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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.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Ayn Rand (screenplay), Ayn Rand (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Howard Roark
Patricia Neal ... Dominique Francon
Raymond Massey ... Gail Wynand
Kent Smith ... Peter Keating
Robert Douglas ... Ellsworth M. Toohey
Henry Hull ... Henry Cameron
Ray Collins ... Roger Enright
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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le rebelle See more »

Filming Locations:

Fresno, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,375,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,179,000, 31 December 1949

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,906,000, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The window view from Henry Cameron and Howard Roark's office appear to place the office in the Hudson Terminal office building, which later would become the site of New York's World Trade Center. See more »

Goofs

When Cameron smashes the window in Roark's office, you can see that the flag outside the window flying in the skyline is not rippling and therefore is part of a photographic backdrop rather than a live location. See more »

Quotes

Ellsworth Toohey: I feel it is my duty to offer you my advice.
Gail Wynand: Whom do you recommend?
Ellsworth Toohey: The rising star of the profession, Peter Keating. No other architect can equal his ability. That Mr. Wynant, is my sincere opinion.
Gail Wynand: I believe you.
Ellsworth Toohey: You do?
Gail Wynand: Of course, but Mr. Toohey, why should I consider your opinion?
Ellsworth Toohey: Well, after all, I am the architectural critic of The Banner.
Gail Wynand: My dear Toohey, don;t confuse me with my readers!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dirty Dancing (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Would be repulsive if it wasn't so funny
14 May 2003 | by fleapit_fredSee all my reviews

Gosh, but this film doesn't half bring out the rugged individualists on IMDB! Melancholy as it is to see that anyone believes the White Russian sociopath Ayn Rand was any kind of philosopher (she simply dressed up good, old-fashioned greed and misanthropy in two-dollar words), it is still sadder to learn from a couple of other contributors that her work features in American college philosophy courses. Alas for American further education...

However, one can't be angry for long at Miss Rand, or her hysterical contempt for the human race - her hero is a man who blows up a big apartment building without a thought for anyone it might fall on top of - when the film that expresses it is such an outrageous camp classic. Lord only knows what the folks in Peoria thought when, expecting a spot of manly action entertainment and rough, gruff romance with strong and usually silent hero Gary Cooper, they were required instead to sit through a couple of hours of high-flown speeches about Great Men and Free Spirits and all the rest of it, delivered by characters who talked exactly like a book (and a bad one at that). As for the stars, they perform this guff as though the script were in a foreign language and they'd learned their lines phonetically. Patricia Neal in particular looks and sounds throughout like a highly strung greyhound who's been called upon, at short notice, to take an oral examination in post-grad mathematics.

I bet the folks in Peoria wished they'd gone to see an Esther Williams musical instead - which would, I suppose, be typical of the despised masses. But here's a thing: who on earth thought it would be smart business to turn a book full of contempt for the "mob" into a commercial studio film, which by definition needs the mob to come and pay to see it? Not even a Steven Segal picture dares insult the audience as openly as that.

Presumably it was some easily impressed, half-smart executive whose grasp on common sense was as firm as that of Ayn Rand, who (among other lunacies) not only believed in perpetual motion, but was hornswoggled out of a lot of money by rugged-individualist con artists who convinced her they'd invented it. As every good con man knows, there's no more delightful sight as that of a hard-headed, unsentimental business type when you've got a consignment of gold bricks to unload.

The pity is that, as with most camp classics, it's impossible to convey how funny it is without lengthy quotation (or getting your friends to help you act it out - you've never lived until you've taken part in a Mommie Dearest party), and life's too short for me to watch The Fountainhead again with a notebook. But do try to see it once, if only to be reminded that the most pathetic people in the world are those who believe in their own superiority, and that the funniest people in the world are those who have no sense of the ridiculous.


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