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A remake of Fountainhead

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  1. 1. do we remake it ?


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I think they should remake "The Fountainhead". I think that it would really flip the film industry and possibly some of the youth of the nation or the people that have read rand before and forgot about the joys of individualism and capitalism. I think it might be good to do. Granted Gary Cooper can never be replaced as Howard, but I think it would be a good idea to do either way.

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Jim; I think my vote should be not at this time. I don't think it's possible for Hollywood to do justice to it.

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Chris:

Sadly ...I agree.

Adam

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I think they should remake "The Fountainhead". I think that it would really flip the film industry and possibly some of the youth of the nation or the people that have read rand before and forgot about the joys of individualism and capitalism. I think it might be good to do. Granted Gary Cooper can never be replaced as Howard, but I think it would be a good idea to do either way.

Gary Cooper was not all that good in the role.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I think they should remake "The Fountainhead". I think that it would really flip the film industry and possibly some of the youth of the nation or the people that have read rand before and forgot about the joys of individualism and capitalism. I think it might be good to do. Granted Gary Cooper can never be replaced as Howard, but I think it would be a good idea to do either way.

Gary Cooper was not all that good in the role.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Agreed.

1) Gary Cooper looks substantially older than I envision Howard Roark.

2) Cooper effectively communicated the aspect of Roark which is his immunity to being hurt by the world. What he doesn't communicate (at least to me) is Roark's PASSION. Roark is a PASSIONATE INDIVIDUAL, in love with his work. Cooper is never convincing in that dimension, for me.

Bill P

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Michael Caine would make a fine Henry Cameron or even Guy Francon. Luxury casting.

http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8020

He's probably a bit long in the tooth for Ellsworth Toohey, but I think a snobby Brit would be good casting for that part. Now if only George Monbiot were an actor...

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I think they should remake "The Fountainhead". I think that it would really flip the film industry and possibly some of the youth of the nation or the people that have read rand before and forgot about the joys of individualism and capitalism. I think it might be good to do. Granted Gary Cooper can never be replaced as Howard, but I think it would be a good idea to do either way.

Gary Cooper was not all that good in the role.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Agreed.

1) Gary Cooper looks substantially older than I envision Howard Roark.

2) Cooper effectively communicated the aspect of Roark which is his immunity to being hurt by the world. What he doesn't communicate (at least to me) is Roark's PASSION. Roark is a PASSIONATE INDIVIDUAL, in love with his work. Cooper is never convincing in that dimension, for me.

Bill P

I agree Bill & Ba'al. Cooper also sounded too robotic when he spoke. I'd love to see a remake of the movie.

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After winning two Oscars for "The Deer Hunter," Michael Cimino seriously explored making a new version of "The Fountainhead." He had a production deal with United Artists, which ended up with the rights to the original film (including any remakes) when Warner Bros. sold off its pre-1950 films.

Cimino had long admired the book and movie, but he ended up going instead with another script, one of his own. One which (in 1980 dollars) became the $45-million Western-epic flop "Heaven's Gate," and essentially bankrupted United Artists.

During the final throes of editing "Gate," against the studio's resistance to giving Cimino any more money or support, UA executive Steven Bach (who wrote about this fiasco, entertainingly, in Final Cut) suddenly remembered the climax of Rand's book ... and feared that Cimino would destroy the film if he didn't get his way. So security was multiplied, for a production that everyone involved soon wanted to forget.

Atlas really ought to be filmed once. But a remake of this, a book even more closely tied to a particular era and the newspaper business, would be far more problematic. It also would dilute the strength of Gary Cooper's performance. (Who ought to have played it ten or more years earlier in his life, but the book didn't then exist.) I'd rather Hollywood avoided doing it.

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As much as I enjoy the movie, it is clearly limited. First, although nominally a script writer, Ayn Rand's thinking was clearly of the stage. Even for special effects, being on location, and all, Hollywood of her time shot stage plays and it shows in The Fountainhead. The cheesy special effect of the little toy car pulling up to Courtland Homes could be greatly improved.

The scene in the ambulance would lose all meaning. The people of that time lived through a great age when buildings had identities. If I say, "Chrysler Building" you get a picture in your head. What happens when I say "Trump Tower"?

In the original, Gary Cooper failed to play a college student. Today, we use different actors to show the same person at different times in their lives. That would eliminate some problems.

Also, it is not wrong to change the focus. We see Howard Roark after 20 years of struggle. His college days are a short sequence. People live healhier today and it is not inconceivable to start with a younger actor and age him a bit, if needed.

On the other hand, the "patrician" nature of Gail Wynand would be totally lost on today's audiences. At 35 he was what people today become at 60, and more to the point, the entire sense of "style" is gone. (I once worked with a guy who like 1940s movies because it was the last time Americans displayed "class," that self-possesed bearing and demeanor projected by Humphrey Bogart or Raymond Massey. Even Ellsworth Toohey had it. Today, who would that be? Who among the looters is actually gracious enough? We lost that. It is not in our cultural context.

So, if the movie were remade, it would be trans-lated (carried across) from one time to another.

Also, even though collectivism has not gone away, the 1930s were a time when individualism as we know it simply did not exist yet. Since then, we have had Ayn Rand, and perhaps as a consequence, The Me Decade. In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World the clones had names like Benito Hoover and Bernard Marx and they worshipped "Our Ford" (making the sign of the T) because collectivism was the obvious future, one way or another. By analogy, I just read an ordinary essay on an unrelated topic in which the writer said "The brain is computer, so..." Can you imagine a society where computers are irrelevant, a society of the future where no one would mention the computer any more than we would a washing machine or a refrigerator? Context is everything.

And modern architecture is the norm.

I realize that the theme of the story is timeless. This is about individualism, not architecture. However, to carry the same point, for a remake, the issue would have to be as inflamatory and radical, like human cloning, or for that matter, global finance, a sort of "Michael Milken" story about someone who invents a new form of commerce in money that the anti-globalists riot over. ... but that would not The Fountainhead. It would be a different story.

Finally, you know, with computer technology, you can do it yourself, really. You can have any actors you want.

Have you seen this:

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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As I write this, my audiobook is jilting Katy and accepting Dominique's prooposal. Just one of the many, many scenes that were excised from the mediocre film. Gary Cooper is too old and stiff -- he looks more like he has arthritis than intransigence. Patricia Neal looks like every '40s actress -- what happened to the helmet of pale blond hair that is so often stressed? In fact, the entire film looks too old and stiff, like every other '40s film, and suffering from arthritis. Or just suffering.

The Fountainhead (book) is essentially an autobiographical screenplay ... in Rand's dreams. Rand yearned for rough sex, but was stuck with a beautiful yet passive husband, so she sought her desires in her writing. Those desires never came through in the film, and they need to. The many subplots need to remain in the production, and all those rich, foie-gras characters. It must be a maxiseries, sort of like Rich Man, Poor Man, and possibly in very high-quality anime -- I don't think there are actors out there who can properly depict the essence of the characters.

So I'm hoping for a high-quality anime maxiseries on the internet. I don't believe this will ever happen, but at least I have a vivid imagination. The Audible.com audiobook is wonderful, and anime would spotlight voice actors. The voice is so important in any theatrical production, and there are so few great -- even good -- voices out there. Hey, maybe Pixar is the way to go! They've got the expertise, and they truly respect their material.

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Forget it. The recent failure of Atlas Shrugged has iced the possibility of another Rand adaptation for at least thirty years.

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Hollis:

Welcome to OL.

Out of curiosity, how old are you?

A...

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A remake is a terrible idea, not only because there is so little likelihood of it being done properly but also because the original is a masterpiece. King Vidor's stylized production and Rand's script gave us what is, so far, the best film representation of Rand's larger-than-life heroes and what I like to call her "Capitalist Realism."

The Fountainhead online

And, Michael Marotta, thank your for: "The people of that time lived through a great age when buildings had identities. If I say, 'Chrysler Building' you get a picture in your head. What happens when I say 'Trump Tower'?" This was the point I apparently failed to make a few weeks ago in my post criticizing most of modern architecture.

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Forget it. The recent failure of Atlas Shrugged has iced the possibility of another Rand adaptation for at least thirty years.

I totally agree, the problem is the films aren't just reviewed bad they didn't make a lot of money. If they had made money but were terrible films they would have a chance.

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I think the only updatable Rand novel as a movie is We the Living--set in a United States of the near future. Atlas Shrugged might be done as a surreal retro-context of the original surreal context (an OL poster suggested like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) or a double surreality although the novel originally more fit that present-day context. If blowing up a housing project wasn't a huge problem for today, I'd still see no way to remake The Fountainhead and its over-whelming 1920s-1930s stylistic and cultural environment. The irony is qua novel it's Rand's most literary and readable effort. I imagine a thousand years from now Penthouse Legend as a producible play and The Fountainhead as still a readable novel.

--Brant

edit: I just realized Atlas may be cherished centuries from now not only for the ideas and ideals but what we now think of as its antiquity--railroads instead of airplanes and computers instead of typewriters--and never mind smart phones--hey! this is USA 1950s!--so it becomes refreshed from being that old hat (and I think it's time to read Future Shock because technology is accelerating change)--that's right, AS as a text for cultural anthropologists hundreds if not thousands of years from now for it was just before the industrial revolution was replaced by the technological revolution--the invention and massive use of the transistor

Edited by Brant Gaede
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