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on 22 June 2011
On the downside, from the first speech it is clear that the dialogue will be crude. The ideology will strike many as disagreeable, even disturbing. The verdict in court is strange. The passage of time lacks clarity - roughly how many years between the meeting of the leads and the end? The principle that "form should follow function" dates to 1896 (Wikipedia), so is not the stance of the critics anachronistic? The book The International Style,(1932), which concerns itself with the aesthetics of modern architecture, is highly pertinent.
On the upside, this is a terrific example of the visual style of "film noir" . There's lots of black, lots of shadows and lots of dramatic camera angles. Patricia Neal and her clothes are stunning. The main thing is that it's an extremely unusual story about determination and the triumph of uncompromising artistic integity.

So it's a polemical fairy story, (suitably) made with the visual style of "film noir". Despite serious flaws, it's amazing.
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on 20 December 2014
classic movie very good
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on 5 March 2017
Amazing, really good plot and a true inspiration to me, to carry on the fight for liberty, Rand is just great.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 November 2014
Brilliant sets in the German Expressionist style and wonderful cinematography - the hallmark of director, King Vidor. Gary Cooper also gives an outstanding performance as the idealistic architect who will not compromise his indivualistic building designs to suit the safe and entrenched attitudes of the money men and popular culture. Patricia Neal has never looked more beautiful and stylishly dressed. The storyline is well over the top and a lot of the acting very contrived, with much posing involved - but that's all quite deliberate, so just sit back and enjoy this very stylish (and stylised) movie.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 7 November 2007
This has to be, by any measure, one of the most spectacularly bizarre films ever made based, of course, upon one of the dottiest books! With the character of Howard Roark, Rand personified her own unique `objectivist' philosophy and Vidor put it on the screen in the form of Gary Cooper who enunciates his lines even more robotically than usual rather as if he can't quite believe what he is being required to say! The script, penned by Rand herself, requires that almost every character deliver their lines as if each were their last and most heroic utterance! The symbolism, too, is hardly subtle. For example, in one scene the heroine, Dominique Francon, played by Patricia Neal, beautiful but hard, frigid and sanctimonious, first encounters Roark while he chooses to work as a day labourer in her father's quarry rather than prostitute his architectural `genius' in the pursuit of wealth and acclaim. She stands looking down on this `tall, gaunt' man piercing the hard, rigid rock façade with a large drill that he holds tightly as if it were an extension of his arm. Naturally, the rock crumbles under the force of this penetration! We then see her later, obsessed by this image, breaking the marble fireplace in her bedroom as a pretext to get Roark to come to her. Needless, to say the course of this true love just wasn't meant to run smoothly and Roark deserts Dominique in order to return to New York in response to a request from a wealthy, and obviously discerning, patron to design and build an apartment block. It is here, on the opening night of the controversial building, that the two are temporarily reunited.

The other central character Gail Wynand, who employs Dominique as a columnist on his paper `The Banner' - a kind of 1940's The Sun - shares many of Roark's characteristics although, in contrast to Roark, his immense wealth is based upon pandering to the bigotry of the masses rather than standing alone and apart from the crowd as Roark chooses to do. It is Roark's integrity that ultimately wins Wynand, played by Raymond Massey, over and the two men, recognizing a mutual kinship, become almost inseparable friends, much to the vexation and bewilderment of Dominique who, by now, is Wynand's wife. Thus there ensues a curious, almost, troilistic relationship in which the female plays the role of the observer. In this respect Roark's treatment of Dominique might be viewed as somewhat sadistic.

Ultimately it is the patent absurdity of the script and the `heroic' style of acting that combine to produce a deliciously weird and compelling concoction that, because of these very qualities, one never tires of viewing.
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on 20 January 2003
Ayn Rand's masterpiece novel loses none of its plot and pace in this, somewhat shorter, film production. The theme of the film is: the individual verses the collective. And the individual, in this case played by Gary Cooper in the form of Howard Roark, is brilliantly portrayed through a sense of self-belief, determination and sheer ability. His ideological opposite, Elsworthy Toohey, is also well acted and personifies the evil collectivist who renounces all individual achievements and believes that men should act as their brother's keepers. Then there are in-between characters too - those of mixed premises - such as Gail Wynand and Dominique Francon. All of these dramatic individuals play their part in a compelling and well thought through story.
Perhaps one of the most impressive (although unsurprising given the author) facets of the film is that it actually has an underlying message: it's not merely a concoction of disjointed and pointless scenes. The climax and meaning to the whole story can be found in Roark's own testimony at his court case: his statement and explanation that man exists for his own sake, not for the sake of others.
This is definitely a film for those who believe in the hero of man the creator, though it will, almost certainly, be too close for comfort for the collectivist crowd!
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on 29 September 2014
Excellent film the style a little ahead of its time and maybe a bit intellectual for some people. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. Also the music is great.
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on 19 September 2016
This is a dreadful movie. It's an amazing book, a rich, deep and amazing story. Wooden acting, the characters so shallow as to be barely recognisable; terrible script (fascinating, because apparently Ayn Rand penned it herself). If you haven't read the book, you'll be completely confused. Great service and fast delivery from the seller!
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2003
I had to search my thoughts to see if I was even going to review this film of which I bought a copy.
You can argue film versus book until the cows come home. You could say "lets make this with Helen Mirren and Mel Gibson." You can have Turner colonize it. Well folks, it is not going to happen; so do not waste your time wishing, and look at this movie.
An other reviewer quite correctly summed it up as a pretty faithful summary (as opposed to adaptation). In that you get the essence of the book with a few saved speeches. All the actors get their point over to you. This includes Gary Cooper as Howard Roark and Patricia Neal as Dominique. The scenes portray the story very well. The Frank Lloyd Wright architecture adds to the time period. The tone of the movie gives the impression that this was copied from a stage play where one person at a time talks and no one overlaps until the first person is finished.
All in all, the entire movie is worth the viewing. It is also worth keeping a copy to see what this review missed.
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on 19 February 2014
This DVD is difficult to obtain in the UK so I was lucky to find this copy which, as I recall, was secondhand though in mint condition. I'd been trying to find this DVD for some time as The Fountainhead is one of my favourite films. Ayn Rand, of necessity, had to simplify the story and plot of her very long novel for the screenplay which, nevertheless, stays fairly true to the book. Cooper, Neal and Massey give very strong performances. This film is very dramatic, even melodramatic in parts, but would especially appeal to those interested in the group/individual dichotomy, an obsession of Rand's, which she analyses in some detail.
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