The Fountainhead (1949)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Romance


The Fountainhead (1949) Poster

An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.


7.1/10
9,255


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  • Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead (1949)
  • Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead (1949)
  • Gary Cooper and Kent Smith in The Fountainhead (1949)
  • Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead (1949)
  • Gary Cooper and Henry Hull in The Fountainhead (1949)
  • Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal in The Fountainhead (1949)

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28 March 1999 | bwaynef
8
| Too unique to dismiss
Gary Cooper is much too mature for the role of the idealistic architect, but everyone else in the cast is fine. Cooper and Patricia Neal were supposedly involved in a passionate off-camera romance at the time, and some fans of this movie insist they can detect the sparks on-screen, too. I don't, but then I find Cooper such a bore as an actor that it's hard to tell if he's breathing, let alone excited. His performance here almost ruins what could have been a brilliant adaptation of Ayn Rand's ambitious novel. Howard Roark, the architect who refuses to conform to another man's ideals (or lack of them), does not strike me as an "Aw' shucks" kind of guy, but that's pretty much the way Cooper plays him. Roark will build anything--a public housing project, a townhouse, even a gas station--as long as it's built according to his vision. He will not compromise. Cooper just doesn't possess the fire that this character requires. When he becomes impassioned ("A man who works for the sake of others is a slave"), you can almost see the cue cards reflecting in his eyes. Certainly, he doesn't feel Rand's words in his gut. On the plus side, King Vidor's visual style is imaginative, and despite a lot of pompous sermonizing and Cooper's miscasting, this is a worthwhile film simply because there are so few Hollywood productions that emphasize ideas and a man's philosophy. In a curious way, it brings to mind "Network," and other Paddy Chayefsky films.

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