The Fountainhead Reviews

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August 16, 2015
another lost gdamn review flixter WTF r u doing with these
February 8, 2014
Batshit crazy. Interesting story, and I'm all for off-kilter ideologies being expressed through art, and the individuality vs commie stuff here is fine in itself. But this film is WEIRD. The characters are almost robotic, spouting philosophy more often than personal motivation to an extent this sometimes seems like pretentious (bad) sci-fi. There's far too little character based dialogue and far too much overbaked speechifying. Steiner's music is stupidly overpowering, as is the romantic melodrama, which sits uncomfortably with the ideological grandstanding - although the phallic stuff with the power drill is a riot. Certainly different, certainly not boring. Just very weird.
½ July 19, 2015
There is no place for originality in architecture.

Howard Roarke is an aspiring architect that is a visionary and has new and unique ideas on how to approach his work and will not deviate from his beliefs from anyone. Meanwhile, one of his best friends believes in getting rich and delivering vanilla quality material to meet demand. Howard falls on his face professional and is eventually penniless. He begins working in a quarry and ultimately meets a girl, falls in love, but leaves her to pick his profession back up once he has a little money stashed away. Will Roarke ever be successful and what will come of his former fling?

"Twenty years ago I would have punched you in the face with the greatest of pleasure."

King Vidor, director of War and Peace, The Crowd, Duel in the Sun, The Big Parade, Man without a Star, On our Merry Way, The Citadel, and The Texas Rangers, delivers The Fountainhead. The storyline for this picture is amazing (not as good as the book, but still entertaining). The acting is first rate and the cast includes Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey, Henry Hull, and Ray Collins.

"Haven't you ever loved someone?"
"No, and I don't intend to."

I read this book a long time ago then came across this movie on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with Gary Cooper and knew I had to see it. Was this as good as the book? Of course not. Was it good? Absolutely. Howard Roarke is such a mesmerizing character that was so well written you just can't wait to see what happens next. I strongly recommend seeing this and reading the book (but not in that order).

"You're on your way into hell."

Grade: A-
½ June 21, 2015
Love it or hate it. I'd recommend this movie to every architect.
½ April 10, 2015
Cosas y momentos interesantes, pero demasiados absurdos y risibles wtf made in Ayn Rand...
½ January 25, 2015
Um arquiteto teimoso não quer aceitar pitaco nenhum de cliente em seus projetos. Primeiramente isso quase o leva a ruína, depois leva o a glória. O arquiteto se baseia num discurso de que o homem precisa ser individualista para inovar e que fazer o que outros querem é perder a integridade.
January 20, 2015
Melodrama y noir. King Vidor maneja escenas con fuerza y erotismo contenido, clà sico y original final.
October 27, 2014
I was too old (24) to be dazzled by the novel and much too old (late 30s) to enjoy the film as anything other than a camp period piece. I wondered why the dialogue was so awful until I read that Rand wrote the script herself and forbade anyone to change a word. Gary Cooper comes across as a cartoonish B-movie hero, all clenched jaw and tense muscles. Patricia Neal has the same B-movie presence as a Strong Woman. But then, Objectivism and Rand's writing style are silly stuff, so I probably should have expected a profoundly silly movie. I give it 2 stars for at least being amusing in a MST2000 sort of way.
September 14, 2014
El manantial [1949]
August 2, 2014
I saw this movie a few months ago it has an interesting storyline a little futuristic
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2014
I heard that this guy is a passionate architect, but he must really love his job if he built a fountain for his head. Man, that sounds stupidly surrealistic, but no, this isn't exactly what I was expecting from David Lynch's first film, although I don't guess you can ever predict what kind of film a three-year-old will make. Yeah, this is too old to be as trippy "Eraserhead", which is bogus, because you're going to need some audacity if you're going to be adapting an Ayn Rand novel. Granted, I haven't read any of her books, because, you know, contrary to what many may believe based on my watching so many blasted movies, I have a life to get to eventually, but she did know how to push the envelope further than they were capable of doing in Hollyweird, circa 1949. ...Mind you, she actually wrote this screenplay, but she went on to do the critically panned, yet oddly commercially triumphant "Atlas Shrugged", so maybe her dramatic competence was beginning to slip by the end of the '40s. Yeah, people, I think we can all agree on what is truly the most satisfying adaptation of Rand's "The Fountainhead": Rush's "2112" album. I don't exactly know how this novel relates to that album which Neil Peart says was largely inspired by Rand's works, or rather, "genius" (He must have found something better to do than read "Atlas Shrugged"), but I'll take it, because this film isn't exactly doing anything for me, though not for a lack of trying.

This film offers a good bit of style and a great deal of limitations, and heights in both go reflected within Robert Burks' cinematography, which both held back by and thrives on a black-and-white color palette, which falls over crisp definition and occasionally ingenious plays on lighting in order to establish an almost noirish flavor that is handsome, if not captivating throughout the drama. This visual style, in addition to such other artistic touches as nifty visuals, supplement the aesthetic value which is decidedly as impressive, if not more impressive than anything else in this narratively sloppy affair of respectable style. Of course, if inspiration stands so firm in directorial style, then King Vidor can go only so far with his shortcomings in directorial storytelling before hitting highlights, and sure enough, when Vidor hits, entertainment value is sustained, occasionally augmented by genuine dramatic tension. Make no mistake, much more often than not, Vidor falls flat, and about as often as he hits highlights, he just about embarrasses with his dated, if not outright incompetent missteps, yet the fact of the matter is that highlights stand, helping you in seeing the potential here. Although I have not read any of Ayn Rand's classic material, I don't suppose her dramatic competence was ever even close to the level of her thematic competence, for even in concept, this story is a hopelessly melodramatic affair whose sloppiness will be touched more upon later, and whose genuinely worthy aspects are very much worthy, in their establishing some biting histrionic intrigue, and plenty of intriguing themes regarding business' and society's interpretation of questionable innovation, and how innovators interpret the critical. While more limited than fans of the original, ostensibly non-cinematic like to think, potential stands, and it's hard to deny that when it comes in glimpses through commendable style and heights in substance. Still, on the whole, the final product is surprisingly mediocre, being a misguided take on a misguided story which isn't even sharp enough to be as thorough as it ought to be with its characterization.

Over-celebratory of its themes and shamelessly manufactured with its dramatics, this film needs more than just adequate flesh-out in order to thrive as a character study, and the characterization here, with its lack of immediate development and shortage on gradual exposition, simply isn't up to the task of getting you invested in contrived and thin characters. Nonetheless, as undercooked as the film is, it, at just shy of two hours, still has plenty of time to drag its feet, not just through cold spells in King Vidor's direction, but through meanderings in Ayn Rand's script, whose bloating in plot layering doesn't exactly gel with all of the aforementioned expository bumblings. Rand's over 700-page epic is adapted into a two-hour melodrama which is all over the place with its pacing and structure, with enough of the source material's dynamicity retained for the messy structuring to lead to some serious focal inconsistencies which make the final product almost exhaustingly convoluted. Still, there is something consistent throughout the storytelling, and that is conventions, because even though there is a potential for uniqueness, the execution of a promising story is so riddled with tropes that the final product stands as just plain trite, with nothing new, - despite its following themes of rejecting conformity to artistry - and most everything questionable about Hollywood formulas of this time. I don't know if it's simply the test of time doing a number on the filmmaking abilities of this drama, or sheer incompetence which modern critics disregard, but I'm just not comfortable with this film's very Hollywood lack of subtlety, which draws thin roles for too many of the performers - save decent leading man Gary Cooper - to portray questionably, and too many embarrassingly shoddy dialogue pieces and obvious visuals and set pieces for you to get past the contrivances which are even found in concept. Again, Rand's dramatic writing seems to have always been beneath her thematic writing, and this film reflects that through a layered, but startlingly melodramatic and occasionally unfocused plot that thematic value could make up for, and perhaps would have made up for if it wasn't for all of the incompetent miscalculations in structuring and subtlety which betray thematic value, and further stress the blandness and misguidance of this story, until the final product is barely ever truly engaging. Sure, there are compelling moments found here and there throughout the film, and there's enough of them for the final product to all but achieve a decency which is ultimately lost by utterly erroneous filmmaking that make the final product yet another misfire of an overrated classic.

Overall, handsome visual style and other attractive stylistic touches to direction which hits a few dramatic highlights to do a degree of justice to intriguing subject matter, thus, the final product borders on a decent state that is ultimately lost amidst the thin characterization, bland dragging, exhaustingly convoluted unevenness, genericisms, and dramatic incompetence which, behind a hopelessly melodramatic and overwrought story, make King Vidor's "The Fountainhead" a mediocre piece of dated, melodramatic filmmaking.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2014
A rather superficial film that does not convey the philosophy of Ayn Rand to the full extent. Ayn Rand is not destined to write screenplays. The Fountainhard is about an individualistic young architect named Howard Roark who refuses to conform to the collectivist world by going against the restriction from the society to achieve freedom and self actualization. Now Ayn Rand's book was so much in depth that cannot simply be adapted to a 2 hour film, there are so many important events and characters missing. Despite Rand allegedly admitted he enjoyed the film's adaptation, she criticized the film for acting, production design and editing. I have to admit I agree with her. Production design was really bugging me, I hated the set, it was not what I expected to see in my vision. The rooms of the offices were too big, characters felt uneasy moving abouts. Also the rooms seemed too modern to begin with (even though Wyland did like Roark's design but he did not know about it at first). But the quarry was improvement from my vision, I liked the solidity and sharpness of the rocks. The editing seemed superficial, it simply only focused on conveying the emotions and actions of the characters but not the underlying messages. E.g. the continuous shift between the characters in the courtroom when Roark was delivering his climatic speech. The acting was awful, not that the actors are horrible (I would never in a million years say Gary Cooper is a terrible actor) but they did not follow what I would expect to see the behaviours of the characters (Also Cooper was too old to play Roark and he was meant to be redheaded to show how different he is from others). I felt Rand made the script too general for the public instead of conducting her philosophy. However, I thought it was ambitious and a nice adaptation that stayed faithful to the novel.
½ March 17, 2014
Not enough tomatoes to throw.
A mess.
Rand claims to be a conservative to whom the right to property is all important yet the destruction of property is justified based entirely on a matter of ego.
At the same time that she believes that anyone can do anything if its in their own interest and that empathy is weakness the wealthy guy is the villain and kills himself out of guilt!
Rand says she doesnt believe in guilt.
Go figure!
Stars should be taken away not given.
January 2, 2014
Now that I finished the book, I can see the movie...
October 13, 2013
Truly, one of the most idiotic, illogical, unintentionally funny "message" films ever made. Rotten Tomatoes managed to dig up enough bottom-tier critics to get this turkey an 83% rating. Ridiculous! Almost all of the major critics panned this turgid, preachy, loony adaptation of Ayn Rand's equally bad novel (which had itself already become a joke in the world of literature by the time this film was made). I suspect that those reviewers here who claim the film to be "better than the novel" never actually read the novel; rather, knowing in what low esteem the novel is held, they didn't want to appear illiterate, so described the film as superior to the book. In fact those reviewers (I prefer "reviewer" to "critic" when referring to some of the obscure, barely literate individuals RT features in the "Critic Reviews" section for The Fountainhead) are probably not highly literate, and had they read the novel would likely have been just as impressed as they were with the horrid film (because Ayn Rand herself wrote the screenplay!) If "Duel in the Sun" was Vidor's failed attempt at another "Gone With the Wind" "The Fountainhead" is his failed "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". But where Capra's Mr. Smith has faith in the basic decency of the people, Rand and Vidor's Howard Roark despises the people. That's right, Howard Roark sees "the people" as a mindless mob of mediocrity. Yes, the audience viewing "The Fountainhead" is being told throughout the immense contempt Ayn Rand has for it. Instead of Mr. Smith passionately reminding us of the virtues of democracy, we get Howard Roark droning on about the virtue of total selfishness (not kidding) and the evils of altruism, in what seems like the longest speech ever. The film is a bizarre blend of repugnant ideology and soap opera level melodrama punctuated by embarrassingly obvious symbolism (mostly phallic in nature, representing Roark's rightful dominance in the "correct" social order as Ayn Rand imagines it). If you want to see a good King Vidor film, watch his silent film "The Crowd", which is a classic and which he made many years before getting mixed up with Ayn Rand's loony political ideology. "The Crowd" is filled with brilliant imagery, and since it's a silent, you won't have to listen to interminable lectures about the "virtue of selfishness" or inane dialogue such as "I don't give or ask for help!". Skip "The Fountainhead" and check out "The Crowd" instead, just to know that Vidor's work wasn't all terrible.
½ January 30, 2013
I never could read through the book, corpulent things are not for me. The film is uptight and too patriotic in its claims of integrity of man, though not that I disapprove of it. Am just not used to such ambience in cinema. The testimony that Howard Roark gives in the court is fairly lopsided but inspiring if you were to ignore reality part by part.
½ January 1, 2013
does not develop the protagonist that makes the individual interesting, unique, powerful, and admirable in his ideals. Part 1 of the novel does most of this, and this movie very quickly went through part 1 compared to part 2 (Dominique). Still brings the main idea of the novel forward while trying to keep its plot, although it can't change what's the relationship with Dominique.
½ November 20, 2012
Patricia Neal & Gary Cooper-beautifully filmed & great performances.
November 6, 2012
King Vidor's spacious black and white interior shots conveyed the grand modernistic ideal of the period that we still find impressive. The main characters while espousing their grand philosophical ideals were grounded only by their brutal sexuality. This of course corresponded well with Ayn Rand's perspective and is a testament to her close supervision of the dialogue based on her screenplay. There is nothing to sympathize with in her story since the uberbeings are as unrealistic as is her philosophy. Nonetheless, it's a film worth watching if you don't want to spend your time reading the novel.
½ November 6, 2012
Not a highlight for the parties involved (Vidor, Cooper or Neal). The tone is melodrama, but Cooper is too wooden: a sad mix.
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