The Fountainhead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fountainhead Reviews

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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...
½ December 19, 2013
An interesting film about the wants of the individual vs the wants of society (similar to iron man, perhaps too much selfish and arrogant control of ideas becoming simply doing them for oneself), probably would be better if not for all the domestic violence (of different kinda) towards the woman, although I guess it does show one way of bending someone to your will. It was pointed out the similarities of his final rebellion against the parasitical powerful (were they the capitalist? I can't remember) and the end of fight club...
October 17, 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.
October 6, 2012
The Fountainhead (1949) â" Directed by King Vidor, Produced by Henry Blanke, Written by Ayn Rand

King Vidor in this film has tried his best to capture the essence and intensity of the book, but has unfortunately fallen short all through the film.

The performances of Gary Cooper as Howard Roark, Patricia Neal as Dominique Francon and the other cast in the movie were wooden and forgettable at best. The cast killed the intensity of the original characters in the book. The final nail in the coffin was Gary Cooperâ(TM)s performance in the courtroom scene where he narrates the speech that gets him acquitted. Iâ(TM)m yet to see a performance worse than Cooperâ(TM)s lifeless and soulless narration of such a passionate speech. The editing was shoddy and the background score was a bit much for me to digest.

The Fountainhead, being a powerful story of a manâ(TM)s war to save his integrity and his quest to retain his individuality against a society that abhors everything about individualism could have been unraveled on screen in a much better way. It is no surprise that Ayn Rand criticized the film.

Lastly, I wouldn't recommend watching this film if youâ(TM)re a fan of the book as it would be a thoroughly disappointing experience.
½ September 13, 2012
There were moments of brilliance because of the content of the novel, but it was undermined by the rushed plot and Gary Cooper being his awkward self in struggling through lines. I thought that Patricia Neal stole the show with her melodrama.
August 30, 2012
Filme de 1949 sobre um arquiteto acusado de ser presunçoso por defender seu ideal de arquitetura. O filme se passa em New York entre a fase de construções "neo-antigas" e a chegada da linguagem moderna. O discurso apresentado no final à (C) muito citado ainda hoje como crítica a coletividade numa sociedade capitalista... Eu achei muito legal.
½ August 28, 2012
Hilarious Right-wing camp made even more entertaining by the over-determined visuals.
½ August 27, 2012
Bracing, majestic adaptation of Ayn Rand's famous novel! Rand's famous (or infamous!) philosophy comes into play more towards the end. The rest of the film is high melodrama, but beautifully executed melodrama! The combination of Rand's script and Vidor's direction prove perfect. Max Steiner's magnificent score rings throughout, and Robert Burks cinematography is among the greatest in black and white film. This is the melodrama that "Citizen Kane" should have been!
August 27, 2012
There aren't any movies like it - not stories of great ideas.
½ August 26, 2012
Not much to say, really. It's pretty much like the book (which I enjoyed a lot), but Gary Cooper as Howard Roark just seemed wrong. I mean, Cooper is a fabulous actor, but he was 48 when The Fountainhead was released, and the Roark character was a MUCH younger man. I've read that the Warner big-wigs even wanted Humphrey Bogart to play the role, and he was 50! It's too bad that they couldn't have gotten Gregory Peck, but I also doubt that Peck's leftist/collectivist ideals would allow him to play the role of a die-hard individualist.
August 3, 2012
Despite one-dimensional characters & implausible circumstances, the film has much to offer.
I am sympathetic toward many of the ethics espoused here by Rand, not least of which is individualism. However, the ethic that one should never do something for another without concern of pay is one I do not share. Despite this, our 'collective' hatred of class/ability-envy, & mooching/forced confiscation in the name of a common good allows unity in opposition toward the film's antagonists.

I appreciate Roark's integrity. But Cooper is rather wooden. The character, himself, should be considered heroic. I doubt that Hollywood will hold him as high in regard as Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. He is an excellent character, which is a deviation from most of those featured in this film.

It is a strong indictment against collectivism, even if the supporters are portrayed as one-domenisional. The romantic relationships in rand novels are quite nauseating. But Neal delivers her best performance, here.

Yet somehow, despite the aforementioned flaws, it is watchable, and I always want to see what will happen next; not because of the flaws, but in spite of them. Rand's work completely negates any notion of love or human value, other than for oneself. As such, it lacks heart.

Unlike rand, I see sacrifice as a noble thing. Like her, I believe it is the most ignobelest of all when it is forced.

Though heavy-handed & somewhat self-important, the film does deserve kudos for trampling the pervasive Hollywood mantra of collectivism & centralized power, & does so in a respectably engaging manner. The story is well developed. The film, a worthy one.
May 28, 2012
It's somehow not horrible. A lot of the dialogue is completely implausible. It has Rand's 8th grade philosophy all over it. Kinda fun though, and Gary Cooper has gravitas.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2012
Although the message it carries is indeed powerful and still relevant, the execution seems to fall short, as cinema just can't get a hold on that much philosophy, therefore most characters look like stereotypes, they are all too smart and sensitive to be perceived as people we could identify with, this same issue affects King Vidor's direction, it feels a bit stagy. Nevertheless the script has great quoteable lines and the art direction and cinematography are impressive.
May 3, 2012
A 'lever' to spring the giant ideology-machinery to life, again - A dose of nostalgia, at best. Which is why, perhaps the best description of this WB feature could be of a 'reminder' of what the novel had to say - well mostly. While most adaptation suffer from the time constraint, the directors did a fine of job of capturing the crux of Ayn Rand's work. However, there were still some supplementary facts that complemented the author's somewhat extreme and contrasting opinions and made them a touch subtle that the movie missed. Again, as stated before, the movie is a brilliant watch, as long as one is up for reliving the experience of reading the book - not a bad utilization of one's time, I confess!
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