Long treasured as a masterpiece of camp, THE FOUNTAINHEAD stars Gary Cooper as architect Howard Roark. A paragon of integrity, he refuses to create buildings that violate his sense of aesthetic value, choosing instead to work as laborer until he can fi......more
Long treasured as a masterpiece of camp, THE FOUNTAINHEAD stars Gary Cooper as architect Howard Roark. A paragon of integrity, he refuses to create buildings that violate his sense of aesthetic value, choosing instead to work as laborer until he can find funding for his own projects. He becomes involved with wealthy Dominique (Patricia Neal), a woman who combines sexual aggressiveness with an abiding belief that a woman must be subdued in order to love. Roark accepts a commission to build a public-housing project provided that no changes be made to his radical design. When a team of architects is employed to humanize his work, the enraged architect blows up the entire complex. He's placed on trial and is forced to defend the extremity of his action. One of the most unusual artifacts ever to emerge from Hollywood, Ayn Rand's adaptation of her novel is a contradictory hodgepodge of sub-Nietzschean musing, so laden with wooden rhetoric and hysterical ranting that it could never be mistaken for any speech ever uttered on this planet. The bizarre miscasting of Cooper as an arrogant Ubermann and Patricia Neal as a mildly sadomasochistic intellectual only add to the fun. In the legendary scene in which Dominique watches Roark pound his pneumatic drill into the quarry rockface, there's no mistaking the beatific look on her face for intellectual excitement.
This film is an excellent adaptation of Ayn Rand's best-selling book of the same name. It pits individual achievement against the political correctness of the time, with the former winning out. It is definitely not the usual cynical Hollywood treatment of human values, and was a real pleasure to watch.
It is a serious and thought provoking movie. The themes are adult, so would not likely be of interest to children.
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