Still true about a lot of art celebrated today . In architecture I am not sure, but in music and cinema, what is financed, it is often only because it is collective and trendy (the sacrifice trap), rarely because of the original quality. Still, they keep playing the music of Edgar Varèse and Charles Ives in the 21th century. I hope communism will be replaced by something else in the art world, it does not work.
The spare, jagged, angular set design and intense blacks are the only thing making this remotely watchable. Deliriously stupid. Stylish pulpy look. Rand's horrendous dialogue ("I play the stock market of the soul... and sell short.") is only worsened by the equally awful performances (labored, wooden, mechanical to the point of seeming like parody). An ode to the intersection of fascism and narcissism.
Over the top as often with King Vidor but Hollywood at its best. So much passion, vision, intensity ! Each and every scene is efficient, to the nerve, and visually astonishing. It is for sure a masterpiece, but i guess a complex one, because H.Roark is not what you can call a typical hero (quite the contrary). I know the script made a lot of viewers crazy but i love the flaws and the ambiguity all the same.
Ayn Rand herself adapted her novel to screen here with this cinematic ode to individualism over collectivism. Gary Cooper, despite being too old for the part, plays an architect without compromise who will not betray his 'self' for any temptation, going to any length to protect his creations even their destruction. Patricia Neal gives a star making performance here. Though directed by Vidor its Rand's vision.
This crazy film is so much fun to watch. Everything--the acting, the dialogue--is over the top. It is an opera without the singers. Amazingly, Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey, fine actors, manage not to make total fools of themselves. Gary Cooper fits in too well with Ayn Rand's ideology. She knew how to write melodramatic dialogue, though. Check out her script for "Love Letters" of 1945, particularly the last line.
If you just pay attention to Cooper and Neal, Vidor's direction, the cinematography, art direction and score and ignore any trace of Ayn Rand and her filth, this is a pretty good movie! Albeit one without a offensively hamfisted plot and terrible screenplay, which doesn't really make it a movie anymore - but I much prefer it that way.