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The Fountainhead

Promotional release poster
Directed by King Vidor
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Ayn Rand
Starring Gary Cooper
Patricia Neal
Raymond Massey
Kent Smith
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Robert Burks
Editing by David Weisbart
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) July 2, 1949 (1949-07-02)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Fountainhead is a 1949 American drama film based on the best-seller book of the same name by Ayn Rand The movie stars Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon, Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand, Robert Douglas as Ellsworth Toohey and Kent Smith as Peter Keating. The film was directed by King Vidor, with the screenplay written by Rand.

Contents

Plot

The story follows the struggles of Howard Roark, an individualistic architect.

Cast

Neal as Francon, in a scene from the film's trailer.

Production

Neal and the married Cooper, 25 years her senior, fell in love during the film's production. In a Time magazine interview with Neal a couple of years after Cooper's death, it was called "one of those muted Olympian affairs that everyone knows about but few discuss"; according to Neal[1]

I was very much in love with him. But I got myself into a sticky mess which couldn't work, didn't work, and never should have worked. He was the most gorgeously attractive man. Bright, too. Although some people didn't think so. I lived this secret life for several years. I was so ashamed; yet there was the fact of it. I had made few close friends. All I had, there in Hollywood, was that one love. I'm sorry for any damage that was done—and I'm sure there was. You always think no one is going to get hurt, but someone always does—lots of people.

Rand demanded that the entire speech that Howard Roark gives at the end of the film be read exactly as in the original novel. Vidor initially agreed, but when shooting commenced on the scene, he decided to tighten it up a bit. Upon hearing this, Rand called the head of the studio demanding that the whole speech be filmed. Rand won out, and Vidor filmed the entire speech. The scene goes on for nearly six minutes, one of the longest speeches in a feature film.

Max Steiner composed the film's score, excerpts of which were included in RCA Victor's tribute to the composer, an album featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Gerhardt and released on LP in 1973 and digitally remastered for CD.[2]

Reception

Bosley Crowther called the film "wordy, involved and pretentious" and characterized Vidor's work as a "vast succession of turgid scenes."[3] Variety said the film's "garrulous" screenplay prompted "a great deal of posturing" by the cast.[4]

VHS and DVD releases

The film was released in VHS format in 1990 and in 2006 as a DVD.

Differences between novel and film

While the movie is an abridged version of the original novel, the general tone and intent was not significantly affected. However, there are significant differences.

In the book, Gail Wynand contemplates suicide several times, and when giving in to the strikers and letting his paper denounce Roark he feels that he had in effect killed himself, even if remaining physically alive. In the film, he actually does kill himself after successfully securing Roark to complete his dream of the Wynand Building. This ties in with another minor variation from the novel, in which Dominique marries Keating, divorces him to marry Wynand, and eventually divorces him to marry Roark. In the movie, Dominique merely breaks off her engagement to Keating to marry Wynand (in the novel, there was no such engagement; the marriage was abruptly proposed by Dominique and sealed the same day), and is subsequently freed to marry Roark by Wynand's suicide.

Next, the film devotes much less attention to such important character foils as Peter Keating and Ellsworth Toohey. First half of the book (chapters' names follow the names of the characters) is devoted to them, while the film have only couple events from the chapters (notably, Roark's exclusion from Stanton, his work for Henry Cameron, and the beginning of his affair with Dominique Frankon). This makes some characters' actions to lack a motivation. Several major plot segments were completely dropped, like the case of Stoddard temple. Consequently some supporting characters were dropped, like Catherine Hailsy, Austin Heller, and Stephen Mallory.

Appearance of some characters differ from the book's description. Face of Howard Roark is described as not physically beautiful, while Gary Cooper is attractive man.

Further reading

  • Mayhew, Robert (2006). Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7391-1578-2.  

References

  1. ^ "Actresses: Kiss Kiss". Time. March 20, 1964. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,940376,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-10.  
  2. ^ The Fountainhead Sings by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, from objectivistcenter.org
  3. ^ Bosley Crowther (Jan. 1, 1949). "Gary Cooper Plays an Idealistic Architect in Film Version of The Fountainhead". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9902E7DA113EE03BBC4153DFB1668382659EDE. Retrieved 2009-12-10.  
  4. ^ "The Fountainhead". Variety. 1949. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117791051.htm. Retrieved 2009-12-10.  

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Fountainhead is a 1949 film about Howard Roark, an uncompromising, visionary architect who struggles to maintain his individualism despite pressures to conform to popular standards. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Ayn Rand.

Directed by King Vidor. Written by Ayn Rand.
No Man Takes What's Mine! (taglines)

Contents

Dialogue

Howard Roark:

[closing statements in his self-defense in the trial against him]

Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. But he left them a gift they had not conceived of, and he lifted darkness off the earth. Through out the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid -- but they won.

No creator was prompted by a desire to please his brothers. His brothers hated the gift he offered. His truth was his only motive. His work was his only goal. His work, not those who used it, his creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things, and against all men. He went ahead whether others agreed with him or not. With his integrity as his only banner. He served nothing, and no one. He lived for himself. And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. But the mind is an attribute of the individual, there is no such thing as a collective brain. The man who thinks must think and act on his own. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot not be subordinated to the needs, opinions, or wishes of others. It is not an object of sacrifice.

The creator stands on his own judgment; the parasite follows the opinions of others.

The creator thinks; the parasite copies.

The creator produces; the parasite loots.

The creator's concern is the conquest of nature; the parasite's concern is the conquest of men.

The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice.

The parasite seeks power. He wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others -- that he must think as they think, act as they act, and live in selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own.

Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: "The individual against the collective".

Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism. The principle of man's inalienable rights. It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce. To prosper, not to starve. To achieve, not to plunder. To hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value. And as his highest virtue, his self respect. Look at the results. That is what the collectivists are now asking you to destroy, as much of the earth has been destroyed.

I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live. My ideas are my property. They were taken from me by force, by breach of contract. No appeal was left to me. It was believed that my work belonged to others, to do with as they pleased. They had a claim upon me without my consent. That it was my duty to serve them without choice or reward. Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt. I designed Cortlandt, I made it possible, I destroyed it. I agreed to design it for the purpose of seeing it built as I wished. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid. My building was disfigured at the whim of others who took all the benefits of my work and gave me nothing in return. I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard. In the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others. My terms are a man's right to exist for his own sake.

Taglines

  • No Man Takes What's Mine!

Cast

External links

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