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"The Fountainhead" - what could have been the perfect setting


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I've know that Ayn Rand was very heavy-handed and opinionated, but while I was watching it again the other day I found the "don't stray from the norm" executives who hated the modern, daring look of Roark's buildings to be too cardboard cutouts, unbelievable of businessmen. However, I kept thinking that if only Rand had set this in major network (NBC, ABC, or CBS) television programming how realistic the men would be, LOL.

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The Fountainhead was rubbish! I never heard such self-conscious, artificial dialogue! But then I found out that Ayn Rand had a lot to do with the screenplay, so what can one expect?

 

Everyone in this self-important movie goes around spouting Rand's polemic with a straight face, as though people actually talk like that. I could overlook the oddball Rand philosophy if the film were well-done, but it's all so overwrought, it's hilarious! There's not one iota of wit in this clunker.

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Poor old Raymond Massey. Or at least his character in The Fountainhead. He offed himself for two reasons: 1) Patricia Neal, the love of his life, rejected him for noble Ayn Rand-philosophy-spouting stalwart Gary Cooper. 2) His newspaper, the other love of his life, collapsed under political pressure from an earnest but ill-informed public which did not appreciate Gary Cooper's noble actions. So Ray had nothing to live for. Actually, I find him the most likeable character in this whole Rand propaganda vehicle.

 

Rand's "Oddball Philosophy" ? No point getting into that, I'm sure we're not supposed to discuss politics on TCM messageboards. She was pretty "out there", that's all I can say.

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The one issue that overshadows this film from a sort of distorted historical level of thinking was the disclosed, real life, love affair between Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal. Some fans like to think this torrid romance during the making of the film, added something to its overall background; at least from a perspective of reality playing within the so-called neo-Nietzschian philosophy of Ayn Rand?s novel from which the film was based upon. Everything on the set of this movie got out of hand. Director King Vidor lost control of what should have been a high-profile production by Warner Brothers. Instead, the affair between Cooper and Neal created a behind-the-scenes havoc and frustration for everyone involved. At first, producer Henry Blanke believed the situation would make for good, blanketed publicity, therefore playing upon the public to surmise that perhaps the movie had in hindsight blended with the novel; this issue is quite provocative, when you think about all the Freudian symbols of the story! Once the critics got wind of what had happened during the making of the film, nobody who reviewed this movie was amused. There were cries of ?foul? and misdeeds towards a blatant means of deliberately creating an association with what almost turned into a real-life scandal. Neal?s film career was nearly ruined, as was Cooper?s marriage that blemished the iconic star?s once wholesome, positive standing character to film fans. This might have been a time when there was attempt for Art to imitate life along more stringent lines of thinking, if not, expressionist techniques.

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I wonder if they were all eating too many sardines.

 

I do vaguely remember either our man Ben Mankiewicz or Mr. Osborne himself mentioning the torrid affair between Cooper and Neal during the shooting of The Fountainhead . It does kind of show on the screen, bestowing the film with the only compelling scenes in it. It's not so much what Cooper and Neal do, it's more about the steam floating off the screen in their scenes together.

 

Coop, how could you? Mr. Integrity.

 

I suppose everybody knows that Patricia Neal was married (although after the Cooper affair) to children's writer Roald Dahl. I think she was under-rated. Look at Face in the Crowd, and Hud .

(Talk about steamy.)

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> I wonder if they were all eating too many sardines.

>

> I do vaguely remember either our man Ben Mankiewicz or Mr. Osborne himself mentioning the torrid affair between Cooper and Neal during the shooting of The Fountainhead . It does kind of show on the screen, bestowing the film with the only compelling scenes in it. It's not so much what Cooper and Neal do, it's more about the steam floating off the screen in their scenes together.

That chemistry has more to do with the dialog of them spouting about how much they're holding themselves in contempt for debasing their integrity, than the typical "swooning mush" we usually see..We like to see Fire/Ice on the screen. So more passionate that way. I always remember the importance of lighting, camera angles, blocking, editing, and dialog which shows two people fighting their hearts with their minds.

> Coop, how could you? Mr. Integrity.

I didn't think he's lost any. Being Mr. Integrity must get pretty dull sometimes.

> I suppose everybody knows that Patricia Neal was married (although after the Cooper affair) to children's writer Roald Dahl. I think she was under-rated. Look at Face in the Crowd, and Hud > (Talk about steamy.)

Ditto.

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It just struck me that it reminds me of a student film. Of course its production values and acting are far better. I was on the screening committee of a film festival for 18 years, and have seen thousands of student films. They are usually sincere, often strident, and oddly, overly literal, and overtly symbolic, all at the same time!

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> It just struck me that it reminds me of a student film. Of course its production values and acting are far better. I was on the screening committee of a film festival for 18 years, and have seen thousands of student films. They are usually sincere, often strident, and oddly, overly literal, and overtly symbolic, all at the same time!

Are you as fond of the use of the jackhammer as I was? It is one of my favorite scenes.

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