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Friday, August 12, 2022
A surprising and captivating work of literary adaptation, Vidor’s take on Ayn Rand’s novel was divisive at the time of its release but has, in the intervening years, come to stand as one of Vidor’s most interesting and personal films. Gary Cooper stars as proto-libertarian architect Howard Roark, whose staunch individualism and uncompromising vision make him the target for attacks in print by an architecture critic (Robert Douglas) and his inattentive publisher (Raymond Massey). But when a society columnist (Patricia Neal) takes an interest in Roark, an unlikely romance blooms, testing Roark’s fidelity to his own architectural mission. A delirious marvel of production design riddled with Freudian motifs and deliberately contradictory politics, The Fountainhead is a rich work ripe for reappraisal. Print preserved by the Library of Congress.