Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Fountainhead


It is rare to find a TV channel broadcasting a film scripted by Ayn Rand. It is even rarer if the film starrs Gary Cooper in the role of Howard Roark. 'The Fountainhead' sparks off that gleam of recognition whenever one speaks of Ayn Rand.

I read 'The Fountainhead' two weeks before my 16th birthday. I had never heard of objectivism before and was quite taken by Ms. Rand's ideas. The book had more than 600 pages, and I read each one more feverishly than the other. I still remember, the book had a separate section for each principal character. It takes more than two hours to do justice to a book ideologically ahead of its time (and of the present as well). This is where the movie fails. Gary Cooper's Howard Roark is indifferent but not nonchalant enough. Ellsworth Toohey isn't obnoxious enough and Peter Keating isn't the doormat-like lump of desperate slime I had envisioned him to be. Gail Wynand isn't depicted as a vulnerable model of ambition and the most disappointing of all is Dominique Francon. Patricia Neal is Dominique Francon, but only superficially. She almost comes across as some sort of lovelorn desperately seeking blonde.

The only uplifting moments in the film are the few lines that are picked up from the book. The soundtrack is the only thing in synch the tone of the film.There are instances of Ms. Rand's ideology but they are shadowed by the film's inability to conform to Ms. Rand's brilliance.I wouldn't recommend it to the average objectivist nor would I recommend it to the average movie buff.Mediocre attempts at objectivism are not worth the trouble.

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