Ayn Rand was born in 1905 in St. Petersberg, Russia. She escaped to America in 1926 amidst the rise of Soviet Communism. She remained in the United States for the rest of her life, where ... See full summary »
Ayn Rand was born in 1905 in St. Petersberg, Russia. She escaped to America in 1926 amidst the rise of Soviet Communism. She remained in the United States for the rest of her life, where she became a much respected author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The themes of freedom and individualism were to be her life's passion, and would win her a devoted following among readers. Her books continue to sell over 300,000 copies each year. Upon her arrival in America, Ayn Rand applied for a screenwriting position at the DeMille Studios in Hollywood. On that same day, a chance meeting with DeMille brought her to the set of The King of Kings where she was hired as an extra for the film. But, it wasn't until her 1936 Broadway success, Night of January 16th, that she first achieved fame as a writer. The play, a courtroom drama that was tried before a jury drawn from the audience each night, had two endings for each verdict. Although a success, it was Ayn's first struggle to keep the ... Written by
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As someone who spent a lot of time reading and thinking about Rand's ideas many years ago, I found this film very informative and entertaining. It presents Rand with just the right breath of grandeur. It shows her the way I like to think of her.
Like Thomas Jefferson, flaws in Rand's personal life throw a bit of shadow on her intellectual triumphs. This is not to suggest that Rand's achievements come close to Jefferson's. But, like Rand, his lifestyle contradicted his life's major achievement: the Author of The Declaration of Independence was a slaveholder.
In Rand's case, the champion of individualism surrounded herself with a "Collective" of yes-men (and -women) that systematically excluded anyone who didn't toe the line on matters of philosophy, religion, aesthetics, and even cigarette smoking. Incredibly, this champion of "independent judgement based on facts" would actually forbid her followers from reading things written by people she deemed "evil."
But, just as a tribute to Jefferson might not dwell on slavery at Monticello or mention Sally Hemmings, this love letter to Ayn doesn't explore her problematic social life or her peculiar band of followers. But I still think this documentary earned its accolades from the film industry. Ayn Rand probably would have approved of the film herself.
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