Based on the bestselling breakout novel by Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (Warner Bros. 1949) tells the story of an architect named Roark, mentored by a cutting edge failed city planner, who refuses to compromise on how his buildings are designed.
Set during the Gothic age of New York, when the buildings are combined with Greek and Western European culture, Roark designs futuristic style buildings with a more practical, albeit plain design that is meant to represent his individuality. This leads him afoul of an architect critic who stirs other building designers against him, making him blacklisted, but that does not an eccentric billionaire from hiring to design his large condo building.
However, Roark stills continue to pursue his own endeavors, galvanizing some of his enemies, but turning others to his side. He stands beside his artistic designs and at the climax gives an amazing speech on the power of the individual, and how God gave everyone freewill. From that freewill comes our creativity and we should not squander or give into the masses just “fit in.”
I did some research and found out the film was criticized heavily for its themes when it first came out, so much so, Ayn Rand rejected it. I believe no one understood what it actually represented. It was an expose on an individual’s creative abilities and how it was the individual’s right to control his or her creation no matter he made it for. Recently, it has received the critical praise it deserved.
As for as filmmaking goes, it is one of the best black and white films I have ever seen. It has romance, creativity, phenomenal acting, and a compelling, thought provoking plot that will rivet you. It is an underappreciated classic film.
Gary Cooper is impacting as the architect Roark who seeks to allow his creativity and individual rights to go through to the very end.
While the back story of Roark seemed rush, this seemed to me the only flaw in the film. It is appropriate for all ages, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
FAVORITE QUOTE: 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.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Adult Themes
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- Gary Cooper as Howard Roark
- Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon
- Raymond Massey as Gail Wynand
- Kent Smith as Peter Keating
- Robert Douglas as Ellsworth M. Toohey
- Henry Hull as Henry Cameron
- Ray Collins as Roger Enright
- Moroni Olsen as Chairman
- Jerome Cowan as Alvah Scarret
- Directed by King Vidor