Monday, June 28, 2010

Arrghh! Hollywood Unknowns Trying to Pull off Ayn Rand's Masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" #tcot #sgp

I finally started this mammoth book last night. I had read a few pages months before, but it didn't really hook me. Determined, I picked it up again last night and started to read. Yes. Now I'm hooked. I'm not sure how the character Dagny Taggert will develop, but at this point, I'm thinking our country -- and our government -- could use more Dagny Taggerts.

I'm not a fan of Ayn Rand as a person. She was a full-on narcissist who bullied her way into people's lives, an atheist, and a morally-bankrupt person on many levels. I was absolutely blown away when I discovered that while she was married, she had an affair with a younger man, who also was married. But get this: Nathaniel Branden and his wife Barbara, were friends with Ayn and her husband Frank. She announced to them all one night that she and the younger man intended to have an affair and... (wait for it....)


Yes, I had to type that in all caps. Unbelievable!! But because the young wife looked up to Rand and thought she was a genius, she didn't have much choice and Rand tried to make her feel like it was a privilege that she chose her husband to dally around with.

So, yes. I do not like Rand on a personal level. But as a writer, she has pulled off one of the most profound stories in our time -- how society depends upon the producers and if you make enough bad decisions that punish success, those producers are going to finally stop producing. It is a prophetic story of sorts, as we're starting to witness the very same thing in today's world.

I'm not going to pretend to be a Rand expert. I read "Anthem" on my Kindle for the iPhone. (Another fascinating story.) So those who like her or know of her work better can chime in and perhaps point us to some good online resources.

So... ARRRGGHH!! This is a story that deserves so much more but I fear it will be absolutely butchered and the real plot is going to get lost. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised. This is Hollywood, after all, filled with a bunch of self-important liberals who think people should be entitled to receive the rewards of hard work and the fruits of achievement, which they've not done; and overall bought the pretty speech of a man who holds our country and her values in contempt and elected him as President.

Dagny Taggert would probably hate them.


kkollwitz said...

Don't feel too bad yet; the recent bigbucks version of Brideshead Revisited was not well thought of.

Sometimes 'small' indie movies can make a point better than the studios, which along with their megabudgets bring a worldview which I do not share.

Janny said...

Actually, I'm thinking that "unknowns" might bring a better take to this than stars would. Witness all the previously "unknown" actors and actresses who've become stars through one surprisingly great performance...and proceed to build a whole career on it. Fear not. It might end up being a stroke of genius!


Bill Meyer said...

The unknowns are less a concern than the notion of the actor who plays John Galt doubling as the director.

One of the worst problems is that this film should have been shot about 30 years ago, and Francisco should have been played by Raul Julia, who fills my mind every time I read the book.

And yes, Ayn Rand was a mess. However, the book is a masterpiece. Well, except for the radio speech by Galt, which I do not read every time I reread the book. But as that one speech would fill the running time of most films, it will clearly be abbreviated in production.

Mary Rose said...

Yes, I've thought of the same thing regarding "indie" films. It could happen. The film could be a big hit.

But as I'm reading this mammoth book, I am in awe of the storyline. It is HUGE. I have no idea how they're going to squeeze this into a two-hour movie.

I'll try to hope for the best. :-)

Mary Rose said...

Bill! Thanks for visiting! I haven't "met" Francisco's character yet in the book but from the description, yes, Raul Julia would have been perfect! He can really pull off that suave swagger that makes women weak. LOL

I'm still perplexed that there is a meme in the society ("Who is John Galt?") and that John Galt ends up being a real person. Will be interesting to see how Rand connects those dots.

Once I read Galt's speech, perhaps I ask you why it annoys you so much. :-)

Bill Meyer said...

Mary Rose,

It was my pleasure.

To prepare yourself for the coming disappointment, read The Fountainhead, then watch the far too short movie from 1949. That was a much shorter story, and there was much in it that could have been abbreviated or even excised. Still, the result was as thin as you can imagine. And even the skills of some very strong actors did not serve to deliver the impact of the book.

The radio speech is annoying because it is so very long, and so very dry. It is a compendium of Rand's philosophy, delivered to a captive audience, in one sitting. I'm not sure it could be read in three hours. Since the reader already will have grasped what the government twits have not, it suffers from being a rehash. In a nutshell, it was Rand on her soapbox.

The philosophy--apart from her atheism--does not annoy me. She got so much right, I can forgive her much.