of the Communist credo, "From each according to his ability to each according to his need." And, indeed, Rand's escape from the incipient Soviet Union, coupled with her lifelong detestation of Communism, made her a darling among the Intellectual Right of the 1960s.
But she's no philosopher. She's Sister Mary Ignatius laying it all out for you. We don't accompany her on a voyage of philosophic discovery, where she asks questions and uses reason to arrive at any sort of truth. No: She's a self-proclaimed prophetess, a woman whose idea of herself is as self-deluding and grandiose as that of Ellsworth Toohey. She pronounces The Truth, like one who knows -- like the only one who knows.
Nevertheless, I repeat: I lo-o-ove The Fountainhead. I remember how it knocked me over when I first saw it as an obnoxious pubescent. It still knocks me over now that I'm an obnoxious adult. But not for its "messages".
Look back at Roark's final defense -- and Gary Cooper was required to deliver the argument without changing a single syllable of Rand's screenplay. Despite her wonderful flourishes, is there really much more to that argument than, "I'm too bitchen for the rest of you, so I did it because I felt like it" ?
If that ain't elitist egoism, then what is?
I have to agree that artists, writers, etc. are not a humble bunch. Most of them have developed one aspect of their potential to the detriment of their humanity. You might say that some have created great works of art in spite of themselves. Howard Roark is such a lopsided man. The Fountainhead film is the only work of Rand's that I'm familiar with but if she believes that a man like Roark is the flower of human potential then I'd have to agree that she's an elitist. I'm reminded of the Sufi analogy of the stages of man. He begins as a sheep, a member of the collective mentality, the next stage is the lion, to which Rand and Roark belong, who asserts his individuality and crystallizes the ego. The last stage is the child, which Rand apparently never reached, in which one goes beyond the ego to a state of innocent wisdom. So I see Roark as a necessary step in the journey towards wisdom. I certainly feel it's better to be a lion than a sheep not because lions are better than sheep but only because the lion has begun the journey that all sheep must embark on eventually.
BTW, what do you love about this film? Is it Vidor's cinematic style or do you just find it unintentionally hilarious?
I love everything about it that I hate.
I love its arrogance, its elitism, its inane "philosophy", its OTT sexual symbols, its pontificating dialogue -- (or should I monologues?), its ridiculous melodrama, its smugness, its swelling pomposity, its yardstick-up-the-ass self-righteousness, its overacting, over-direction, over-production, over-scoring, its outlandish, ballooning, ballyhoo-ing bullshit.
I've always loved the movie, though it took me a lifetime to understand how profoundly lunatic it truly is.
It is a charter member on Hollywood's list of great "one-offs".
It's been in my q for too long. I need to watch and post so if only to see how badly I can piss off Sevorin.
Seems it was in my saved queue for a while. I suspect NF bought some new copies in expectation of renewed interest due to the release of Atlas Shrugged. Speaking of which: Has anyone seen Atlas Shrugged? I noticed it got bad reviews and flopped at the box office.