The Fountainhead. 1949.

After reading The Fountainhead (see post here), and then finding out there was a movie, I had to see it.  I was sckeptical that a movie, especially at just 2 hours, would be any good since the book was so epic and philosophical.  I just couldn’t figure out how the screen writer(s), director, and producer could pull it off.  I was happy to see right in the beginning that Rand did the screen play herself.

The movie started out moving incredibly fast.  The book takes time to develop the plot, the characters, and the philosophy.  The movie did not.  And there were also several items that were out of order, and one very notable item that was much better placed in the book, in my opinion.  (I don’t want to say what it is here, as it is a bit of a spoiler…)

Overall, the movie was just the tip of the iceberg of the book.  While fairly well thought out, it certainly does not match the book’s depth (nor do many movies that try to capture this kind of book).  While I can recommend the movie, I would say that you must read the book if you really want to dig into Rand’s ideas.

One thing that was a pleasant surprise was to see some of the buildings of Roark.  In the book, it was extremely hard to visualize, but the movie did a good job with them.  It was quite impressive considering the movie was done in 1949 how the skyscrapers seemed so real.  Of course, I’ve had the opposite experience of seeing things in a movie that I had visualized in a book.  For the Lord of the Ring movies, it was quite a different experience for me.  I had been picturing hobbits, orks, etc. for 20-25 years, and when I saw someone else’s representations that were so drastically different than my own, I was not pleased.  I got over it.  🙂

Some quotes that I may have missed in the book, or maybe they were just different in the movie.  These may be more paraphrases than exact quotes.  🙂

  • Defining freedom as “want nothing, expect nothing, depend on nothing.”   (Compare that to the discussion in this post.)
  • “The things that we want and admire enslave us.”
  • “See through your own eyes, think with your own brain.”
  • …spectacular talent, but made subservient to the masses
  • “Does man have a right to exist if he refuses to serve society.”
  • “The world is perishing from an orgy of self sacrifice.”

That last one is huge for Rand… She is not into altruism at all.  I am just about done with Atlas Shrugged, and that book is even stronger on this point.  So I likely will say more about this when I write on that book.

Finally, in the speech to the court near the end, Roark talks of the brain as man’s only weapon, and that the mind is an attribute of the individual.  He goes on to say that there is such thing as a collective mind.  I wonder how Rand would see today what is often called a hive mind, or universal mind, or even the collective mind.  I think I first read of it in Neal Stehpenson’s “The Diamond Age,” though I often think of it today as I am searching for answers online– data, information, knowledge, how-to’s, solutions to problems I am having that others have already had.  Today, we really do rely on each other’s minds moreso than at any other time in history.

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