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The Fountainhead (1949)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 2 July 1949 (USA)
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An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

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...
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Robert Douglas ...
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Moroni Olsen ...
Chairman
Jerome Cowan ...
Alvah Scarret
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Storyline

Individualistic and idealistic architect Howard Roark is expelled from college because his designs fail to fit with existing architectural thinking. He seems unemployable but finally lands a job with like-minded Henry Cameron, however within a few years Cameron drinks himself to death, warning Roark that the same fate awaits unless he compromises his ideals. Roark is determined to retain his artistic integrity at all costs. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No Man Takes What's Mine ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

2 July 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le rebelle  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Barbara Branden's biography, Ayn Rand was furious when the courtroom speech was edited without her approval and refused to ever work with Warner Bros. in the future. See more »

Goofs

Howard shatters Dominique's slightly damaged fireplace slab with a chisel and says, "Now it's broken and has to be replaced." When Dominique asks Howard if he can replace it, the next shot of Howard shows him kneeling in front of the not-yet shattered marble slab. See more »

Quotes

Ellsworth Toohey: Artistic value is achieved collectively by each man subordinating himself to the standards of the majority.
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Connections

Featured in Shirtless: Hollywood's Sexiest Men (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strange adaptation of the best-selling book
19 September 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ayn Rand adapted her own famous novel, "The Fountainhead," for the screen. Filmed in 1949, the outcome is odd, to say the least, but it has its interesting moments. "The Fountainhead" concerns an architect, Howard Roark, who, despite controversy, sticks to his designs without altering them to please anyone. Because of this, he becomes the brunt of a hate campaign by a tabloid newspaper, The Banner.

It's obvious from some of the comments on this board that many people are unfamiliar with the book. Unfortunately, the way the book was adapted, if you don't know it, I'm not even sure you can follow what goes on. The buildings, Roark, Dominque, Wyand et al. are all symbols - the buildings are what man can achieve, Roark is the selfish artist whose work has integrity, playing into one of Rand's main philosophies

  • man has a right to live for his own sake, without altruism, without


bowing to the masses. Wyand is the brainwasher who cares about power; his architecture columnist believes in suppressing genius, as it is threatening - etc. Rand's novel itself is extremely prophetic (the tabloid inferences and the rise of mediocrity being just two examples) and therefore is timely today. It just didn't transfer well onto the screen. Symbols don't. There was too much material cut, and the screenplay was adapted, seemingly, with the supposition that everyone knew the book. On top of that, many of the scenes look almost fake from the use of a lot of process shots, giving the movie a bizarre sensibility.

Patricia Neal is astonishingly stunning and wears gorgeous fashions as Dominique, the sexually repressed turned sexually charged woman who gets turned on by Howard and his work. When I first read "The Fountainhead," I kept picturing Dominique as Faye Dunaway, and with her cold beauty, Neal is certainly the '50s Dominique. Raymond Massey is excellent as Gale Wyand, the Rupert Murdock character, and Kent Smith does a good job as a weasel architect friend of Howard's.

Now we come to Howard himself, Gary Cooper. Ayn Rand was one of Cooper's biggest fans from the time she emigrated from Russia and worked in Hollywood as an extra. She was of course thrilled beyond belief when he agreed to play Howard. There is a photograph of the short Rand gazing up at the chiseled, handsome Cooper, and she's practically drooling. After Rand worked - I can't remember if it was months or years - on Howard's big speech in the courtroom, Cooper told her after he finished filming it that he never understood the speech. I'm fairly certain he didn't understand the rest of the role either and that he had never read the book. A more glorious-looking, charismatic man to play Howard you couldn't have found, but did he understand this role the way he understood Lou Gehrig? I doubt it. Did Rand, for all her artistic integrity care? I doubt it. In the end, that great philosopher, that giant intellectual Ayn Rand was, in reality, a woman like any other.

If you must see "The Fountainhead," read the book first, which is fantastic. If you're not going to read it, I'd skip the movie, even though, like Rand and Neal, I love Gary Cooper.


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