Rand was mostly pleased with the Italian product and the actors' performances, so she was pleased to have the films--which were combined into one film--modified and released. Besides being a great novelist, she started her writing career as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Her understanding of plot and character development are second to no one's.
The story itself is a complex love story, a triangle between the heroine and the two relationships she had with two men--one who was a member of the ruling communist party, and one whose father was a member of the overthrown aristocracy. Both men are victims of their times in that they see aristocracy and communism as the only two alternatives. The first man learns the realities of compromising his values due to practicalities within the party and the social/political structure. The second suffers for his values but eventually learns to compromise them (they were not so strong to begin with) to survive in the corrupt society of the USSR.
Without the exposition of Rand's novel, the political messages of the story are probably difficult to discern, other than the "I" vs "The State" basics.
One writer criticized Rand for wanting to bring the film closer to her original vision, as if those who stole her work had a right to their artistic vision. I guess you could say that the fascist authorities also had a right to their vision, but obviously whatever rights they had to their own beliefs gave them no rights when it comes to amending Rand's work. The original Italian films would, no doubt be interesting, but mostly as examples of propaganda and for historical purposes.